Today’s guest blog is from Deputy Mayor Councillor Asher Craig (Communities, Equalities & Public Health).
I have been going to St Pauls Carnival since I was a child. For me, carnival is a celebration and reminder of my Jamaican roots. I still remember the place from when I was a child and when the carnival was held on the field which is now an athletic track, next to Cabot School. It’s no surprise then that carnival is a great place for me to catch up with friends, both old and new. I’m always bumping into people I have not seen in years. I have enjoyed watching carnival grow, both in numbers and ambition.
As Deputy Mayor, I am proud to have felt the impact of Bristol City Council, Arts Council England and our partners who have been integral in facilitating a welcoming space for the annual celebration of a community who have been a vital part of the city for generations. Last year, for carnival’s 50th anniversary, we received a PCC Pride Award as recognition of the dedication and hard work of people behind the scenes who ensured that carnival’s special year was a spectacular celebration.
St Pauls Carnival returns for its 51st year on Saturday 6th July 2019 from 10am until 11pm. This year, the theme is “Our Journey” and honours the Windrush generation who came to Bristol from the Caribbean after WW2 and set up groups to support their lives in the UK. The vibrant, colourful and immersive carnival is well-known by many residents and tourists for its integral and reputable celebration of African Caribbean culture, as organised by the local community, in the name of the local community and yet open for all to enjoy. This Saturday, people of all ages and from all backgrounds will gather on the streets of St Pauls to engage in events that include opportunities to watch lively parades of floats, taste a delicious range of street food and listen to live music by Bristol-based musicians and beyond.
Known as one of Bristol’s greatest cultural events, St Pauls Carnival will represent some of the best of African Caribbean culture and will highlight the diversity, ingenuity and liveliness of Bristol, a city that aims to embrace similarities and differences, and champion inclusion. Music, dance and food have brought people together for years. This year, I am sure this community spirit will remain. A procession of over 1,000 people will begin on Wilson Street and end outside of St Pauls Sports Centre. Meanwhile, static stages will host artists and music from a variety of genres, including dancehall, reggae, soca, dub, calypso and drum and bass. Authentic Caribbean plantain, curry goat, jerk chicken, rice and peas and sugar cane will be available at one of the many street food stalls that will be at service.
St Paul’s Carnival demonstrates the strength of community in Bristol and is only made possible by the collaborative work of community activists, council officers, emergency services, partner organisations and the public, who get involved and bring the summery streets of St Pauls to life. If you are planning on attending, be sure to stay safe, enjoy yourself and embrace the carnival spirit!
Don’t forget to follow the link and find out more about this year’s events: https://www.stpaulscarnival.net/.