The rumour mill had many people in Bristol hoping that St Pauls Carnival – an important celebration of Bristol’s African and Caribbean heritage and a vital source of inspiration for much of the city’s culture and musical output over the past five decades – would make its return this year after two crushing years of absence, since it last took place in 2014.
However, organisers today confirmed that St Pauls Carnival will not be going ahead this year. Although unlike the more vague allusions to a temporary hiatus after previous years’ cancellations, official plans for a 2018 return are in the works, falling in line with the carnival’s 50th anniversary.
A new St Pauls Carnival Community Interest Company has been established with the intent of developing a sustainable plan for the future of the carnival, starting with some smaller scale, family-friendly warm-up events planned this July in lieu of the full-scale carnival.
The new chair of St Pauls Carnival CIC, Apuuli says:
‘It has been a long time in the making but we are so pleased to be announcing the return of St Pauls Carnival. I know how carnival influenced my sense of identity growing up and I want my children and future generations to be able to share in that experience too. In 2018 we will deliver a carnival which returns to its roots and does justice to carnival’s rich history, in a way that is safe and family-friendly.’
Proceeds from the Lakota event are being donated to St Pauls Carnival CIC to help towards restoring the carnival to its full former glory in 2018 – so make sure you get involved
Nevertheless, the people of Bristol aren’t the kind to let a tradition go unmarked, so you can expect lots of carnival-inspired parties to take place over the first weekend of July when the carnival would have taken place, with usual suspects Lakota already planning an all-day party on 1 July, with help from Bristol party crews Parallel Dimensions, Who Cares and Cubana.
Proceeds from the Lakota event are being donated to St Pauls Carnival CIC to help towards restoring the carnival to its full former glory in 2018 – so make sure you get involved.
Photography by Chris Bahn