After hitting its landmark 50th birthday last year, St Pauls Carnival is back for 2019 on Saturday 6 July, when the city will come together and proudly celebrate Bristol’s African-Caribbean culture. Always a whirlwind of music, dance, performance and partying, this year is expected to be better than ever.

In case you still need convincing that you should be there, here are 5 reasons not to miss St Pauls Carnival 2019.

St Pauls Carnival procession performer

Image credit: Colin Rayner 

The Procession

The carnival kicks off with the show-stopping procession, starring thousands of people, colourful floats, creative costumes, flamboyant dancing, live samba drummers, motorised floats carrying DJs and more. The troupes use music, song and movement to weave storytelling into their performance. It’s impossible not to be dazzled!

Starting at midday from St Paul Street, the procession dances its way around a one-mile route that passes the carnival stages, sound systems and food stalls, eventually finishing at 4pm on Dove Lane.

Woman in carnival outfit at St Pauls Carnival, Bristol

Image credit: Martins Kikulis 

Live Music

St Pauls Carnival is one of the best days to be in Bristol if you love live music. Organisers pull together some of the finest musical talent from the city and beyond, with a mix of Caribbean-influenced and world music genres that span from dancehall, reggae and calypso to dub and drum and bass.

There are four stages where you can treat your ears to the live music on offer, located at St Paul’s Learning Centre, Brunswick Square, St Agnes Park and St Paul’s Park. Take in established artists like Eva Lazarus, Talisman and Lady Leshurr, or spend the day discovering acts you’ve not heard of before.

Food Stalls

As well as the procession and music, the smell of authentic Caribbean cuisine fills the streets of St Pauls on carnival day. Savour classics like jerk chicken, goat curry, rice and peas and fried plantain as well as lesser known dishes from the stalls that spring up. There will also be delicacies from many other corners of the globe on offer, so everyone’s taste buds are well and truly catered for.

Windrush generation

This year’s theme of ‘Our Journey’ will run through all of the day’s events, honouring the journey to Britain made by the Windrush generation in the 1940s. The challenges they faced on arrival will be reflected on but also their experiences since then, including the Bristol bus boycott and the contribution to the city’s Caribbean culture. See these stories brought to life, carnival style!

Women of the Windrush sign in St Pauls Carnival procession

Image credit: Colin Rayner

After parties

The carnival continues into the night and early hours at the official after parties. Here’s where you can find them:

  • Trinity Centre: Congo Natty 30 Years of Rebel MC and others, £20, 10pm to 5am
  • Malcolm X Centre: Old School After Party with DJ Style, DJ Fagan and others, £9, 10.30pm to 4am
  • Lakota: Bristol legends Krust, Eva Lazarus and others, £15, 10pm to 6am
  • The Coroner’s Court: Rumble in the Jungle with Benny Page, Uncle Dugs and more, £15, 10pm to 6am
  • The Moon Club: Bodynod presents Jay0117, Dimpson and others, £15, 10pm to 6am

St Pauls Carnival procession 2018

Image credit: David Tidman

St Pauls Carnival is a non-for-profit, free, public event. Donating to their crowdfunder is one way to keep the carnival returning year on year: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/stpaulscarnival

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St Pauls Carnival
Free
St Pauls Carnival

This iconic Bristol event represents the best of African Caribbean culture, as well as the diversity, creativity and vibrancy of its home city.

Trinity Centre
Event Venue
Trinity Centre

Their mission is to empower communities through arts ensuring everyone has the opportunity to access, be part of and shape arts and culture in Bristol.