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Our Journey brought to life at St Pauls Carnival 2019

6th August 2019

Categories: Latest News

Paying homage to the Windrush generation and the elders of St Pauls who, 51 years ago, founded the St Pauls Carnival, was the main focus for the celebrations which took place on Saturday 6 July 2019.

Our Journey brought to life at St Pauls Carnival 2019. Credit Colin Rayner

With 100,000 people welcomed into the area, the jewel in the crown of this year’s event was the procession, which was led by the elders on a vintage Bristol bus. The procession started at 12pm from Portland Square and included drumming and dancing groups from 10 Bristol schools and a host of carnival procession troupes and bands from Bristol and beyond.

A brunch event for elders and Carnival partners was held before the main event at the Malcolm X Community Centre where St Pauls Carnival CIC chair Marti Burgess addressed attendees thanking them for their support and hard work, and making note of the Our Journey theme.

Commenting on the day, Marti said: “The event was a resounding success and we sincerely thank St Pauls residents and all our sponsors, partners and the public who supported us this year. We will now start planning for next year. St Pauls Carnival is traditionally held on the first Saturday in July, and that will be 4 July 2020.

“We are committed to Carnival’s long-term sustainability thanks to the support of our partners including Bristol City Council and the Arts Council. The event costs half a million pounds to stage and we will continue to fundraise to ensure generations to come can experience this vibrant celebration of African Caribbean culture.

“Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year and donated to our Crowdfunder campaign. See you next July!”

There were four main stages, nine bars and 12 sound systems. 100 traders, half of which returned after the 2018 event, lined the streets of St Pauls selling African and Caribbean cuisine, and food from all around the world. There were also arts and crafts stalls selling memorabilia and clothes.  

This year’s Carnival was preceded by a full programme of events designed to engage with people across Bristol and to promote the importance of the carnival culture as central to the ethos of the city in building a sustainable Carnival organisation which works throughout the year. Events included the highly successful Barbershop Chronicles at The Bristol Old Vic and a photography initiative with Bristol-based Martin Parr, designed to encourage new photography talent in the city.

Other firsts for the organisation behind Carnival – which unveiled a new look and new website for 2019 – included setting up a pop-up shop on Grosvenor Road for people to drop in and speak to organisers and purchase products before the big day. A Crowdfunder campaign was established to encourage members of the public to show their appreciation for the event so it can continue for future generations.

Executive director of St Pauls Carnival CIC LaToyah McAllister-Jones said: “It was great to see all the hard work come together on the day. We have received very positive feedback from residents of St Pauls and from people who attended from Bristol and further afield.

“It was a great day and we’re now focused on extending our programming throughout the year so that Carnival can become more than a one-day event.

Commenting on the day, Councillor Asher Craig said: “St Pauls Carnival is an opportunity to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity that makes Bristol unique. This year’s carnival was particularly poignant as it honoured the Windrush generation and their lasting influence which can be felt throughout this community and the wider city.

“A huge amount of time and effort from hundreds of volunteers and organisation went into making this event happen and that spirit of collaboration is really humbling. Thank you to everyone involved and I am proud our city can showcase such a diverse wealth of talent and culture.”

Superintendent Andy Bennett, in charge of Neighbourhoods and Partnerships in Bristol, said: “We were so pleased to see so many people enjoying the family-friendly celebration of African Caribbean culture at St Pauls Carnival.

“We saw some brilliant engagement between our officers and those enjoying the event and I believe that demonstrates the success of our neighbourhood-style approach to policing Carnival.

“I’d like to say thank you to the public for enjoying Carnival safely and responsibly.

“Policing such a huge event poses its challenges, but I’d like to thank all of those within the police, the St Pauls Carnival Committee and all our partners whose dedication, expert planning and hard work helped ensure the event was a success.”

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens added: “A massive well done to the team for putting on another brilliant event.

“The Carnival showcases the fantastic diversity of Bristol and the event is a testament to the local community and supporters who love the place they live and work.”

Sponsors and partners:

St Pauls Carnival 2019 has been supported by Bristol City Council, Arts Council England, The Colston Hall (Bristol Music Trust), Creative Youth Network, We The Curious, Hargreaves Lansdown, UWE Bristol, Ujima, BCFM, Bristol Airport, Lakota, The Nisbet Trust, Wessex Water, Watershed, Hayes Parsons, Future Kings, GENeco, Team Love, St Monica’s Trust, Places for People, PILOEXERCISE, ACE CIC, The Docklands.

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