Nottingham Caribbean Carnival preview: ‘A chance for people to get together and forget their problems’

FOREST Recreation ground will play host to one of the city’s most exuberant events this weekend as Nottingham Caribbean Carnival returns. Back once again as a two-day event this year, the free spectacular on Saturday and Sunday is expected to draw huge crowds from across the region.

Treat yourself to some speciality Jamaican food, take part in a range of fun workshops, enjoy strolling around the varied and interesting stalls and have a ride on the fun fair – or if that’s too much trouble, simply sit back and listen to some chilled-out sounds on three performance stages.

As well as a wide variety of music – from gospel, soca and reggae to dub step, drum and bass, grime and rap – Sunday will see the traditional carnival parade through the city centre, featuring hundreds of locally made costumes worn by young people from a host of diverse backgrounds.

The event – which is organised by Tuntum Housing Association, The Arts Council of England, Nottingham City Council and main sponsor the Decade of Better Health – will also pay special tribute to Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago’s 50 years of independence, with limited-edition souvenir wristbands and other special attractions.

Richard Renwick, chairman of the organising committee, says: “In the parade itself, we’ve got 13 different troupes taking part, which is even more than we had last year. We’re lucky to have nine from the local area, and there will also be guests from Derbyshire and Leicestershire too.

“Everyone likes to take part in this fabulous cultural experience. It’s a great community event.”

The carnival in its present form has been going since 1999, but there are records of other carnival activity (for instance, in The Meadows) going right back to 1958.

Last year’s carnival came just a week after major disturbances in Nottingham, but there was no trouble at the event and Richard describes it as the most peaceful so far.

“To be honest, it’s always been a positive, peaceful event,” he adds.

“It’s a chance for people to get together and forget their personal problems and all the troubles in society and just have fun.”

There will be several new additions for this year, including the Red Bull Music Academy on Saturday, from noon to 9pm.

This will feature top modern DJs including Redlight, Norman Jay and Lunice, as well as special guests.

The main stage this year is hosted by MC Kat from MTV and the Real Deal Comedy Jam, and will include favourite local artists as well as Lady Leshurr, Stylo G and headliner Donaeo.

And the whole event will kick off on Saturday with an attempt to break the East Midlands record for the most number of people performing Zumba together – with registration from noon for the record attempt at 1pm.

Richard and the team are now praying for a bit of good weather to ensure this year’s event is a big success.

“We’ve never had the weather so bad that we’ve had to stop the carnival – so we’re not too concerned,” he laughs.

“A little bit of drizzle is never going to stop our fun.”

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