IT’S tough to say exactly when Nottingham’s first Caribbean Carnival was held, though Richard Renwick reckons it was in 1958, Erik Petersen reports for The Nottingham Post.
That year, a group of people from St Kitts organised a small get-together in The Meadows in the style of celebrations from their home.
As chief executive of Tuntum Housing Association, which oversees the carnival, Richard now has the responsibility of preserving and developing the carnival for future generations.
As someone who immigrated to the UK from Grenada in the 1970s, he’s seen plenty of changes in carnivals over the years.
For many years, he said, the carnival had a frustrating way of going for a few years, then stopping, then getting started up by another group a few years later.
Over the years, it has become much more pan-Caribbean, and beyond – various communities now come together to throw one big party.
“Our parade is becoming more diverse, more multicultural,” he said. “The style of the event is getting more diverse, which makes it more enjoyable.”
“We’re building it all the time. The artistic side of it is the side that has improved all the time.”
One of the first big, citywide carnivals happened in 1970 – for years after, carnivals were often held at Victoria Embankment.
Tuntum took it over in 1999 after it was cancelled in 1998. “We have a core group of people who are very passionate about making it better every year,” Richard says.
Since taking it over, Tuntum has had to suspend it once, in 2004. “But,” said Richard, “we came back with a bang in 2005. It has improved all the time to being one of the leading carnivals in the United Kingdom.”
The 2013 Nottingham Caribbean Carnival, featuring several music stages, food and other entertainment, happens on Saturday and Sunday at The Forest recreation ground. The parade goes through the city centre and up Mansfield Road to the Forest from 4pm on Sunday.