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Preview Leeds West Indian Carnival

The popular cultural event marks its 44-year anniversary

This year the Leeds West Indian Carnival on Monday 29th August is celebrating its 44th anniversary – which organisers say makes it the longest-running West Indian carnival in Europe, with revellers coming from all around the world to join in the celebration. A fantastic musical procession will parade through the streets of Chapeltown before ending in Potternewton Park for a day of fun and art.

The carnival originated in the 19th century when newly released slaves celebrated their freedom by engaging in dancing, music and wearing masks and costumes, mocking their former masters.

The Carnival Day Parade on Bank Holiday Monday will feature 2,000 costumed dancers, 35 masquerade bands, 20 floats and a steel band who all parade around the streets of Chapeltown, Harehills and Roundhay.

Leading up to the carnival, organisers have packed together a diary of fun events for all the family, including the Carnival King and Queen show on Friday 26th, in which this year’s Carnival King and Queen to lead the parade will be crowned, and the Calypso Monarch competition on Saturday 27th. At these events you can expect to see performances from Hypnotic Dancers, Calypsonian Soca-B, RJC Dance Group and New World Steel Orchestra.

Paraders will set off at 2.15pm from Potternewton Park in Chapeltown and the carnival itself will take place all day. Before the parade, Leeds West Indian Centre is hosting a warm-up session where participants will get ready for the parade by daubing mud and paint all over their bodies – anybody is welcome to attend this, as long as they’re prepared to get messy! This bank holiday celebration is set to be a cultural eye-opener with lots of fun.

Organisers point out that people attending the carnival can take a few simple steps to help ensure everyone has a fun and safe day out. People are advised to avoid driving to the event if at all possible, as the area will be extremely congested. Several roads around Potternewton Park will be closed, but the nearest buses will be the 2, 3, 3A, 22, 24, 12, 13, 13A and 98. Everyone is advised to meet up with friends before arriving at the carnival, to agree on a meeting place for if they get separated, to be alert to the risk of pickpocketing and to be well prepared for a long, hot day out!

Taking place on the same weekend as the carnival, although not officially a part of it, is the Leeds Reggae Festival, which features live performances from Gyptian, Omarion and Josie Wales. This event takes place between 12pm and 8pm on Sunday 28th August at Potternewton Park, celebrating 25 years of live reggae concerts. Also performing on the day are local acts Baby Jade, Unity Band and Speak to the Streets. Admission to the Reggae Festival is free.

For more information about Leeds West Indian Carnival, contact Leeds Carnival Arts & Culture Centre on 0113 307 0001

Posted on Thursday 25th August 2011
Maybelline Byrne

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Comments on Preview: Leeds West Indian Carnival

Comment by Paul Horton

Posted on Thu 12th Jul 12 11:59 pm

Why can you never find out who is performing at the Leeds West Indian Carnival, surely if you have a choice of where to go you choose what you know not the Leeds Magical Mystery Tour

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