“Quite simply the jewel in Bristol’s musical crown” according to Don’t Panic, St Pauls Carnival is one of the biggest events on the Bristolian calendar. The day-long festival is a celebration of the mishmash of different cultures and ethnicities that the neighbourhood is home to, with the dominant influences being African and Caribbean. Starting in the afternoon, the streets of St. Pauls are filled with people, music and the smells of traditional food – and the party lasts long into the evening.
The main event for the carnival is the masquerade procession from 1pm: a string of floats and spectacularly dressed dancers, which will follow this year’s theme African and Caribbean Folklore. If you’ve missed the procession, however, there are plenty more (stationary!) attractions on offer – just go for a wander to discover a variety of stages, stalls and activities..
After the day’s celebrations are over, the music really takes off. During daylight hours the many rigs popping up in the area typically play reggae and world music, but after nightfall the tone changes and you can expect to hear drum and bass, dubstep, hip hop and grime. Festival organisers are remaining tight-lipped on many of the biggest acts, which will be released on the day. However reggae legend David Rodigan has already been confirmed to be performing, and the Brighton Street rig is said to have booked some very special guests for a night of old school jungle. What’s more, if an entire day and night’s worth of activities just isn’t enough, you can take your pick from the plethora of afterparties being set up by Bristol’s clubs.
There is far too much happening at the carnival to be covered in one article – this is just a selection of highlights. So if you’re at a loose end on Saturday the best thing to do is get down to St. Pauls, grab yourself some jerk chicken and go and explore it for yourself. St Pauls Carnival is Saturday 2nd July, this event is free.
Written by Lucy, Bristol