14 August 2004, Moss Side & Alexandra Park
Manchester’s legendary Caribbean carnival has a new name, a freshly elected committee and is to be supported by a local cutting-edge events company.
The new Caribbean Carnival of Manchester committee is made up from members of community groups, including the Leeward Islands Association, Barbados Association, Jamaica Society, Grenada Society, Guyanese Society, Monserrat Action Group and the West Indian Sports & Social Club.
A Caribbean carnival has been celebrated in Moss Side’s Alexandra Park since 1971 and in recent years, community members have expressed an interest in breathing new life into the event, to bring about an inclusive and exciting new carnival.
The decision was made to form a new committee democratically, which would include elected volunteer members representative of the diverse islands communities.
A major community consultation and recruitment drive is now underway, with people being offered the opportunity to contribute to shaping the new carnival.
Flyers are to be distributed throughout Moss Side, Whalley Range, Longsight, Cheetham Hill and Hulme, which invite members of the Caribbean community of all ages to offer their skills and experience to the carnival.
Performers, from singers and dancers to DJs are being sought out, as well as people to run workshops and activities and bring food and clothes stalls and sound systems.
Talented tailors and sassy seamstresses are encouraged to design and make elaborate costumes and enter troupes for the procession.
Community members with expertise in areas including security, sound and lighting are in demand.
Up to 100 volunteers are also needed, to train up in all areas of event management such as programming, production and marketing to ensure the success of the venture.
Ear to the Ground, the energetic team behind Manchester’s revered D.Percussion, last year's Respect Festival and the production managers of Manchester Pride, has been working with Manchester City Council and the committee of volunteers from all of the main island groups to shape the colourful summer event and secure its future in the city’s calendar.
The carnival has received funding and support from Manchester City Council, Arts Council England, North West, englandsnorthwest and other public organisations.
Terry Brandy, chair of the new volunteer committee said: "We have listened to the voices of the community and are committed to creating a new and inclusive people’s carnival, free of commercial influences.
"Whilst recognising the traditional roots of carnival, it is our mission to now drive the event forward into the 21st century and create a celebration for all people of all ages and cultures".
He added: "Carnival is a celebration. It is about the right to be free, for people of all cultures and backgrounds. Whilst carnival is grounded in the history of the Caribbean people, it is not a political platform.
"We will ensure that the Caribbean Carnival of Manchester continues to be a vibrant, well-attended, and quality part of the city’s cultural calendar," he concluded.
Margaret Nuttall, Head of the Events Unit at Manchester City Council said: "Manchester City Council is delighted to support a new approach to the Carnival in Manchester. The Caribbean Carnival of Manchester 2004 will deliver an inclusive, enjoyable event, having been devised by a committee of representatives from Caribbean community groups from all over the city.
"The doors are still open for creative ideas from community representatives who wish to be involved," she added.
Caribbean Carnival is part of Manchester City Council's summer events programme, the Great Outdoors, for more information on Manchester City Council events visit www.manchesterlive.com or call the Visitor Information Centre on 0161 234 3157 .
The Caribbean Carnival of Manchester office can be contacted on 0161 342 0022.