Bristol’s St Pauls Carnival to be held every two years!

Organisers of the St Pauls Carnival have announced that the event will not return in full until 2025.

Former Ujima Radio Presenter and now BBC Journalist Dawn Limbu reports for BBC England:

This year, over 100,000 people celebrated the return of the first full carnival since before the pandemic.

Despite the success, organisers said they will have to scale back the event to one every two years.

It said this is due to funding challenges, with organisers having to raise over £250,000 to run the event.

Organisers said that next year will be marked with community led ‘Back-a-Yard’ gatherings – a traditional Jamaican phrase which means “back at home”.

The money to fund the carnival currently comes from grant funding from organisations such as the Arts Council and Bristol City Council, alongside money that the organisation has raised itself.

Latoyah McAllister-Jones, the executive director of St Paul’s Carnival, described it as the “jewel of Bristol’s crown” but said they have to be realistic to the cost.

“It’s the biggest cultural export that we have,” she said.

“I think it’s really important for the city of a whole to understand the true value of carnival. But we have to engage the true cost of it.”

She said the event sector and fundraising has “really suffered” since the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The fundraising landscape has really shifted,” she said.

“There are lots of events that are struggling to happen.

“It’s just a very, very difficult and challenging landscape to raise funds to put events on, particularly for events that happen on the streets.”

The announcement has been met with disappointment among locals, with many reflecting on the cultural importance of the carnival.

Ashley Burrowes, owner of the catering business called Jerk King, is a regular caterer at the carnival and said the scale back will be “detrimental” for his business.

In addition, Mr Burrowes said cutting back on the carnival will affect local culture.

“This is the only day in the year that they [African and Caribbean people] can celebrate their culture,” he said.

“For them to take that away from the youths of Bristol, they’re gonna forget about their heritage.

“For me, it’s bigger than just money.”

Lawrence Hoo, a poet, educator and actor residing in Bristol, has urged the organisers to not give up on finding funds, due to the importance of cultural representation.

“The cultural impact is usually a very positive reputation of the African Caribbean community and culture, which often in the media is shown in a very negative light,” he said.

“It shines a light on the good aspect of the culture that the media can’t avoid.”

K*Ners, a musician from Bristol, has grown up attending the carnival since he was a child and said he is disappointed to hear it will be scaled back.

“Carnival is always a happy day. It’s a chance for people in the community to earn money selling things on their door step. It’s a way of the community to generate funds,” he said.

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Miranda Rae

Miranda Rae is a Producer and Presenter with over 25 years experience of working in radio and music industries including her own weekly show on BBC Radio 5 for which she won a Sony Award and many years on the infamous Galaxy Radio where Miranda played a pivotal role in the UK’s music scene. Miranda assists in overseeing, and helps to curate over 50 programmes a week. The role is multi-faceted and includes training, broadcasting, producing, programming, supporting emerging talent, social media, PR & publicity, event management and stage management, employing many technical skills including editing and using many different software as a user and a programmer.