St Pauls Carnival: Spirit Up to reach community online

st pauls carnival spirit up to reach community online - St Pauls Carnival: Spirit Up to reach community online
Image caption Thousands of people from all over the world attended the Bristol event in 2019

Organisers of a carnival that has been running for decades say they will reach the community despite Covid-19 “challenges” by going online.

St Pauls Carnival performances and workshops will be hosted on the organisation’s Facebook page.

CEO of the Bristol event, LaToyah McAllister-Jones, said: “The carnival’s history and cultural significance are too important for Bristol to lose.”

The online event, called Spirit Up, will take place on Saturday.

Following the lockdown, carnival organisers announced in May they had cancelled the annual outdoor celebration, which includes a parade and street performances.

Miss McAllister Jones said: “We are determined to still reach the community despite challenges”.

Image caption The event’s usual colourful procession features live acts throughout the day

Since its beginnings in 1968, the event has provided a space for local artists, schools and elders of the African and Caribbean communities.

The festival was cancelled in 2012 and 2015 over safety uncertainties and “unforeseen challenges and setbacks”.

Since then organisers have been working hard to keep one of the biggest events of its kind in Europe going through crowdfunding and better management.

Last year’s event saw more than 100,000 people arrive in Bristol to enjoy the event.

Image caption Dwayne Thomas said having carnival online is “positive and is “what the people want”.

Bristol reggae artist Dwayne Thomas, also known as Da Fuchaman, put on an online show in the run up to the main event, and said putting the carnival online is “what people want” and will still bring “joy” to the city.

He said: “My grandma always said a little bit of something good is better than nothing at all.”

Image copyright Tommy Popcorn
Image caption Tommy Popcorn, on the right, said it’s still “important” the carnival goes ahead in “some kind of way” because it brings people together.

Ujima radio presenter, Tommy Popcorn, 55, grew up in central Bristol and has been attending the event for 40 years.

He said he’s looking forward to seeing what happens during the main event and that it’s “safer” for it to be online right now.

He said: “It’s important to keep the spirit and cultural importance of carnival going. I don’t think people want to have that feeling that there’s nothing happening this year.”

Image caption Miss Sehdev, on the right, said she’s been going to the festival since she was a teenager and the online event will “honour” her memories of carnival.

Bristol resident Monika Sehdev plans to watch the stream, which starts at 12:00 GMT, having visited St Pauls Carnival for 27 years.

For her, it has always been about the “vibrancy” and a “hub of celebration of people” and she said this weekend will be no different.

She said: “It’s going to be a surreal experience, but it’s important to know that it’s still a place of remembrance and people coming together.”

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