The Bath Carnival takes place on Saturday 21st July and this year’s theme is ‘Carnival Culture’, with three of the most famous and distinctive styles of carnival from around the world. Exploring the colourful traditions and fascinating cultures behind three distinct styles of Carnival. This year we discover Rio Carnival, The Caribbean Islands and New Orlean’s Mardi Gras.
At the free carnival workshops you can create your own colourful costume, throw some serious shapes at a beginners dance class and experience drumming as part of a large ensemble.
It’s the largest carnival in the world with over 2 million people taking to the streets each day over the course of one week. Our Rio bloc is inspired by one of the oldest Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro; Estação Primeira de Mangueira (Mangueria). Costume designers are working with schools and community groups to create a new batch of boldly coloured outfits in the school’s trade mark pink and green.
Meanwhile hundreds of drummers across the South West are rehearsing their own interpretations of the high tempo style of Batucada Samba, preparing for an incredible collaborative performance in this year’s procession.
Each of the Caribbean islands has its own distinct themes and traditions, with the most iconic being the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival. We take a closer look at the origins of this incredible carnival; the distinctive sound of the steel pans and the rich oranges and yellows that are synonymous with their costumes.
New collaborations with Caribbean carnivals in the UK will see professional dance practitioners teaching new dance choreographies inspired by traditional African dance. Dance groups will showcase their dances to traditional calypso music at the carnival.
New Orleans Mardi Gras
The third and final style is Mardi Gras (‘Fat Tuesday’), a holiday celebrated in Southern Louisiana, most famously in New Orleans. While most carnivals around the world refer to a specific group in the procession as a carnival ‘bloc’, in Mardi Gras it’s known as a ‘krewe’.
The Krewe of Rex are the origin of many Mardi Gras traditions including the official colours of purple, green and yellow which inspire our own Mardi Gras costumes this year.
Musically, the parades are famed for enormous brass ensembles which have evolved from the traditional jazz funerals, whereby a brass band follows behind the hearse and mourners. This year will feature the Mardi Gras Brass Band, with London’s Brass Funkeys leading a series of horn and percussion workshops with local music students.
Event Day Information
The Free Party in the Park
Sydney Gardens, 10:00 – 22:00
Live Bands, DJs, Food and Drink, Licensed Bars, Walkabout Acts, Children’s Entertainment & Inflatable Fun
The Carnival Preparation Site
Bath Recreation Ground, 10:00 – 18:00
Carnival Preparation, Costume Collection, Group Registration, Live Rehearsals on Stage, Food and Drink & Licensed Bar
The Carnival Procession
15:00 – 17:00
Start: Great Pulteney Street (15:00)
Parade route throughout the city centre
Grand Finale: Laura Fountain (16:30)
For more information please go to: www.bathcarnival.co.uk
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