Popular local carnival set to return in 2018

Kingston Carnival has received additional funding after another successful year which saw cultures and traditions from across the borough come together.

Kingston Council provided £7,500 after the organisers were unsuccessful with a funding bid to Arts Council England.

The carnival took place on 3rd September, and celebrates a variety of faiths, communities and cultural diversities to bring people in from all over London.

Kingston council leader Kevin Davis said: “The priority is always to deliver a safe, fun event. Carnival wouldn’t be the success it is without the support of many organisations and an amazing army of volunteers.

“Each year there’s a slightly different vibe and a mix of professional, local and up and coming acts.”

The carnival aims to be a safe and enjoyable environment every year, with an alcohol-free rule to ensure it is friendly for all ages.

Cllr Davis added: “We believe Kingston’s heritage, culture and creativity is a force for good, that’s why we work with organisations to support their ambitions and build resilience.

“Our cultural offer is a tangible demonstration of how much goes on in Kingston and why we’re passionate about being London’s first Borough of Culture.”

The carnival is organised by Kingston Race and Equalities Council, including Chief Executive Officer John Azah, who has been involved since the beginning.

Mr Azah said: “I think it was very exciting. We went back to the council after the application that we submitted for funding failed at the last moment, which put the whole carnival at risk.

“The council was then very positive about what it could do to make sure that the event went ahead and I think that was the most positive stance that we’ve experienced since we started the carnival 17 years ago.”

The REC group aim to eliminate any forms of racial discrimination and promote an equal area, with the carnival being an annual step in bringing communities together.

He added: “We are going to continue to approach other faiths who want to be visible in the carnival.

“We’re going to be making statements about peace and unity so that if any faith communities want to work with us to promote the kind of faith and peaceful sustainable communities that we want to do then that’s an aspect that we want to grow.”

The day was a great success, with a large turnout in crowds and hosts, and the current Mayor of Kingston Julie Pickering playing a huge part in supporting the day.

The event featured a variety of community groups and musicians from the area, such as The Dhol Squad, Bollywood Bands and Colin Bloxham.

A a range of stalls and activities were available throughout the day, with reflexology, Zumba dancers, henna and circus skills taking place across different areas throughout the village.

Manoj Kakaya, member of the Dhol Squad, said: “As always Kingston carnival has been an enjoyable event for us.

“The crowds are receptive of our drumming and many join in and boogie with us.”

He added: “Kingston carnival is a multicultural event, it brings people in from all over London, and there is a feeling of togetherness and happiness that all the performers feed from.

“I think it’s important that it continues and the local authority feeds into such events.”

The organisers are looking to expand the carnival as it continues to grow each year, and are always looking for new ways to engage further audiences.

They are looking to encourage more interest from youths of the area, as well as involving TFL and potential future stakeholders in supporting the event in years to come.

The date for the 2018 carnival is to be confirmed.

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