Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Bristol Post
Bristol Post
Louisa Streeting

St Pauls Carnival 2023: Everything we know so far about the event's big return

Bristol is edging closer to the full return of St Pauls Carnival for the first time in three years. The organisation is planning more than a week's worth of events leading up to Carnival Day on July 1, 2023, where colour, music and culture will flood the streets of St Pauls once again.

Both 2020 and 2021 saw the move to online-only events due to the Covid pandemic. In 2022, the organisation announced that a full public event of the size and complexity of St Pauls Carnival wasn't viable, instead hosting a music, arts and community event, 'Back A Yard'.

So what can we expect for the triumphant return of St Pauls Carnival 2023? Here's everything we know so far about this year's plans.

Read more: St Pauls Carnival organisers speak out on bright future for event

Brief history of St Pauls Carnival

The origins of Carnival can be traced back to 1968 when an event was started to bring together the European, African-Caribbean and Asian communities, and to challenge negative stereotypes of the area. It started as a community event with local residents selling home-cooked food from their front garden.

Over time, the event grew in size and became known as St Pauls Carnival. By 1991 it was renamed St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival as a platform for Bristol's African-Caribbean community, attracting people from all over Bristol, like what it is known as today.

Carnival has continued to grow over the years offering a beautiful parade, food stalls and a Soundsystem culture that was popular at Notting Hill Carnival in London. It's seen multiple hiatuses over the years, including when the event's main funding was pulled between 2015 and 2017 as well as during the pandemic years. This year will mark the organisation's first full Carnival for three years.

In 2017, St Pauls Carnival was established as a community interest company ahead of the 50th anniversary of the event in 2018. But what lies in stall for this year?

Dates for St Pauls Carnival 2023

The 2023 celebration will return under the theme 'Learning From Legends' starting with a packed events programme starting on June 22, which is the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush arriving in Britain. The events programme will build up to full Carnival on July 1 which will see more than 100,000 people celebrate in the heart of St Pauls.

What can we expect this year?

This year's St Pauls Carnival theme is Learning With Legends (Bhagesh Sachania)

This year's events will fall under the theme of 'Learning from Legends' which will reflect on the organisation's emphasis on working with the Elder community over the past 18 months and celebrating its roots, which included a documentary that premiered at the end of 2022. The theme also pays homage to Bristol Bus Boycott activist and Carnival forefather, Roy Hackett MBE - who passed away in August last year - and to many other local figures.

The programme is yet to be announced, but organisers have released details of the official after-party on July 1 at Motion nightclub. Tropixx is presented by Bristol VIP and JS Ent, who will be hosting a lineup of DJs to keep the Carnival spirit going after dark from 10pm to 5am. Early bird tickets start at £10 and will be moving up to £15 for its first release, available on See Tickets.

This year will be the first full St Pauls Carnival for chair, Levi Roots, who was appointed in 2021. He said the organisation remains focused on securing support from sponsors and the public so it can deliver "the full celebration that people know and love".

The organisation estimates that St Pauls Carnival 2023 will cost around £450,000 to run the celebrations, excluding core costs. A total of £219,000 has already been secured from Arts Council England. More announcements on this summer's plans are expected from the organisation in the coming weeks.

Tickets for the official St Pauls After Party are available on See Tickets.

Up next:

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.