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  • Shamser Khalid

Carnival Performers To Dance at Bristol T20 Match

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St Pauls Carnival, one of Bristol's most vibrant and celebrated cultural events, is set to take center stage in an exciting collaboration with the Gloucestershire County Cricket Club. The inaugural T20 'Carnival Clash' will feature a captivating pre-match show, bringing the spirit of the carnival to the cricket pitch. Performers will grace the grounds with their vibrant dances, accompanied by the enchanting melodies of a steel band, offering a taste of the carnival extravaganza.

Carole Johnson, Vice-Chair of St Pauls Carnival, expressed the significance of this partnership, particularly in relation to the Caribbean tradition of cricket. She emphasized the poignancy of this collaboration, as cricket holds immense importance within Caribbean culture and has deep historical connections with the carnival. By merging these two cultural phenomena, the 'Carnival Clash' aims to create a truly authentic and memorable experience.

Johnson stated, "Our desire to engage with the community through partnerships is always present, but this particular collaboration holds a special place in the hearts of those attending. It is deeply connected to the history of the carnival and the communities that originated it. With a Caribbean focus, the event will radiate a distinct Caribbean flavor, featuring captivating steel bands, tantalizing Caribbean cuisine, and a vibrant procession troop showcasing their dance moves, inviting attendees to join in the festivities."

Notably, the 'Carnival Clash' serves as a fundraiser for the St Pauls Carnival, which partially relies on public funding. This event represents an opportunity for the community to contribute to the preservation and continuation of the beloved carnival. By attending the 'Carnival Clash' and enjoying the fusion of cricket and carnival, supporters can help ensure that the festival thrives for years to come.

In addition to its fundraising role, the 'Carnival Clash' also marks the commencement of the fringe series of pre-carnival day events. These events build excitement and anticipation for the return of the St Pauls Carnival to Bristol in July, following a three-year hiatus. The carnival, which has been a symbol of diversity, cultural richness, and unity, will once again grace the streets of Bristol, captivating locals and visitors alike.

Gloucestershire Cricket President, Syd Lawrence, expressed his enthusiasm for the collaboration and acknowledged the importance of recognizing the St Pauls festival. Lawrence's initial idea for the 'Carnival Clash' was conceived in February, aiming to celebrate the festival while promoting education on diversity and inclusion. He expressed his desire for the 'Carnival Clash' to become an annual tradition, fostering a lasting connection between cricket and the vibrant carnival spirit.

The year 2023 holds special significance in the St Pauls Carnival calendar. It marks the 60th anniversary of Bristol's Bus Boycott, a pivotal moment in the fight against racial discrimination, as well as the 75th anniversary of HMT Empire Windrush's arrival in Britain on June 22, 1948. These milestones serve as powerful reminders of the rich history and cultural contributions of the Caribbean community in Bristol, adding an extra layer of meaning to the 'Carnival Clash.'

Levi Roots, the current chair of the carnival, expressed his excitement for the upcoming event, highlighting the special relationship between Carnival, the Caribbean, and cricket. Roots eagerly anticipates bringing the blend of music, food, and culture that characterizes the St Pauls Carnival to this unique T20 experience. He also emphasized the opportunity the 'Carnival Clash' provides for artists to showcase their talents, further contributing to the success of the carnival and securing its future.


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