Now in its 44th year, St Pauls Carnival is host to one of the most vibrant cultural enclaves in the country. Every year the St Pauls area of Bristol opens itself up to over 80,000 people to celebrate its unique and inclusive cultural diversity and heritage. Heaving with families, Bristolians and ravers the all day and all night event is without question the best weekend on Bristol’s jam-packed summer calendar.
This year’s theme is based around African Caribbean folklore so expect to see colourful floats depicting classic characters such as Anansi the Spider during the Masquerade Procession. The Mas parade and outdoor soundsystems on the street are intrinsic elements of Caribbean carnival tradition. However, it’s not just the African-Caribbean community that this event appeals to. The carnival and its organisers have always stressed the importance of inclusivity and it does a great job of bringing the wider community together in sharing cultural values, similarities and differences.
Whether you’re a Reggae-ite, a Drum & Bass head or a Dubstep raver all things big and bassy are well catered for with rigs dotted around the neighbourhood.
The amount of huge acts we’re hearing on the grapevine is sure to attract music lovers from far and wide. Johnny Clark’s appearance last year serves as a good indicator of what to expect on the main stage this time around. However, it looks as though the various other stages will be coming hard this year in a desperate bid to outdo one another. After chatting to insiders in the Red Bull, Patchwork and Dirt soundsystem camps they’re all very excited about what’s in store. Whilst they’re keeping much of their lineups under wraps we were lucky enough to get some mouth-watering exclusives!
BRIGHTON ST STAGE
Curated by Loveworks and Patchwork; The Brighton Street stage is always a lively affair, you can expect Dubstep, Jungle, Hip-Hop & Grime flavours. This year it is especially geared towards the younger generation through some great workshops being coordinated by Loveworks in the run up to the carnival with performances showcases on the day.
Don’t Panic have heard that the Brighton Street headliners are some very very special old school legends, unfortunately we have to be tight-lipped on this, but make sure you pack your Jungle legs because this is going to go off!!
Dirt Soundsystem, Anticlone and Unknown @ MALCOLM X CENTRE
The Malcom X community centre has long been host to some of the greatest Reggae and Jungle dances Bristol has ever seen. This longstanding St Paul’s venue will be running an outdoor stage in the carpark throughout the day. Setting it apart from the huge amount of rigs on offer is the promise of the return of the chest-rattling Dirt Soundsystem. Last year this stage had the likes of Marcus Nasty and Roller Express send the crowds into a frenzy, and this year they are raising the bar yet again and are going to blow it totally out of the water!
Announced guests so far are Serial Killaz, The DJ Producer, David Boomah and Bristol’s Jungle Dons the Run Tingz Cru…. but expect to see some gargantuan names on the set list come carnival day – DIRT Soundsystem are Bristol’s premier touring soundsystem, and they have pulled in some almighty favours for three hours of EPIC headliners!
RED BULL STAGE
In St Paul’s Park, carnival welcomes a brand new stage this year. Many might scoff at the corporate backing but Red Bull have proved with their Music Academy that they have a better understanding of music than most large multinationals. Again, organisers are staying tight-lipped on this one but we did manage to beat a ridiculously hype booking out of them –David 'Ramjam' Rodigan is sure to be the cherry on the St Paul carnival cake. The King of Clash, if this name doesn’t mean anything to you he’s the man that brought Reggae to a wider audience on these shores and is without question the ultimate carnival DJ – a veteran who has played the daddy of them all – Trinidad Carnival! The mysteriously titled ‘Roller Express’ will also be doing a marathon 4 hour set. Again, those in the know will already be getting excited about this one! Later in the evening, after all that hype the Red Bull stage will cool things down with some Disco Boogie and smooth House courtesy of DJ Die’s Laminate Radio and Team Love.
Warming you up for Bristol’s most epic weekend is a whole host of scintillating pre-parties on the Friday night. Crazylegs will be doing an intimate night on Stokes Croft’s Take 5 Cafe featuring Objekt whilst you can also get yourself into the spirit down at Cosies, Basement 45 and Timbuk2.
After what promises to be the biggest and best St Paul’s Carnival yet, the question on most people’s lips will be ‘where are the after parties??’ To make sure you’re not one of the uninformed we’ve got the lowdown on where to go and who to see when the sun goes down. The Blast of Shit the Bed fame are going up against one of London’s biggest parties – Seb Chew’s YoYo night which boasts residents like the Moombahtonista Smutlee. The two promoters are bringing a next level lineup to the Blue Mountain with Lil Silva and Radio 1’s Toddla Tjoined by ‘a very very special mega guest’ we’re told. Dirt will be moving inside the Malcolm X, Sureskank are putting on a soiree at the Croft , the 'Official' St Pauls afterparty is at Basement 45 and there’s sure to be parties popping up at the usual nightspots to suit any taste.
This is a tip of the iceberg for what to expect, there will be all manner of special guests on the day, and with plenty of soundsystems to discover, St Pauls Carnival 2011 is set to be something really special!
St Pauls Carnival is Saturday 2nd July, this event is free ... please support the cause by texting ‘SPC’ to 70303 to make a £3 donation. The donation will cost £3 plus a text message at the standard rate. St Pauls Carnival (registered charity 1136561) will receive a minimum of £2.60 from each text. Please make sure that you have the bill payer’s permission before making this donation.
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