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Carnival kicks off with police

The long-awaited homecoming at Alexandra Park this weekend has given enough proof of how much the Caribbean Carnival of Manchester (CCOM) needed to return to its spiritual home of Alexandra Park, Moss Side.

Over both days, 8 and 9 August, the carnival saw an estimated 60,000 attendees from all over greater Manchester and beyond.

The sun came out in force to spill over a spectacular and thoroughly enjoyable weekend of music, dance, food, art, performance and beautiful reunions.

TNT attended both days of the revelry along with the rest of the peaceful and jovial Moss Side community whom even Sir Peter Martin Fahy QPM – the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police – commended as he bid farewell to the community in that position.

Due to step down at the end of October, Sir Peter spoke to the crowd at Alex Park thanking “everyone, from the organisers to the community who have all contributed greatly to the success of such a spirited and spectacular event”.

The Chief Constable’s 34 years in the Police comes to an end in a significant year for the CCOM and many who have considered it “the cultural spine of Moss Side”.

This year’s occasion was the first carnival since major restoration work on the park and organisers operated a strict no drugs policy, although half a dozen licensed bars were provided, which to be fair, carnival just isn’t carnival without Rum Punch and Redstripe beer.

Affectionately known as Moss Side Carnival, and now in its 45th year, it is the second oldest Caribbean carnival in the country after the Leeds carnival in Chapeltown.

The festival has been held in Platt Fields for the past two years while its old base underwent a huge renewal project and now organisers are delighted to have brought it back to what they say is its ‘spiritual home’.

However, the community and stallholders had some valid comment to make on this year’s event.

The communities gripe was the extremely hipped up prices of food: £5.00 for a chicken leg only and a can of pop £1.20, this was deemed “Teef” by an on looker (meaning: very expensive).

Speaking to TNT on the second day of the carnival, Mancunian Jack Jarrod, owner of a ‘Churros and Chocolate’ popular stand said, “It’s my first time here; I normally travel across the country. The community here has been great, I’m not sure if I will come back next year”.

When asked why, Jarrod replied, “It’s the pitch prices for stands here; they are too high and it’s not worth it unless it is really busy like on Saturday but today [Sunday] is not as busy. So I don’t think I’ll be back”. When TNT asked what the cost was by many store holders we were told they had been sworn to secrecy.

What happened to transparency?

The artists on either of the two stages at the park (North Manchester FM’s and Legacy’s) added to a great atmosphere as various acts came on stage which brought the right balance to the event. The musical range went from Salsa, Reaggi, Grime to R’n’B and then to Spoken Word to name but a few.

For the first year a greater priority was placed on children’s entertainment’s, bouncy castles, carnival rides, go karts, and stalls of  candy floss, chocolate doughnuts as well as Caribbean food made it a successful family day out surely to be remembered.

Leave your comments below and star rating out of 5 and hopefully the powers that be will take note of the public’s wishes, just in time for next year’s event.

TNT News Yasin Chinembiri

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