Having been separated from its spiritual habitat – Alexandra (Alex) Park – due to major renovation work, Caribbean Carnival of Manchester is back in its natural abode. After 2 years at Platts Field Park in Fallowfield, the carnival’s reinstatement to what many call “its home”
It is scheduled to return home on the 8th -9th August at Alexandra park and with a licence to sell alcohol too, by all accounts.
The carnival’s roots lie in Trinidad where the first carnival was held in 1833. Before this date, black slaves had been forbidden by law to take part in their master’s European Easter carnivals, or even to gather on the streets after nightfall.
During its temporary move to Fallowfield, commentators cited that the move was akin to that of slave masters disallowing the Caribbean community to revel in the manner in which they wanted.
Last year, Mickey Bisson, Chair of the current Caribbean Carnival of Manchester committee released a statement in a local paper saying that the Caribbean Carnival may not to return to Alex Park. Consequently, a petition by Caribbean Carnival Reclaim Our Carnival Working Group was set up to ensure that the Caribbean Carnival returns to Moss Side.
After the wave of local, heated community meeting it then saw Mr Bisson change his statement to then tell TNT live on camera that there was a 99% chance carnival would return back to Alex Park.
Now in its 45th year and for the first 43 years its home has been Moss Side. Although Platt Fields Park saw a reasonable turnout last year, the Sunday saw well over 20,000 revellers in the blazing heat.
One of the key points raised by last year’s revellers attending Platts Field Park was that the Fallowfield venue had more of a festival vibe rather than the traditional Caribbean themes and atmosphere that Alex Park imbues.
With its pulsating music such as calypso, soca, reggae, hip-hop and soul, amidst the costumed gyrating carnival dancers swaying to the rhythmical beats, this year’s event promises to give people more to celebrate.
It’s a spectacular and colourful event that is important to Moss Side, as it gives recognition to the Windrush generation that took up residency in the area.
The economic benefit that Carnival brings to Moss Side is essential and the very acknowledgement of this brings comfort to the community, especially in our current tough financial climate.