Sunday, 8 September 2013

Leeds Carnival

After 8 years of living in Leeds I finally dragged my arse to the Leeds West Indian Carnival. I really have no idea why I've never been before, especially as I've known about it for at least four years! I'm so glad I finally went though. Events like this and the sheer multiculturalism pride are probably my favourite things about Leeds. 

I couldn't explain carnival any better than how they've explained it on their website, so here it is: . "Leeds West Indian Carnival is Europe’s longest running authentic Caribbean carnival parade. What started in the 1960’s as one man’s remedy for West Indian homesickness is now the perfect blend of jaw-dropping costumes, infectious tropical rhythms, mouth watering food and entertainment for everyone."

Dance troupes had come from all over the UK to take part, and thousands of people turned out both in the park at the main event and also to line the streets for the procession. I have posted the route below, courtesy of the official @CarnivalLeeds twitter. Looking at the map it doesn't look that long, but those roads and Potternewton Park are both pretty huge! I could barely even walk up half of Chapeltown Road before I was a sweaty breathless mess, who knows how those dancers danced the entire route with smiles on their faces!

It really was such a beautiful event. At several points as the procession passed us I became quite overwhelmed with emotion! I'm not sure if it was the music or if it was just because everyone there was having such a great time dancing and smiling. Everyone there was made to feel so welcomed and included and several of the dancers would make the effort to smile at me as I snapped away with my camera. They must have been so tired, it was such a swelteringly hot day and they had already been dancing and walking for around two hours by the time we had got there. Impressed doesn't even cover it.

(Please click on the photos to enlarge them, the previews look a little blurry on the main page.)

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