Carnival fever set to hit Sheffield

Sheffield Carnival Commitee members (left to right) Andrea Risden, Leroy Wenham, Jesrine Clarke-Darrington
Sheffield Carnival Commitee members (left to right) Andrea Risden, Leroy Wenham, Jesrine Clarke-Darrington
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Sheffield Carnival is coming back to the city this year, in an event that promises and abundance of dancing, vibrant costumes and great multicultural spirit.

The event, which was last seen in Sheffield over twenty years ago, made an appearance at Sheffield Fayre in 2017, but this year is set to be bigger and better as the organisers go it alone.

Sheffield Carnival was held last year alongside Sheffield Fayre

Sheffield Carnival was held last year alongside Sheffield Fayre

The multicultural family event is free for everyone to enjoy, and will be hosted at Norfolk Heritage Park later this month.

Sheffield Carnival is steeped in history, starting back in 1979 with 'one of the godfathers of carnival', Leroy Wenham who came from Leeds to work at The Sheffield Caribbean Workshop.

At the time he saw a cultural void in the city, and therefore made it an aim to share the Caribbean culture within the wider community.

Thus 'African Caribbean Fortnight' was born, ten events lasting over a fortnight in September, with things like Caribbean themed school workshops, community events, fashion shows, and carnival to start or finish off the fortnight.

Preparation is underway for this years Sheffield Carnival

Preparation is underway for this years Sheffield Carnival

Carnival captured the heart of many, with a theme each year that called on local groups to get involved with costume making.

The procession could be seen dancing through the streets in areas such as Sharrow, London Road and Pitsmoor.

Due to a lack of funding, the carnival ended in the early 90's, and a lot of equipment was lost.

It wasn't until a group of friends, whose friendships had formed around their experiences of carnival, were together that they realised a lot had disappeared for children today.

Supreme Origins - a not-for-profit organisation made up of four directors and numerous volunteers - want to again promote cultural diversity within the city, which they say is growing, but also becoming more fragmented.

Workshops have been held to create costumes and masks for the Sheffield Carnival

Workshops have been held to create costumes and masks for the Sheffield Carnival

Leroy is on hand to impart wisdom and guidance ahead of the carnival to the other directors, Jesrine Clarke-Darrington, Andrew Martin and Andrea Risden.

Andrea said: "Arthur France who runs Leeds West Indian Carnival, and Hugbon Condor. We've always got someone there to support us. We've had business training, and it's been a steep learning curve and we're still learning.

"The team is still small, so we all manage different elements."

They've been in good hands, with help with costume design by Clary Salandy from the UK Centre for Carnival Arts, and Claudette Whittingham from Notting Hill Carnival.

Preparation is underway for this years Sheffield Carnival

Preparation is underway for this years Sheffield Carnival

The group are hoping to gather 150 participants, who will take part in the main parade, and are asking for more volunteers to don a costume for the day.

They will also be joined by a group of children from Malin Bridge Primary School.

Visitors can expect an array of activities including a small funfair, cultural activity tent, free crafts tent and a sword display to name a few.

There will also be a stage full of artists, dancers and singers on hand to entertain the crowds and music courtesy of the Sheffield Music Hub Youth Samba Band, between sections of the parade.

Workshops have already taken place to create the extravagant costumes with a few more planned in the run up to the event.

This year, the theme is rise of the phoenix, as Andrea said: "It's rising out the ashes, like us bringing carnival back."

"There's a bit of something for everyone. It's got a varied and diverse culture input.

"It's such an expressive day, you can just let yourself go and be free. There's a lot of stigma around immigration so it's about breaking down barriers. It gives a platform for communities to get their cultures out there.

"It's a day we want everyone to enjoy," she added. "We want to include people in a day that is based on Caribbean heritage."

The carnival is supported by the Migration Matters Festival, who will be hosting an after party and sharing acts on stage throughout the day.

It will take place on Saturday June 23, 12-8pm with the parade setting off at 3 o'clock. To find out more information or to become a volunteer email: info@sheffieldcarnival.org