Colours, cultures and catchy beats collide

10:20am Monday 7th July 2014

By Pete Hughes

AFRICAN dancers and rock, reggae and marching bands arrived in East Oxford yesterday for the Cowley Road Carnival.

Last year more than 35,000 people joined in the carnival and this year tens of thousands of people enjoyed the party in the sunshine.

More than 730 primary school children, brass band players, religious and political groups danced and chanted in a parade from The Plain roundabout to St Mary and St John Church, from 2pm to 3pm.

Leading the way were children from Pegasus Youth Theatre and their life-like Mini robot puppet inspired by Oxford’s Mini plant – the carnival’s main sponsor.

At their head was nine-year-old Elsie Tyrrell who had said she had never led a procession before and was “very excited”.

As she joined the parade with her students, Pegasus Theatre manager Yasmin Sidhwa said: “It is an amazing experience, so many young people walking, being watched and enjoying all the fun. The theme this year is faces of Oxford, and we are the face of Oxford.”

Al-Amin grocery store manager Nazim Uddin and his assistant Samad Ali made a killing selling tropical jack fruit.

Mr Uddin, 31, said: “It’s been fantastic – a great day.

“The carnival brings everyone together. Oxford is a multicultural city anyway, but this shows off different culture, different vibes, different music _ things you wouldn’t normally see.”

Oxford Mail: #

More than 35 street traders helped fund the carnival organising committee Cowley Road Works, which raised a total of £100,000 to ensure the carnival went ahead.

The road was closed from 8am and bands performed at the Corridor club, the City Arms, The Cape of Good Hope and other stages from midday.

George Hopkinson, 28, travelled from London to see the carnival for the first time with friends from Oxford.

Mr Hopkinson, who works in marketing, said: “It’s so nice to see loads of new stuff you wouldn’t normally see and everyone get together.”

Oxford City Council donated £30,000 to the carnival.

Council leader Bob Price, who watched the parade with wife Joanna and daughter Isabelle, 13, said: “The quality of the parade and all the bands is the best it has ever been.

“We always get good weather by not doing it the same weekend as Glastonbury.”

Among the parade’s dancers was 19-year-old student Sandra Dipate, from Oxford, who was inspired by last year’s carnival to organise her own All Around Africa troupe.

Oxford Mail:

Miss Dipate, originally from Botswana, said: “The carnival is all about embracing cultural diversity, but last year I realised there weren’t actually that many groups from Africa so I made a dance group.”

Performers from the East Oxford Culturevators project made polar bear heads to wear in the parade and carried a life-size polar bear model, inspired by Oxford author Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy.

Helen Jacobs, 35, said: “We wouldn’t miss this for the world.”

Procession organiser Anya Fox said: “I love the carnival because there are so many kinds of people.

 

Oxford Mail:

“It’s all about the heart and soul of this area, more than any other show I do.”

The carnival was first held in 2001 when it attracted just 500 people.

It was cancelled in 2006 and in 2011 was held in South Park.

 

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Our top stories

Video: Watch the blaze that destroyed a lorry trailer carrying egg boxes on the A40

Oxford Mail:

11:10am Monday 22nd December 2014

A LORRY containing egg boxes has caught fire on the A40 near Witney.   

Special report: The city where it can be 19 times your salary for a home

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Monday 22nd December 2014

THERE is no longer anywhere cheap to live in Oxford, leaving average earners priced out of the market house prices up to 19 times the media salary, new figures show.

UPDATE: Queues along Abingdon Road as Westgate shopping centre car park fills up with Christmas shoppers

Oxford Mail: Westgate Centre oxford

4:35pm Monday 22nd December 2014

A RUSH of shoppers to the Westgate Shopping Centre has caused traffic to queue down Abingdon Road in Oxford.

A4130 blocked after car goes into ditch

Oxford Mail: a4130 alert

1:19pm Monday 22nd December 2014

THE A4130 is partially blocked in both directions by a car crash between Didcot and Brightwell-cum-Sotwell.

Oxford chosen to host new NHS genetics research centre to improve care

Oxford Mail:

12:10pm Monday 22nd December 2014

PEOPLE in Oxfordshire with cancer and rare diseases could get advanced diagnosis and treatment under a new genetics project.

What brilliant picture is in our Oxford Mail Advent Calendar today?

Oxford Mail:

6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014

December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?

Back

© Copyright 2001-2014 Newsquest Media Group

Oxford Mail: site_logo http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk

Click 2 Find Business Directory http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/trade_directory/