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Hackney Carnival brings streets to life

CELEBRATION: Hackney Carnival

FROM THE Regent’s Canal to Ridley Road, there was a festival atmosphere as Hackney Carnival brought the streets to life with performers displaying fabulous costumes, booming beats and on point dance routines for 30,000 spectators along the route.

Dressed to thrill Hackney’s annual carnival was its most glamorous yet! When the procession entered Mare Street, the celebrations paused as carnival-goers observed a minute’s silence for those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire and those affected by recent hurricanes in the Caribbean.

As the 23 carnival groups danced past judges in Hackney Town Hall Square, there were big cheers for local groups such as Beeraahaar Sweet Combination and Gahu Dramatic Arts, and excitement as the first ever Carnival Elders bus, organised by St Joseph’s Hospice, made an appearance.

Albert Sydney Hunter, 79, who was on the Carnival Elders bus said: “Joining the carnival is a great help because loneliness can be a very upsetting thing so being able to come here and join others is a great relief.”

Pax Nindi, Creative Director of Hackney Carnival said: “It’s amazing how carnival is growing, especially with so many residents loving it and getting involved. The quality of the costumes, the colours are fantastic, the joy massive! “The capital has another golden carnival gem blooming in East London.”

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Culture, said: “A big thanks to everyone involved in carnival who helped make it the biggest yet! “A big thanks to residents who took part cheering the carnival on, helping bring the streets to life and celebrate Hackney’s diverse community.”

After the procession ended, the carnival atmosphere continued with a finale in Ridley Road with live music and DJ sets plus a host of food stalls till 8pm. The day also saw performances from top musicians, including headline act Black Slate drawing large crowds to a live stage in Gillett Square.

Sebastian Ross, from the Paracarnival group, said: “Carnival is our chance to go out and express ourselves and really be part of the community.” Spectator Verity Woolnough, added:“It’s a really nice atmosphere and you can see how diverse carnival is. It’s such a friendly vibe.”

The massive annual event is funded by the Council and organised by its culture team together with local carnival groups.

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