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Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Luton Carnival Centre Featured

There is an excellent feature on the Luton Carnival Centre in the Guardian:

For a £7.5m building, the new arts centre in Luton has been a tip for the last week, littered with wire, fabric, artificial flowers, foam rubber and braid, with patterns being cut out on every level surface.

Today, out of the chaos, dragons and demons, huge masks and oriental maidens in cherry blossom, and a giant white woman with scenes of heaven and hell and an ancient milk float hidden under her skirts, erupted on to the streets of Luton, Bedfordshire, as the country's first dedicated permanent centre for carnival arts formally opened for business.

"Madness, that's what carnival should be," Paul Anderson, director of the centre said. "Safe madness," he added quickly, since his centre will not only house and train dancers, drummers, and the geniuses who can make a 6 metre (20ft) goddess out of foam rubber and sequins, but is also training people as carnival security officers and stewards. The cost of policing the Luton carnival has risen to £68,000.

Carnival in Britain has become a multi-million pound industry, evolving from back lane amateurs, to professional teams working year round for a few raucous hours. One recent survey suggested the Notting Hill carnival generates more than £90m a year for London and the equivalent of 3,000 jobs. The centre, and the town's carnival, are predicted to generate more than £34m in Luton over the next decade. Funding for the centre came from the Arts Council, the local authority and university, and the EU. Luton has the largest one day carnival in the UK, more than 2,000 in the parade and 150,000 spectators. It grew out of the Hat Parade, a long tradition in a town once famous internationally for its hat making industry. "Hats, cars, now it's carnival", Anderson said...................

For the rest of the article click HERE.

I am pretty impressed by the Luton Carnival Centre and how focused they are on making their Carnival into a legitimate standardized business with trained professionals, I mean they are even training the SECURITY officers that will be working for Carnival!

Hopefully one day the NCBA (National Carnival Bands Association) will fullfill it's dream of having something similar in Trinidad, in the meantime they had better send a team over to Luton to see how it is being done!

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