Luton is home to the UK Centre for Carnival Arts, created and started 46 years ago, 1976 was the year of Luton’s first carnival. As part of Victorian Fayre, which held a procession to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Luton becoming a Borough. It was in 1998 when the carnival reached international status, building its reputation as a carnival town and becoming the UK’s largest one-day carnival.
Communities from all corners of Luton are seen marching through the streets of Luton for this magnificent one-day festival. Brining a sense of fun and heritage together for a day of art, music, dance, food and friendship. The Carnival is back this June after a two-year hiatus, in line with celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee over the June bank holiday weekend.
The essentials to a fabulous carnival;
A decorated platform, on either a vehicle like truck or towed behind one. Parade floats were introduced in the Middle Ages when churches used pageant wagons as movable scenery for passion plays.
The Samba no pe or Foot Samba is the customary form of samba danced in Rio Carnival. Usually done unaccompanied and begins immediately when the samba music starts, the dancer keeps his or her body straight while taking turns bending each knee. Little foot movement, whilst the body moves in a 2/4 rhythm, dancing three steps at a time. Speed of the movements change with the tempo of the music, with some Samba dance being very fast, while other dances move at a standard pace.
Some costumes or masquerades depict animals, birds, insects, sea creatures or characters from myths and folklore. Some represent kings, celebrities, cultural heroes, historical figures, clowns and other characters. Cross-dressing and masquerades with grotesque features are highly popular, loud music calypso in the Caribbean and samba in Brazil adds to the frenzy, allowing performers and spectators to release emotion.
Calypso is a popular type of Afro-Caribbean music set to catchy beats, often with a strong message, moral tale or a form of social or political commentary.
Soca derives from Soul and Calypso, a type of music that was made to be danced to, with up tempo beats infused with soul.
A popular type of music in the southern Caribbean islands, a fusion between soca and Indian music with lyrics that can have broken up English and Hindi music.
A Trinidadian music ensemble primarily composed of steel idiophones, called pans or steel pans. Made from the bottoms of 55-gallon oil barrels, the barrel bottoms are hammered inward with different areas shaped to yield distinct pitches.
Luton’s carnival is coming back for the first time in two years this June 4th, to find out more information and how to get involved, click here.