A documentary charting the development of Derby Caribbean Carnival has been premiered in the East Midlands city. The one-hour film, entitled The Carnival, examines the event’s history as well as the struggle of its organisers to raise funds every year to keep it alive. Funded by the University of Derby, the film was produced by two of its graduates – Daniel Romero and Sean Ford.
The film features archival footage from the event stretching back to 1975 when the carnival first began. It also highlights the organisers’ efforts to engage a younger generation in managing carnival - necessary to eventually replace its founders, who include the 'Windrush generation' (who came to England from the Caribbean in the 1940s and 50s).
Derby Carnival is organised annually by the Derby West Indian Community Association (DWICA). George Mighty, chairman of the association, attended the screening. He said that he hoped the film would generate greater interest in, and sponsorship for, Derby carnival at a time when funding is drying up. He said, “I hope it will also be a vehicle to feed into our young people’s idea of cultural capital, and enable them to develop cultural competencies as we continue to leave carnival as a legacy.”
Derby Carnival began life as a one-day event at a local sports centre, where members of the Caribbean community held various activities to raise funds. In 1998, DWICA tried a new approach, staging the carnival over two days. The street procession took place on the Saturday, and a static event featuring a stage show with internationally acclaimed artists, fun fair, beer tent, sound systems, arts and craft stalls, and food stalls, selling Caribbean as well as European foods, was held at Osmaston Park on the Sunday. This proved very successful, and since then the carnival has maintained that format.
The 2012 festivities take place on 21st and 22nd July; a limited run of DVD copies of The Carnival will soon be released.