By Janelle Forrester-Warner
Sunday 15 May 2011 : 4:11 GMT
Organisers of Luton International Carnival are promising that this year’s event will be one of the best ever, with a new, exciting international flavour. The UK Centre for Carnival Arts (UKCCA) is working on a major three year programme called the AMOS Project, part of the European Union Culture Programme. UKCCA spokesman Hardish Virk explained, “We’ll be joining with the Hamburg Dragon Project and Alkoholdet (one of Aalborg’s oldest carnival groups) from Aalborg in Denmark for an extravaganza parade performance on Monday, 30th May – the likes of which Luton has never seen before.”
“Each year they build a wagon-shaped float representing a unique theme, and this year they’re making their most daring creation to date: 'Space Pirates'. The Hamburg carnival group is also creating something unique for Luton – the exciting Dragon Project which features dragons on stilts, surrounded by young fire artists.” UKCCA chief executive, Paul Anderson MBE, is delighted by the collaboration. He said, “It brings a diverse range of carnival and street artists, styles and cultures to Luton, allowing artists, participants and audiences to experience carnival in all its diversity and dynamism.”
The idea took shape after the Luton Association for Mas travelled to the Aalborg Carnival last year to take part in the Battle of Carnival Bands, a major annual event that attracts thousands of visitors from across Europe. The UKCCA will also be opening its doors on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22st May, so that carnival enthusiasts may visit the St Mary’s Street site to see for themselves what carnival is all about - and the work it entails.
“We want everyone to get involved in the energy and excitement that is carnival, by welcoming them through our doors,” explained Paul. Visitors will have the opportunity to ask artists questions about the costumes, the music, the different styles of dance, as well as experience preparations for Luton’s Carnival. The weekend is aimed at families, so there will be loads of children’s activities including face painting, headdress-making, drumming and much more. Diners at the Mas Café will only enjoy cuisine from around the globe.
The public opening will take place on May 21st and 22nd from 10am to 6pm.