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Manchester Caribbean Carnival 2022: how cultural celebration in Alexandra Park is marking 50 years & what’s on

One of the biggest events in the city’s cultural calendar is back with tens of thousands of people expected to attend the celebration.

Manchester Caribbean Carnival is always a highlight of the city’s annual cultural calendar and this year will be no exception as the event celebrates its 50th anniversary.

Tens of thousands of people are expected to descend on Alexandra Park for two days celebrating African and Caribbean communities, heritage, culture and music.

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As well as celebrating the 50-year journey from a small event put on by Caribbean communities in Moss Side to the enormous extravaganza that now takes place, the 2022 edition will also mark the return of the full Carnival experience, including the parade, following a short hiatus due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Here’s everything you need to know about the Manchester Caribbean Carnival 2022.

When and where is the Manchester Caribbean Carnival 2022 and what’s on there?

Manchester Caribbean Carnival 2022 will take place in Alexandra Park on 13 and 14 August with a packed line-up of performances, events and activities, all of which will be free to attend.

The event will kick off at 7am on 13 August with J’ouvert, a traditional beginning to Carnival festivities in which revellers cover their bodies in paint, powders, mud and oil.

The spectacular parade will then take place at midday on 13 August, with Alexandra Park hosting the Carnival from 12pm to 8pm both days.

The green space will be converted into a paradise of bright colours, family fun, live performances and food for the two days of the Carnival. Those attending can expect everything from live dance shows and pulsating musical performances as well as a range of Caribbean cuisines and and colourful clothes stores to browse.

Manchester Caribbean Carnival takes place over two days in Alexandra Park

Jamaican dancehall star Serani, who is best known for his hit No Games from his 2009 album of the same name, has also been booked for the headlining slot.

As well as celebrating half a century of Carnival in Manchester, this year’s event will also be a double anniversary as it will mark 60 years since Jamaica became independent. Unity will be the main theme of the festivities.

In addition the Carnival returns to its full glory this year after the Covid-19 pandemic and its restrictions on large public gatherings, with the organisers only being able to put on a comparatively small event in the park last year.

The event celebrates the rich African and Caribbean heritage of Moss Side and brings communities in Manchester together for a unique Carnival experience.

What is the history of Manchester Caribbean Carnival?

The Manchester Carnival started as an impromptu parade set up by locals, most of whom were originally from Trinidad and St Kitts and Nevis.

Since those humble beginnings in the early 1970s the event has grown considerably, with generations of communities from countries across the Caribbean have brought people together to celebrate culture, heritage, music and solidarity.

Initially the Carnival involved a small number of participants and a few trucks. Now, tens of thousands of people turn up to enjoy music, the mas bands which create and provide the amazing costumes worn by participants in the parade, dance troupes and more.

What has been said about Manchester Caribbean Carnival 2022?

Julia Burke, chair and project manager for the Manchester Carnival Together Committee (CIC), said: “We’re really excited to be able to bring our first full-scale Carnival event as a committee back to the heart of the Afro-Caribbean community of Manchester in August this year.

“We’re looking forward to the return of the parade and want to encourage as many people as possible to take part.

”The parade will be an array of music, colour, dance and heritage in tribute to the years of carnival history and all are welcome to join the procession that will begin its journey from the park.”

The Manchester Caribbean Carnival 2022 is celebrating half a century of putting on festivities this year

Coun John Hacking, executive member for skills, employment and leisure at Manchester City Council, said: “I’m thrilled to be welcoming back the Caribbean Carnival to our streets for the 50th year! The Caribbean Carnival is a brilliant celebration of the diversity of Manchester and Manchester’s Afro-Caribbean community.

“This year’s celebrations will be bigger and better than ever so I’d encourage everyone in the city to join us in celebrating the momentous 50th anniversary of the carnival.”