Ready to party? Carnival T20’s set to be a blast 

Bristolians can get a sneak preview of the St Paul’s Carnival – at a series of Carnival Fringe events starting this month.

The highlight is a carnival-themed cricket match, when performers and musicians will take a break from months of rehearsals to strut their stuff at the home of Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

Other events include a film programme, living history talks at a ‘human library’, and a celebration of youth work in the city.

Carnival executive director LaToyah McAllister-Jones said the events would reflect the 2023 carnival theme Learning from Legends.

“Paying homage and learning from the legends that have come before us is at the heart this year’s activities.

“The team is excited to deliver these impactful events to the Bristol and wider communities offering the taste and flavour of carnival in the run up to the truly missed full scale carnival event”.

The Fringe starts on Saturday 17th June with the T20 Carnival Clash which promises to bring a Caribbean flavour to the Gloucestershire v Kent Spitfires Vitality Blast fixture at the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol.

The fundraising evening will feature pre-match performances from carnival artists including traditional steel pan and a procession troupe. 

Music will be provided by carnival DJs blasting Reggae, Soca and Calypso sounds. Food stalls will also offer flavours from the Caribbean.

Match organisers are bringing together cricketing legend and current Gloucestershire President, Syd Lawrence, with St Pauls Carnival chair, Levi Roots, of Reggae Reggae sauce fame. 

Levi said he was excited to attend. “Carnival, the Caribbean and cricket have a special relationship and we can’t wait to bring our blend of music, food and culture to this unique T20 which will definitely be one to remember.

“We’re busy preparing for our main carnival day on 1st July and this event will provide some of our artists the chance to showcase their performances and of course help us raise funds so we can keep delivering carnival for years to come.”

Syd Lawrence said he hoped Gloucestershire Cricket and St Pauls Carnival could create an event to remember. 

“This will be an incredible occasion; cricket has a long and colourful history in Caribbean culture and this is a fantastic chance for us to bring the vibrancy of St Pauls Carnival to T20 cricket.”

On 21st June from 5.30pm to 9pm, you can visit Legends of Windrush: Human Library.

Organisers say it will embrace the Learning from Legends theme by recognising trailblazers from the Caribbean community who have impacted the lives of many, city-wide and beyond.

The library event will feature local guest speakers, giving first-hand Windrush stories that helped shape the culture of St Pauls Carnival.

On 27th June from 6pm to 10pm Trinity Centre will present Inna Wi Carnival Cinema – a film programme relating to Carnival’s broader work. 

It will feature a series of four short films from talented black & brown local creatives, including: Home Carnival Queen, HATS, Celebrate What? and the St Pauls Carnival. 

The event will be presented in collaboration with Cables & Cameras, a hub for people of colour filmmakers in Bristol.

Carnival organisers say other Fringe events will be announced in the lead up to the carnival itself on July 1st.  

They include a collaboration with Bristol-based social enterprise Babbasa, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary supporting under-represented young people with skills training, mentoring and recruitment events.

The carnival team has also partnered with Active Archives and Afrikan As Future to deliver two other events in June.

More detail about Fringe events is available on the Carnival website:

Tickets for the T20 Carnival Clash cricket match are on sale. Gates open 5pm, start 7pm.