Prince And Princess Show, 19 August
Three Princes and five Princesses took part in the 2018 Prince And Princess Show. The show was held at the outdoor marquee at the West Indian Center on Sunday 19 August. Guests were entertained by poetry readings, a dance routine by young dancer Ruby Rose and live music by ‘Leeds Lives Not Knives’ and The New World Steel Orchestra. Soca DJ Godfather provided tunes for the contestants to dance to. The first place Prince prize was taken by Makai Jeremiah, The Prince of Goodwill. His costume was designed by 11-year-old Lina Mir, one of Arthur France’s granddaughters who has been designing costumes since 2015. Aria Nisbett as Aquariah Princess of The Undersea Fairies won the prize for the 2018 Carnival Princess. Her costume was designed by Malachi Blair.
Leeds West Indian Carnival Graffiti Mural, August
American graffiti artist George ‘SEN-One’ Morillo teamed up with two Leeds street artists, ‘Hyro’ and ‘King Monk’, to create a graffiti mural in Potternewton Park for the 2018 Leeds West Indian Carnival. The project took two days to complete. SEN-One spoke to the Yorkshire Evening Post on 21 August saying “We all did stuff that was outside of our safe zones – it’s not just straight graffiti, but contemporary art”. SEN-One also reported that local youths helped with the mural saying “There was a real buzz down in the park, the kids would come down and want to have a go with the cans”. SEN-One gave a talk at the Outlaws Yacht Club as part of a fundraiser for the youth music charity MAP on 22 August.
King And Queen Show, 24 August
Due to refurbishments taking place at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2018’s King And Queen Show was held at the New Dock Hall, opposite the Royal Armories in Leeds. The event was held on Friday 24 August from 7:30pm and was due to finish at 10:30pm but ran over until 11pm. Guests, who paid £15 for a ticket, were entertained by an almost all-female version of The New World Steel Orchestra who played two numbers before the main show began. After a special dance performance by RJC Dance’s adult group, the 2018 Carnival Prince and Princess entered the stage to perform in their costumes. Arthur France was next invited on to the stage to give a speech which was followed by the King contestants. The five judges judged the costumes on quality, creativity, craftsmanship, theme and portrayal of the theme, and impact.
Six Kings competed in this year’s contest including the RJC Dance Carnival King Qumar Frederick who was wearing the costume ‘Rhythm Warrior’ which was designed and made by Rhian Kempadoo Millar, Tracey Pinder, Shamce Hussan, Marina Poppa & Creative Seed. RJC Dance were celebrating their 25th anniversary and Qumar Frederick was their first ever Carnival King. Omari Swanson Jeffers wore a costume titled ‘Legacy’ which was designed and made by Tashi Brown of Team Creative. Part of the costume had been left behind resulting in some last-minute body painting onto Omari’s torso to replace the missing piece. Sephbon Condor took the first prize in the costume ‘King Beast’ designed by the High Esteem team.
After all six Kings had been on stage, guests were treated to a special preview of the dance piece Dancival created by De-Napoli Clarke.
Six different Queens took part in the 2018 show. Among them was first-time Queen Elaine York in a costume titled ‘Lines of Communication’ designed and made by Jason King of Derby West Indian Carnival Association. Elaine, who was in her 50s, had won the Derby Carnival Queen contest in July. Maya Rey performed in the costume ‘Lozen Warrior Queen’ designed by Lorina Gumbs and The AnonyMas Team. The costume included a cloud that lit up and changed colour. Pareesha Valentina’s costume was titled ‘Unity In Diversity’ and was designed and made by Valentina’s Collective. Singer Lara Rose represented the AAA Team in her costume ‘Winnie Mandela, Mother of the Nation’ designed and made by Arthur France. Arthur France also designed the King costume ‘Nelson Mandela, Father of the Nation’. Holly Southwell from Leicester took the first prize in a costume titled Brazilian Fantasy de Sao Paulo. Her costume was designed and made by Lincoln and Athan Da Silva. Holly Southwell celebrated her third win of the 2018 Carnival season. She had won the Queen contest in Leicester and Nottingham before competing at Leeds.
After an interval, the second half of the show began with a performance by H.U.M Gospel Choir. The choir was followed by stand-up comedian Cain Green and Calypso music from last year’s Soca Monarch Lady Sonia. Before the results were announced, guests were entertained by Calypsonian Sylvester ‘Socrates’ Hodge.
2018 Kings And Queens
· Sephbon Condor in a costume titled ‘King Beast’ designed and made by Sephbon Condor and The High Esteem Team (1st Place)
· Solomon Hunter in a costume titled ‘God of Fire’ designed and made by Solomon Hunter and Inspire Yourself (2nd Place)
· Michael Herbert is a costume titled ‘Nelson Mandela, Father of the Nation’ designed and made by Arthur France
· Omari Swanson Jeffers in a costume titled ‘Legacy’ designed and made by Tashi Brown
· Stanley Carey in a costume titled ‘Ancestral King’
· Qumar Frederick in a costume titled ‘Rhythm Warrior’ designed and made by Rhian Kempadoo-Millar and the RJC Dance team
· Holly Southwell in a costume titled ‘Brazilian Fantasy de Sao Paulo’ designed and made by Lincoln and Athan Da Silva (1st Place)
· Pareesha Valentina in a costume titled ‘Unity In Diversity’ designed and made by Valentina Carnival Arts (2nd Place)
· Lara Rose in a costume titled ‘Winnie Mandela, Mother of The Nation’ designed and made by Arthur France
· Maya Olivia Rey in a costume titled ‘Lozen Warrior Queen’ designed and made by Lorina Gumbs and the AnonyMas Team
· Chancelynne Mabowala in a costume titled ‘Reigne De La Tablas’ designed and made by Charis Betts
· Elaine York in a costume titled ‘Lines of Communication’ designed and made by Jason King of Derby West Indian Carnival Association
Soca Monarch Show, 26 August
The 2018 Soca Monarch Show was held at the West Indian Centre on Sunday 26 August. The Soca Monarch Show took place after the Black Music Festival that had taken place in near-by Potternewton Park during the day. The free concert, headlined by Anthony B, saw poor attendance due to heavy rain throughout the day. The Soca Monarch Show included performances by Soca B and Lord Silkie among others.
J’ouvert Morning, 27 August
Leeds West Indian Carnival began at 6am on Monday 27 August with the traditional J’ouvert Morning parade and pyjama jammin’. Early morning revellers began gathering outside the West Indian Centre in time for the 6am start with more people joining in along the way. Led by Soca DJ Godfather’s truck, the parade which was made up of people in homemade costumes and nightwear, took a short route that included Chapeltown Road, Harehills Avenue and Spencer Place before returning to the West Indian Centre in time for breakfast.
Leeds West Indian Carnival, 27 August
The rain held off for the 51st Leeds West Indian Carnival parade which took place on Monday 27 August. Local people and businesses began preparing for the big day as early as Friday. Streets and gardens were cleaned, grass was cut and bushes and hedges were trimmed, and stalls and stages were erected along Chapeltown Road and Harehills Avenue and barriers were placed along the carnival route. Dance steps were rehearsed and finishing touches were added to costumes as late as Monday morning. A stage was erected at The Carnival Village on Chapeltown Road and among the entertainment on the day was Foxwood Steel Band.
The carnival began at Potternewton Park at 2pm when the event was officially opened by Deputy Lieutenant Stanley Mcllheron, who was representing the Queen by Royal appointment. The Deputy Lieutenant had also been present at the King and Queen show on 24 August.
The parade, which was made up of 18 troupes, left the park late at around 2.45pm. The Yorkshire Evening Post later reported that the parade had been delayed due to a car parked on Harehills Avenue. The car had to be towed away before the parade could take place. The parade was led by the New World Steel Orchestra which used the same line-up they had used at the Queen Show. Among their members was Brenda ‘Soca B’ Farara. Following them was the High Esteem troupe from Leeds who were led by 2018’s winning King Sephbon Condor. Among the other troupes on the road in 2018 were the Culture Roots Carnival troupe from Derby, the Pure Elegance Carnival troupe from Huddersfield and the Rampage Mas CIC troupe from Luton who were celebrating 31 years on the road. RJC from Leeds were celebrating 25 years on the road with their troupe ‘Dance Warrior’. The Harrison Bundey Mama Dread troupe, also from Leeds, was celebrating 20 years on the road. Their 2018 troupe was titled ‘Windrush Bacchanal’. Other Leeds troupes on the road in 2018 included the AAA Team, Team Creative and AnonyMas whose members included Khadijah Ibraham. Another Leeds troupe was Valentina’s Collective. Their troupe, which was made up of 36 members, was titled ‘Unity in Diversity’ and was led by Pareesha Valentina in a Queen costume of the same name.
The carnival parade took the usual route, returning to Potternewton Park around 5pm. After the parade, the winners of the Biggest Troupe, Best Adult Troupe, Best Youth Troupe and Best Visiting Troupe were announced on the stage. It was the first time a Best Youth Troupe had been chosen.
People who wanted a more relaxed vibe at 2018’s carnival could find it at Soca Village’s ‘World Music Stage’ event. Soca Village was open from 12pm to provided “an afternoon to sit, relax and sip on a rum-punch or two”. Soca Village provided carnival vibes without all the hustle and bustle of Potternewton Park and the carnival route. Caribbean lunch with rum punch or beer was served at 1pm and live acts performed on the stage. The theme for the afternoon was world music which included African Salsa, Soca, Reggae and Kizomba.
Despite violence and arrests at other UK Carnivals held in 2018, including a record-breaking 450 arrests made at Notting Hill Carnival, Leeds West Indian Carnival was again a carnival of peace with no violence and zero arrests made.
Club Events, 24 – 27 August
A number of carnival themed club nights were held around Leeds during the August Bank Holiday weekend. The first of these took place on Friday night (24 August). Soca Village in Chapeltown held a ‘Island Vibes’ night which featured international Soca act Exodus HD from Anguilla. Among the supporting acts were local DJs Godfather, Daddy Rico and resident Soca Village DJ, DJ Sensation. On the same night, Kudeta VIP Lounge in Leeds held a ‘King of Carnival’ night which was billed as a pre-carnival event. On 25 August Soca Village held a ‘Back to Basics’ night which featured national and international acts. The headlining act was Street Vybez from St. Kitts. The ‘Leeds Carnival Official After-Party’ was held on 26 August, the night before the carnival parade. Held at the West Indian Centre, the night included music by DJ Trini, DJ Laundry, DJ Vybez, DJ Toro, Street Vybez and Hypa Crew. The event lasted until 6am the following morning so that revellers could take part in J’ouvert Morning which began outside the West Indian Centre. A ‘Leeds Carnival After Party’ was held at Rum & Reason in the city centre on the night of 27 August. Music was provided by six DJs on rotation from 10.30pm until 4am.
Leeds West Indian Carnival 50 Highlights Video, 7 September
A two-minute and 45 second video showing highlights from 2017’s Leeds West Indian Carnival made by Opal Video was uploaded onto the carnival Youtube channel, Facebook page and website on 7 September 2018. The video showed clips of the carnival launch, Pop Up Carnival, the ‘I’m Carnival Happy’ photo shoots, the Reveal show, the exhibition at the Tetley, the Carnival Chronicles play, the King and Queen show, troupes in Potternewton park and the carnival parade and Leeds Light Night as well as clips from the 2018 Pop Up Carnival in Masham.
Team Creative at Samba For Charity, 23 September
Members of the Team Creative troupe took part in the Samba For Charity event on 23 September. The charity event took place at Freedom Mills on Washington Street in Leeds between 3 – 9pm. Tickets were priced at £8 and as well as performances by Team Creative, the entertainment included music by DJ Fabio Bahia, Tempo Feliz Band and Leeds Samba Drummers and Dancers.
Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, 18 – 25 September
The annual Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival took place in Port of Spain in Trinidad between 18 – 25 September. At the festival, the film and documentary Carnival Messiah won the People’s Choice Award for a narrative feature film.
Leeds West Indian Carnival YouTube Channel, 28 September
Another group of videos were uploaded onto the Leeds West Indian Carnival YouTube Channel on 28 September. These were seven clips of the 2017 play Carnival Chronicles. The clips, filmed by Opal Video at the Mandela Centre in October 2017, ranged from 54 seconds to over four minutes. The clips were included on the ‘Carnival Chronicles’ page of the Leeds Carnival’s website which also gave a detailed description of the play.
Carnival Messiah, film and documentary at Seven Arts, 30 September
The film version of Carnival Messiah along with the short documentary on Carnival Messiah was shown at Seven Arts on Harrogate Road in Leeds on Sunday 30 September. The performance of Carnival Messiah shown in the film was filmed at Harewood House in 2007 and the documentary was made in 2017. The screening began at 2pm and ended at 4.30pm. The screening was part of the World On Our Doorstep Festival and tickets were priced at £6.
Award Presentations, 7 & 20 October
Leeds West Indian Carnival held two award presentations in October. The first, the children’s presentation was held at the West Indian Centre on Sunday 7 October between 3 – 7pm. A trophy presentation was followed by a party with food, music, crafts and games. Each Prince and Princess contestant was awarded with a trophy after which the children were surprised with a foam party.
The adult’s award presentation was held at the West Indian Centre on Friday 20 October from 7pm. Guests enjoyed food provided by Maureen’s and music including a live performance of Amazing Grace. After everyone had eaten, awards were presented on the stage. Sephbon Condor gave a short speech during which he spoke about the difficulties of the year and his love for the carnival community. “For a lot of people this year, it’s been personally challenging for us. People have had loses of family and friends. People have gone through illnesses. And to see the amount of love in the Queen show makes me feel proud to be a part of this room and everyone in it” Sephbon said. After the presentation, historian Joe Williams gave a talk about carnival traditions and carnival’s African and European roots. Joe Williams’ talk was followed by a performance of the traditional Christmas sport David and Goliath. The evening ended with music and dancing.
Arthur France performing in David and Goliath (Photo: Danny Friar)
· Carnival Queen – Holly Southwell
· Carnival King – Sephbon Condor
· Carnival Princess – Aria Nisbett
· Carnival Prince – Makai Jeremiah
· Biggest Troupe – AnonyMas
· Best Adult Troupe – Team Creative
· Best Youth Troupe – RJC Dance
· Best Visiting Troupe – Cultural Roots Carnival Troupe from Derby
· Best Individual – Khadija Ibrahiim
Moving Here Exhibition, 12 October – 31 December
The Moving Here Exhibition was held at the Leeds Museum from 12 October. The exhibition celebrated the Windrush Generation in Leeds. The exhibition was made up of photographs collated by Khadijah Ibrahiim and included photographs of Leeds West Indian Carnival courtesy of the Annette Liburd archive. The exhibition also included photographs of Leeds sound systems and the Paradise Steel Band. The free exhibition ran until the end of the year.
The museum also displayed two art pieces by Lara Rose. ‘Windrush Treasure Chest (2018)’ used found materials and mixed media assemblage that included carnival costumes and a Soca Village string bag. ‘Eyo Carnival Messiah (2018)’ used mixed media assemblage that included a carnival costume made by Arthur France.
Carnival Costumes Exhibition, 13 – 27 October
During the second half of October, St. Martin’s Church in Potternewton, Leeds held a special carnival costume exhibition within the church. Nine different costumes by Hughbon Condor and the High Esteem team were displayed at the exhibition along with photographs and press cuttings covering Hughbon Condor’s entire career. Among the costumes were 2003’s Pink Butterfly, 2012’s Salute, 2016’s Tiger At Play, and 2018’s King Beast. The free exhibition was opened by Councillor Sharon Hamilton on Saturday 13 October. During the special event, Hughbon, Sephbon and Andre Condor gave a talk about costume making and the history of High Esteem. Guests were entertained by steel pan music played by musician and ex-Wilberforce Steel Band member Cedric.
The exhibition was open for a limited time and the opening times were as follows:
Wednesday 9 – 11am and then 7-9pm
Saturday 4 – 6pm
The church invited local residents who had been involved in Leeds West Indian Carnival in the past to attend a special Carnival Reminiscence Workshop held on Saturday 27 October. A costume from the 2017 “Age Is No Barrier” troupe was displayed at the church for the workshop. The workshop was an opportunity for people to share their carnival stories and reunite with old friends. Some of the memories were later shared on the church’s website.
The church also held a Caribbean Songs of Praise on Sunday 14 October led by Revd Jane from 2.30pm.
Team Creative After Party at Rum & Reason, 19 October
Leeds troupe Team Creative held their carnival after party at Rum & Reason on New Briggate, Leeds on 19 October. The party was held from 10pm and tickets were priced at £5. Guests received a complimentary welcome drink and were offered a chance to join the 2019 troupe with a discounted ‘early bird’ price . Music was provided by DJ Krome late into the night
The Melanin Family Fun Day, 27 October
A family fun day was held at the Leeds Industrial Museum in Armley on 27 October. Among the many events taking place during the day was workshops and dance routines organised by the Anoymas troupe from Leeds. Carnival costumes by Anoymas were also on display at the museum. The free event took place between 10am and 4pm and was part of the Melanin Fest.
Roots, Respect And Still Rising Exhibition, 2 November
2018 marked the 25th anniversary of RJC Dance. Founded in 1993, RJC’s first carnival troupe, Fire Warriors, took to the road in 1998. To celebrate the landmark year, a special one-day-only exhibition was held at the RJC Dance Studio in the Mandela Centre on Chapeltown Road. The exhibition had originally been planned to take place in October. Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post in August, dance director Kathy Williams said “It’s amazing how time has just flown by and what’s more amazing is we’ve got generations of families coming through the youth development programme”.
The exhibition, Roots, Respect And Still Rising, took place on the night of Friday 2 November between 6.30pm – 8.30pm. Guests enjoyed refreshments before the exhibition was opened by Councillor Jane Dowson. The exhibition focused on RJC’s contribution to Leeds West Indian Carnival. On display at the exhibition were photographs, artwork of costume designs, books and several carnival costumes including several headdresses from 2018. Displays around the exhibition gave a detailed history of RJC’s Carnival troupes since 1998. A large screen showed video footage of the RJC troupe. Past trophies and photographs from 2018’s carnival parade were on display in a separate room. Guests to the exhibition were invited to leave comments and give feedback on the exhibition.
We Ah All Migrants Private Screenings, 19 November + 14 December
The short documentary film ‘We Ah All Migrants’ about David Oluwale and the Harrison Bundey Mama Dread troupe was given a private screening at the Leeds Beckett University building in Millennium Square in Leeds on Monday 19 November. The invited-only screening began at 2pm and the 20 minute long film was followed by a discussion on the film. During the discussion, the idea of a second larger private screening was put forward. A second screening of the film took place at the Inkwell on Potternewton Lane during the Harrison Bundey Mama Dread Christmas party. Guests enjoyed drinks and food before the film was shown at 5.30pm. The film was shown again at 6.15pm.
Compassionate City Awards, 22 November
RJC Dance were awarded the Cultural Project of the Year award at the second Compassionate City Awards. The award was collected by Kathy Williams and RJC Dance Youth Ambassador Kori Morton at the Leeds Civic Hall on Thursday 22 November. The award, which was sponsored by Leeds 2023, was presented by the Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Graham Latty and Cllr Pat Latty.
Celebration of Cultures Evening, 29 November
A Celebration of Cultures Evening was held at Ralph Thoresby School in Holt Park in Leeds on 29 November. During the evening, carnival headdresses and a carnival prince costume were displayed at the school. Other items, including a carnival 50th tote bag and programme were also displayed. Among the guests at the evening was Theresa Spellman who had attended the first Leeds West Indian Carnival in 1967 and had attended almost every one since then. She shared some of her memories with representatives from the carnival who were also present at the event.
Business of Carnival, 6-8 December + A Winter Warmer Artist Showcase, 12-15 December
A development programme for carnival artists titled ‘The Business of Carnival’ was held at the Tetley in Leeds between 6-12 December. Run by Represent North founders Susan Pitter and Dawn Cameron, the programme was aimed at Yorkshire based Caribbean Carnival artists and artists from related disciplines e.g. dance, music, producing and writing. The programme fee was £50 and included two sessions at the Tetley. The first, the Funder Panel session, was held on Thursday 6 December from 6pm and the second session, Making the Most of Social Media, was held on Saturday 8 December from 10am to 3pm. A Winter Warmer Artist Showcase and Networking Event was held at Union 105 on Chapeltown Road on Wednesday 12 December from 6 – 8pm. Carnival costumes, headdresses, jewellery and photographs were displayed at the Artist Showcase event. The event ran at Union 105 until 15 December. A new website, http://www.representnorth.com, showcasing carnival artists was launched on 11 December. Artists and groups featured on the website are:
· Anonymas Carnival Band
· Christella Litras (Musician)
· Ella Mesma (Dancer & Choreographer)
· Esta Suma (Broadcast journalist and presenter)
· Ferm & Ready Mas Costume troupe
· Glennis Fleming – Gem aFrique (Costume accessory and jewellery designer)
· Hughbon Condor (Costume designer)
· Melachi Blair (Costumes & bespoke accessories)
· Miriam Wilkes (Arts & events project manager)
· Pareesha (Valentina) Webster (Choreographer & Costume designer)
· Renata Gordon (Costume consultant)
· Sheila Howarth (Costume designer)
· Tashi Brown (Make up and costume artist)
· Zodwa Nyoni (Playwright and poet)
The Christmas Carnival, 16 December
On Sunday 16 December, St. Martin’s Church in Leeds held a performance of ‘The Christmas Carnival’ as part of the parish Eucharist. Using music drama and bright and colourful carnival costumes, the children and adults of the Sunday Club brought to life the Nativity story.