Coronavirus: Hackney Carnival creates online programme to replace 2020 event

Performers in Hackney Carnival 2019. Picture: Harris Shoots

Performers in Hackney Carnival 2019. Picture: Harris Shoots - Credit: Harris Shoots

Organisers of the Hackney Carnival parade have reimagined the event into a virtual festival while the UK is in coronavirus lockdown.

Twelve groups who regularly contribute to the September parade have pulled together a collection of films to showcase their offering as part of the digital Hackney Carnival At Home event.

It will start with arts and craft tutorials from Jun Mo Generation, sailor outfit designing from Soca Massive Fancy Sailors UK and dance workouts from Tropical Isles and Dimensions Entertainment.

There will also be videos from the Pantonic Steel Orchestra, Taru Arts, Blema Dancers, Soca Sagaboys, Yaram Arts, Urban Touch, Jamboulay Carnival Arts Promotion and Paracarnival.

A second phase, to be rolled out this summer, will also spotlight work from those who host the sound systems.

A spokesperson from the Hackney Carnival At Home team 2020 said: “Through Hackney Carnival At Home, we can showcase our carnival groups’ eclectic skills for a more intimate, accessible and behind the scenes insight into the work that goes into delivering the carnival experience.

“The online offering also means that for the first time, people from anywhere in the world can access a taste of the Hackney Carnival experience and it will provide an exciting look ahead to 2021 when we hope to be together again.”

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The organising team includes Global Carnivalz chief executive and former Hackney Carnival creative director, Pax Nindi; managing director of Tropical Isles, Marva Antoine; former artistic director of Emergency Exit Arts, Deb Mullins; and choreographer, carnival artist and producer Manuela Benini.

Hackney Council is funding the project, to go alongside the authority’s online cultural activities programme which includes the Windrush Generations Festival and Discover Young Hackney.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Hackney’s cabinet member for planning, culture and inclusive economy, said: “The Hackney Carnival is one of the borough’s biggest and most anticipated events in our community’s cultural calendar, but this year in these exceptional times, we have had to postpone the parade in its traditional form.

“Despite this, it’s been great to see so many of our carnival groups respond to the challenge and bring us the carnival spirit online.”

The films will be available from early summer on the Hackney Carnival Facebook page, the Love Hackney website and