Hackney Carnival 2017: 'Biggest ever' street bash sees 30,000 line streets between town hall and Regent's Canal
PUBLISHED: 13:52 11 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:52 11 September 2017
Some 30,000 spectators are thought to have lined the streets yesterday as performers at Hackney Carnival brought the streets to life with fabulous costumes, booming beats and on-point dance routines.
The 23 participating carnival groups set off from Queensbridge Road by the Regent’s Canal and danced their way to Mare Street and all the way back again.
At the town hall there were big cheers for local groups like Beeraahaar Sweet Combination and Gahu Dramatic Arts, and excitement as the first ever Carnival Elders bus, organised by St Joseph’s Hospice, made an appearance.
Albert Sydney Hunter, 79, who was on the bus, said: “Joining the carnival is a great help because loneliness can be a very upsetting thing. Being able to come here and join others is a great relief.”
Celebrations paused as the procession entered Mare Street, and carnival-goers observed a minute’s silence for those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire and those affected by last week’s hurricanes in the Caribbean.
The annual event is funded by Hackney Council and organised by its culture team together with local carnival groups.
Pax Nindi, creative director of the carnival, said: “It’s amazing how carnival is growing, especially with so many residents loving it and getting involved.
“The quality of the costumes, the colours are fantastic, the joy massive. The capital has another golden carnival gem blooming in east London.”
Sebastian Ross, from the Paracarnival group, added: “Carnival is our chance to go out and express ourselves and really be part of the community.”
After the procession ended, the atmosphere continued with a finale in Ridley Road that included live music and DJ sets plus a host of food stalls till 8pm. The day also saw performances from top musicians, including headline act Black Slate, drawing large crowds to a stage in Gillett Square.
Spectator Verity Woolnough said: “It’s a really nice atmosphere and you can see how diverse carnival is. It’s such a friendly vibe.”
The council’s culture chief, Cllr Guy Nicholson, thanked everyone who took part to make the carnival the biggest yet.
“A big thanks to residents who took part cheering the carnival on, helping bring the streets to life and celebrating Hackney’s diverse community,” he said.