Revellers turn out for St Pauls Carnival in Bristol

Tens of thousands of people have once again turned out for the celebration of African Caribbean culture that is St Pauls Carnival.

The Bristol street party, held on the first Saturday of July, started in 1967.

This year's event, with the theme of Afrikan Caribbean Folklore, was expected to attract about 80,000 people, even more than the 60,000 thought to have attended last year.

And come out in force they did, with those present including children, Bristolians from all walks of life and tourists.

The excitement in the air, both from participants and bystanders, was palpitable as preparations for the main parade began on Saturday.

Crowds jostled in Portland Square for a better view of the approaching paraders in all their finery.


Blaring sound systems, vuvuzelas, live music, a fun fair and a large selection of food added to the atmosphere.

By lunchtime, shortly before the main parade, a live hip-hop performance was in full swing in Portland Square, watched by enthusiastic revellers.

The all-day line-up included Dub and Bass, Afrobeat, and reggae, along with dance and spoken word and cabaret performances.

Music blaring from the Lakota nightclub summoned those on the approach from Stokes Croft into the depths of the carnival action. The nightclub is also hosting a carnival after party.

Among those watching proceedings in Brunswick Square was Charlene Thompson, who used to live in Bristol but now lives in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

She said she had travelled to Bristol specifically for the celebrations.

"I normally come but I haven't been in two years," she said.

"I wanted my child to see it."

Julian Trott was visiting the city from Norfolk with his family.

"St Pauls Carnival wasn't the only reason but it was one of the main reasons we came this weekend," he said.

"I've been to Notting Hill Carnival before but I imagined this would be good. It's nice for the kids."

This year, organisers started a text donation system to raise money towards the nearly £250,000 it costs to stage the event, hoping 10% of those attending would donate.

Carnival committee chairwoman Rebecca Gibbs said it was hoped most of the money for the event, which receives some some funding from the Arts Council and Bristol City Council, would come in on Saturday.

As I left the fun, some ladies and a gentleman offered me and other passers-by free squash and a doughnut outside City Road Baptist Church.

The spirit of giving, on carnival day at least, appears to be very much alive.

The carnival finishes at 0200 BST on Sunday.

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