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Butetown Carnival Community Picnic

We did it! On Sunday 20 September after months of planning we finally held a community celebration that was fully planned and coordinated during lockdown with our wonderful partners at Butetown Arts and Culture Association and community members interested in making and creating costumes.

Ove the last few months we’ve planned all kinds of carnival events – from a Lion King community banquet to a carnival picnic trail and parade but ever-changing Coronavirus guidelines and uncertainty have meant we've had to adapt our plans and push on regardless.

Gemma Hicks
Gemma Hicks

Costumes were crafted and short films created and posted on social media during the August Bank Holiday as the community group continued to make and create hoping that they would be able to do an event at some point in near future.

20 September was floated as a potential date and as luck would have it everything went according to plan. It even stopped raining!

Billy Ma
Billy Ma

The picnic element of this community event had to be done by invitation only and there was immense amount of planning needed to work out seating arrangements in order to keep people safe in socially distanced bubbles over three separate sittings of 30 guests.

Supported by Good Food Cardiff our chefs Geraldine and Ayaisha Griffth created a truly mouth watering Caribbean experience with salted fish, jerk chicken, rice and beans, salads,  delicious deserts and more.

Laura Bradshaw a'i merch Hannah
Laura Bradshaw a'i merch Hannah

The sun shone and we were able to showcase some incredible local talent outside the front of our iconic building.

Kicking off proceedings at 2.30pm were the fabulous Domestic Violins fronted by Butetown's very own carnival imp - Mary-Anne Roberts - who featured in one of the Butetown Carnival videos specially created for this year's digital event.

Domestic Violins
Domestic Violins and Mary-Anne Roberts

Mother and daughter combo Laura Bradshaw and her daughter Hannah did a lovely acoustic ukulele set while local Soul and Reggae sensation, Aleighcia Scott lit up the stage, with her first live gig in six months and was really happy to be back performing in front of a live audience.

Aleighcia Scott
Aleighcia Scott

There was plenty of high-octane dancing from Nimba Dance and The Successors of the Mandingue who had everyone smiling and clapping with their West African drumming and acrobatics.

Nimba Dance and The Successors of the Mandingue
Nimba Dance and The Successors of the Mandingue

The dancing continued with Hive by June Campbell Davies choreographing some amazing street dance featuring Jukebox Collective and Shakeera Ahmun. June's talented daughter, Ffion Campbell Davies also did an incredible solo piece later on in the evening.

Jukebox Collective and Shakeera Ahmun
Jukebox Collective and Shakeera Ahmun
Ffion Campbell Davies
Ffion Campbell Davies

Oasis Choir were unable to sing due to Coronavirus restrictions on performances but that didn’t stop them from dancing instead.

Oasis Choir
Oasis Choir

Winds of Change performed a dance piece from this year’s carnival and there were some familiar characters wandering around including Billy Ma, Bean Friend and the Blue Devils.

Winds of Change
Winds of Change

Local youth collective CMW Project from Oasis also performed and featured a brilliant saxophone solo.

CMW Project from Oasis
CMW Project from Oasis

Soul and R&B singer, Lucas J Rowe put a smile on everyone's faces and won over plenty of new fans with his positive vibes and energy and we're pretty sure we'll be hearing a lot more of him in the future.

Lucas J Rowe
Lucas J Rowe

Finishing off the event in the early evening sunlight was Butetown Carnival organiser, Keith Murrell and friends who put on a fantastic soul show to finish off the proceedings in style.

This year's carnival motto was: Let’s get together and feel alright and even though this event constantly changed format we’re really proud of this community-planned partnership and what we all managed to achieve during lockdown.

We’d like to thank everyone who took part and got involved in the planning group.

Also a huge thanks to our partners at Fareshare, Food Cardiff and Good Food Get Togethers who supported us with the planning throughout.