Hackney Carnival comes home for a virtual parade of online short films

This year’s Hackney Carnival parade may be on hold due to the pressures of Covid-19, but that hasn’t stopped the borough’s loyal carnival collectives coming together to create a virtual version of the infamous festivities called Hackney Carnival At Home. 

12 local carnival groups who regularly contribute to the annual September parade, have made a collection of films which showcase the creativity and local pride Hackney Carnival is known for. The films will be hosted on the Hackney Carnival Facebook page as well as the new Love Hackney website and GlobalCarnivalz.com in early summer, meaning residents will be treated to an earlier, and longer, version of the event which traditionally takes place over one day. 

Hackney Council is funding carnival groups to deliver films which best reflect their usual activity and help bring some uplifting carnival spirit into the home. It will complement a series of online cultural activities being funded by the Council which also includes the forthcoming Windrush Generations Festival and Discover Young Hackney, as they support Hackney’s artistic community during lockdown and the challenges of social distancing. 

The first phase of Carnival At Home films will see arts and craft tutorials from Jun Mo Generation, sailor outfit designing from Soca Massive Fancy Sailors UK, and dance workouts courtesy of Tropical Isles and Dimensions Entertainment. An inside peek into how calypso and soca steel pan tunes are chosen and arranged by the melodic masters Pantonic Steel Orchestra will also be a highlight. 

Other Carnival groups taking part in the first wave of films include: Taru Arts, Blema Dancers, Soca Sagaboys, Yaram Arts, Urban Touch, Pantonic Steel Orchestra, Jamboulay Carnival Arts Promotion, Paracarnival. More carnival videos will follow in the second phase which will also spotlight work from those who host the infamous soundsystems, to be rolled out in late summer. 

A team of experienced experts were formed to deliver the ambitious project which involves the curation and delivery of a wealth of online content alongside directing multiple carnival groups. They include artist and Managing Director Marva Antoine from award-winning carnival arts organisation Tropical Isles, Chief Executive of Global Carnivalz and former Hackney Carnival Creative Director Pax Nindi FRSA, independent arts consultant and founder member and the former Artistic Director of Emergency Exit Arts Deb Mullins, and choreographer, carnival artist and producer Manuela Benini. 

Hackney Carnival At Home team 2020 – Pax Nindi, Marva Antoine, Deb Mullins and Manuela Benini said: “It’s been great to work together to give Hackney Carnival an online presence and channel the passion and talent from the Carnival groups who would usually be busy gearing up for the parade. 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.”

Films will be featured on lovehackney.uk/carnivalglobalcarnivalz.com and the Hackney Carnival Facebook Page