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Carnival says "Let's Party" for 21st birthday

4 Jun 2015
Beat Carnival is celebrating its 21st anniversary on Saturday June 20, with an invitation to all of the people of the city to “Let’s Party”.

Supported by Belfast City Council, Beat’s annual carnival parade – featuring more than 700 performers, with ten carnival bands, 100 Urban Ballet dancers, the Belfast Guitar Orchestra and Belfast Community Circus School – will leave Custom House Square at 12 noon, parading through the city centre and returning to Custom House Square for carnival bands performances.

In the week leading up to the main parade, Beat Carnival’s free festival programme will offer free carnival arts workshops. Visit www.beatcarnival.com for more information.

Beat Carnival is Northern Ireland’s carnival arts company, based in Belfast, encouraging the city to think big about celebrating creative and community life in ways that are ambitious, ‘made in Belfast’ and welcoming to all. Over the past 21 years, Beat has produced spectacular carnival arts in ways that are relevant and culturally inclusive, increasing art access, participation and skills through 14,500 arts workshops and attracting more than 65,000 parade participants and five million audiences in events around the country.

Beat Carnival’s work is made possible with support from principle funders Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Council. The “Let’s Party” Parade is also jointly supported by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Belfast City Council, through the Community Festivals Fund. Department of Social Development has also supported the event.

David Boyd, Beat’s Founder-Director, says:

“I am hugely proud of the artists and participants who have been part of making Carnival here over 21 years. Some of this year’s team have been working with Beat since year one; many have taken their skills and enthusiasm to create exciting work elsewhere; most importantly, others are joining now who weren’t born when Carnival danced its first steps in Belfast.

“In 2015, times for arts organisations are hard, with a financial climate that is severe and worsening. Carnival was created in Belfast as a counterblast to bleakness. We have never charged participants or audience for any of our events or weekly activities. We encourage celebration and we depend on goodwill. On Beat’s 21st anniversary we invite you to bring festive goodwill and join the carnival party. HAPPY CARNIVAL!”

Fionnuala Walsh, Head of Participatory Arts at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added:

“In a time of cuts and austerity, the Beat Carnival’s June parade will help inject some of that feel-good factor back into Belfast. Founded on the belief that the arts really are for everyone, this all inclusive, free family event will bring communities together for a truly spectacular performance.”
The 21st Beat Carnival takes place on Saturday June 20