Countdown begins for ‘spectacular’ Leeds Carnival

Scenes from last year's Leeds West Indian Carnival.
Scenes from last year's Leeds West Indian Carnival.
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Last year’s Leeds West Indian Carnival generated £3.7 million for the city’s economy, an increase of £1 million from 2014, organisers have revealed.

The figures were released with 50 days to go until this year’s event, where some 100,000 visitors are expected to descend on Potternewton Park for the annual procession on August Bank Holiday Monday.

The annual event, which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year, is said to be the first of its kind in Europe to feature all three essential Caribbean Carnival elements of masquerade, music and a parade.

Carnival founder and chairman Arthur France, who set it up in 1967 as a remedy for Caribbean homesickness, said, “Putting on an amazing celebration of 50 years of Leeds West Indian Carnival in 2017 can only strengthen the city’s bid to be European Capital of Culture 2023.

“We have to get it right so we’re inviting everyone to join us at Carnival this year for a spectacular practice run.”

A survey by Leeds City Council estimates that despite bad weather, spectators at last year’s carnival parade boosted the Leeds economy by £3.7 million, a £1 million increase on the 2014 total. Around £2.7 million was spent by visitors to the city.

Mr France said: “When visitors come to Leeds Carnival from across the region, the UK and overseas, they don’t just take in a great day out, a glittering parade and a phenomenal atmosphere. Visitors spend money at the stalls, on transport, on food, on accommodation and more. That’s not only good for Carnival – it’s great for Leeds.”

Leeds city council leader Judith Blake said: “As the longest running event of its kind in Europe, the Carnival continues to be a landmark occasion that makes a significant contribution to the local economy, boosts the city’s cultural offering but most importantly helps to foster a sense of community spirit and civic pride year after year.”

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