Video: Preparations begin for Leeds West Indian carnival

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The Leeds West Indian Carnival may be FIVE months away but preparations are already underway.

The 48th carnival is one of the city’s biggest outdoor events of the year.

Chantelle Grant, wearing one of the new costumes for this year's Leeds West Indian Carnival. Picture James Hardisty.

Chantelle Grant, wearing one of the new costumes for this year's Leeds West Indian Carnival. Picture James Hardisty.

And this new colourful, bright costume is being hand made for this year’s August Bank Holiday Monday event, along with exotic headdresses being created at carnival headquarters in Chapeltown.

More than 100,000 revellers are expected to attend the carnival parade, which centres around residential streets in Chapeltown and Harehills, culminating at Potternewton Park.

The first ever Leeds Carnival, and first one in Europe, was held in 1967 and was organised by Arthur France, who is still at the helm of carnival coordination today. Last year the event brought an extra £2.7m to the city.

Mr France said: “We have been working on carnival already and thanks to our volunteers are creating some amazing costumes.”

He said people travelled from around the world and Britain to attend the event including former Leeds people, who now live in the Caribbean.

Carnival founder Mr France said; “Come rain or shine, Carnival is a spectacle that never ceases to amaze both spectators and participants.

“The thrill of the costumes, the beat of the music, the delicious food and above all the happy atmosphere are what have made the Carnival such a wonderful attraction for Leeds and Yorkshire for five decades - whatever the weather.”

Carnival creators, whose headquarters are at Sheepscar Street, are already working on huge celebration plans for the 50th carnival, to be held in 2017.

The first carnival happened as a remedy for the homesickness for Arthur’s native St Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean, bringing together phenomenal costumes, rhythmic steel pan and soca music together with the arts, crafts and tasty cuisine.

More details about carnival at www.leedscarnival.co.uk.

Jamie Sharlotte.

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