Great British Carnival parades into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

On Sunday 27 July Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will be transformed into a colourful free carnival to celebrate the second anniversary of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. 

Marking the midway point between the London and Rio Olympics, the Great British Carnival will create a breath-taking event of dance, infectious music, performance and costume. The Carnival will feature international carnival artistes alongside homegrown performers and local carnivals from Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest. The Carnival is free and opens at 12pm, with the finale beginning at 8.30pm. The day ends at 9.30pm.

In homage to Rio’s most famous cultural export, London and UK carnivals are keen to show off what Britain has to offer. The best of UK carnival arts will feature an exciting programme of pop-up parades, mask-making workshops, high-quality live music and superb family entertainment across three stages.

The event will also host the world premiere of The Carnival of the Animals: a magical twilight crescendo of costumed performers, 300 dancers, giant carnivalesque creatures and extraordinary illumination.

Great British Carnival-goers will witness memorable performances from:

Paraiso – authentic Brazilian samba carnival troupe with eye-catching costumes based in London
Rhythms of the City – an infectious fusion of funk, soul, Motown…and samba!
Mahogany – artists creating huge costumes, sculptures and choreographies
Shademakers – creators of ingenious but beautiful costume-puppets
The Bridgwater Squibbers – pyrotechnic performers from Britain’s oldest carnival in Bridgwater, Somerset
Mandinga Arts – outlandish costume-makers and anarchic performers

Young musicians, rappers and poets will also feature under the banner CarnivalXtra. CarnivalXtra is spear-headed by a pioneering board of London’s most exciting young change-makers, including: Lyrix Organix, AllSortz Open Mic, Bite The Ballot, A New Direction and the Mayor of London’s Peer Outreach team and Milestone Digital Youth. Together they create safe, relaxed and educational artistic and cultural engagement for all the family.

In the run-up to the event, residents of the Park’s four surrounding boroughs can participate in free music, dance and choreography workshops, learning routines with a view to joining in the pop-up parades on the big day.

As well as celebrating the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony, Great British Carnival will fill the Park with the spirit of Brazil for the day. After the excitement of the World Cup and as we look forward to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Carnival will strengthen the links between the UK and Brazil.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said:
"The Great British Carnival at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a colourful celebration of both London's Games two years on and Rio's to come. London boasts a rich and diverse tradition of carnival, examples of which will be on show at this fun, free, family-friendly event in our magnificent new public Park."  

Dennis Hone, Chief Executive, London Legacy Development Corporation, said:
“What better way to celebrate the anniversary of the London Olympic Opening Ceremony than by coming together at a magical carnival. With beautiful parades, infectious music and colourful costumes, 27 July promises to be a brilliant day. This event is just one part of our ambitious plans for arts and culture in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.”

Teresa Askew, Artistic Director of The Great British Carnival, said: “We are thrilled to be bringing the Great British Carnival to this great new performance space for London. This is the perfect place and time to be celebrating the very best of the British carnival scene and creating a magical experience for the whole family.”