ArtsLocal Life

The Carnival Comes to Maidstone!

For the first time in many years carnival comes to Maidstone! The date for your calendar is Saturday 5th July. Carnival is famous for colour, flamboyancy and music and Maidstone is the perfect venue for such extravagance and celebration.  As the County Town of Kent, Maidstone has a lot to shout about and Carnival is certainly one way of bringing the community together and celebrating our towns many fantastic organisations and the glorious people who call Maidstone ‘home’.

In preparation, Frankie and Chris from the New Carnival Company (based on the Isle Wight) came to Beechwood Community Hall, Maidstone, on Saturday to hold a workshop for those involved so far.  This workshop gave an introduction to the style and approach to carnival costume followed by looking at a huge array of materials that are perfect for making costumes.  As with many arts projects, money is always tight and carnival is no exception so Frankie and Chris gave advice on how to source materials at their best price – or even better – for free!

Chris and Frankie from New Carnival Company said: “July 5th will be a celebration of the creativity of the many arts organisations and community groups in the town. A riot of colour, movement and fun.” and their enthusiasm was evident at the workshop. We were greeted with carnival music to get us into the spirit and enjoyed a presentation of costumes from carnivals in Brazil and Trinidad and the challenge for the workshop group was to take their new found knowledge and create a spectacular carnival costume in an hour and a half. 

In attendance were organisations representing many different parts of Maidstone who aim to take part in the carnival.  These included Maidstone Guides, MVAN, Detling Players, Maidstone Churches Together, Maidstone Mind, Friday People, St. Simon Stock Catholic School, Maidstone Town Team, St. Martin’s Church, Maidstone Stagecoach, Southborough School and Mixed Blessings.  When talking to Frankie and Chris about what people learn from taking part in carnival they said: “people learn new skills, diversity and the ability to work together for the benefit of their local community. Carnival as an art form that brings people together like no other. “

The Carnival is being produced through the Maidstone Town Team and being led by a subgroup consisting of Richard Gretton, Sue Pritchard and Diane Sergeant with funding from ‘Make Maidstone Smile’. 

We will be following the progress of Maidstone Carnival and let us know if you feel the carnival will be a big hit in Maidstone.

Unpacking at the Beechwood Community Hall     The New Carnival Company    Chris making his presentation    Frankie leads a brain stormAn example of Carnival costume from New Carnival Company