BBC at Leeds Carnival

BBC Leeds Gets Ready to Party at Leeds Carnival

The culture, costumes and colour of one of the UK’s oldest and most spectacular street festivals is being brought to life for listeners of BBC Radio Leeds from Monday 18th August when the station broadcasts a special line-up of news, features and guests in the run up to the climax of the Leeds West Indian Carnival on Monday August 25th.

Starting life in 1967 from a humble bedsit in Leeds, the carnival has grown into a spectacular annual event attracting 150,000 visitors. A glorious celebration of the city’s West Indian culture, the event attracts volunteers from across the spectrum of the community – from the 79 year old founder Arthur France to the teenagers playing in the steel bands.

Immersing the listener in the sights and sounds of Carnival, BBC Radio Leeds will broadcast a special series of packages looking at the stories behind the event. From the economic impact of the carnival to the role of the police and the colourful history of the event to the current food, music and costumes, Carnival Stories (5 x 3″) will examine the history, organisation and elements which make the Carnival such a unique occasion.

All week there will be special guests dropping into the Radio Leeds studio – including musicians, historians, costumes designers and cooks – and there will be live reports from the Carnival preparations and on the parade day itself.

The station has also teamed up with the Carnival organisers and young film-maker Jonnel Benjamin to produce a special Carnival Stories film looking at the past, present and future of Leeds West Indian Carnival. Interviewing the characters who have influenced the event from past to present day, the film will premiere at the crowning of the Carnival King and Queen at the West Yorkshire Playhouse on Friday August 22nd and will subsequently be available to view exclusively on the BBC Radio Leeds website.

"We cannot wait to bring the incredible sights, sounds and smells of the Leeds Carnival to our regular listeners," says Katrina Bunker, Deputy Editor BBC Radio Leeds. "The festival is of massive importance to the city and its communities and we’re thrilled to be involved with so many aspects of this brilliant local event."