Bath Carnival launched its creative workshops in the community last week, with drumming and dance sessions for service users of Action on Hearing Loss and Wheels For All.

Jackson Lapes, from Bristol Maractu band Afon Sistema, led the first drumming session, he said: “We couldn’t have wished for a better start to our workshop programme, with the service users really throwing themselves into the drumming and dance sessions. There’s some very exciting creative collaborations being planned for the procession this year so we’re excited to finally get to work.”

With over 60 sessions planned in costume making, music, dance and theatre this year’s workshop programme is the largest ever, with schools, community groups, charities and the public engaging in carnival arts throughout the three months leading up to Bath Carnival in July.

Charities set to benefit from this year’s outreach programme include Julian House, Genesis Trust and Mentoring Plus, while a record number of schools have signed up, with each group creating costumes in one of three styles of carnival – Rio, Trinidad and New Orleans Mardi Gras.

As well as designing and creating their own section costumes, students are being taught a combination of traditional and contemporary dance choreographies by Bath Carnival’s dance practitioner Angeles Fiallo Montero.

Angeles explained, ““Bath Carnival is always one of my favourite dates in the calendar so I’m very pleased to be working more closely with the team this year, choreographing new dances for people to perform on the big day.

“These workshops manage to reach people with additional needs and hearing impairment, enabling them to feel included in the carnival experience, whilst practicing social skills, communication and gaining a sense of enjoyment. I believe dance and drumming is highly beneficial to this client population as it can enhance wellbeing, inclusion, social interactions and give them an opportunity to express themselves.”

“For those unsure whether dance will be for them, we strongly encourage you to give it a go at one of our free taster sessions!”

A new collaboration with the Bath Goblin project is giving children age 9-11 in the area the chance to build their own electric go-kart with a total of 12 karts being built and decorated to join each school’s bloc at carnival.

In response to audience feedback the carnival organisers have organised over double the amount of free creative workshops open to the general public this year.

Stuart Matson, Bath Carnival organizer, said, “Our creative activities are designed to engage a variety of people throughout the city. We are recruiting local brass instrument players to form a Bath Carnival Mardi Gras Brass band and even have a new ‘Buggie Bloc’ reserved for parents with young children who want to decorate their pushchairs and join the party.”

In the week leading up to the final event there will be over 50 hours of free drop-in workshops hosted at Green Park Station, as part of the carnival’s mas-camp. Here, carnival volunteers and the community join together to prepare costumes and performances for the final event.

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On Saturday 21 July participants of the workshops will perform in the annual carnival procession which has a brand new route this year.

Over 1000 participants are anticipated to perform throughout the streets, with a grand finale planned at Laura Fountain, incorporating hundreds of drummers and carnival dancers.

The free Party in the Park event will return to Sydney Gardens with a host of family friendly entertainment and activities throughout the day and evening.

Elsewhere across site there will be plenty to keep parents and adults entertained with a range of food and drink stalls, offering up flavours from around the globe and an eclectic mix of World music on the brand new main stage.

www.bathcarnival.co.uk