The history of the now St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival is one of the journey of the Afrikan Caribbean communities in the UK through community spirit, resistance, arts, culture and transition. Early immigrants from the Caribbean came to settle into the ethnically diverse central Bristol district of St Pauls. Rich in splendid architectural buildings primarily of the Georgian era, St Pauls for whatever reason had fallen into pretty much a slum after the war. Post war Britain was a mess and Britain called on British subjects in the colonial Empire to help fix the problem. On June 21st 1948 the Empire Windrush travels 5000 miles to the UK with over 500 Caribbean people predominately Jamaican on board. Bringing with them big dreams, aspirations and a cultivated inner strength, nothing could have prepared them for what they would face – from the harsh racist ‘welcome’ to the freezing cold weather, despite the adversity these early pioneers set a tone for a new Great Britain and Britain would never be the same again. There was a steady influx of Caribbean immigration through the 50s and 60s.
Bristol based Caribbean people were unhappy with how they were perceived and treated by Bristol at large and so amongst other things set about creating an event for the community to gather and enjoy themselves and also for other people to learn more about the culture. The St Pauls Festival was born in 1968 close in time to the formation of other festivals and Carnivals around the Country and in doing so transformed the music and celebration culture. Here is an interview with founder members Roy Hackett and Albert Stewart.
STORY BEHIND THE CARNIVAL LOGO
A deep and rich story, heavily rooted in independence, revolution and cultural identity, the Carnivals logo conveys its story as each element has meaning attached to it. The symbolism of the colours is key: Red is a memorial to the blood-shed. Yellow stands for the wealth of treasured heritage. Green represents the earth, without which human life could not exist. The blue egg represents rebirth and continuous growth. Heart shaped face represents cultural identity, love & respect. The African shaped head piece honours the enslaved.