St Paul’s Carnival CIC FAQ’s



1             Who are the CIC board?

The new board are a team of 9 local people offering range of specific skills and expertise on a voluntary basis. Members of the new CIC Board include a financial director, an IT consultant, a lawyer, a marketing expert and business strategist, a festival director, a specialist in equalities and diversity, a local councillor, a director of a local nightclub and a DJ and dancer. For more information see the About Us page. [link]

The CIC Board exists to provide strategic direction, advocacy and scrutiny to the organisation. In the longer-term the aim is to employ a small team of paid staff to manage operations on a day-to-day basis and deliver the Carnival event programme.


2             Who controls the St Pauls Carnival CIC? Is it the council or the community?

The CIC is a Community Interest Company, created by members of the community to secure a sustainable future for St Pauls Carnival, getting Carnival on its feet again and taking it back to its roots.

The CIC’s aim is to act an enabler, to help coordinate activity, bridge the gap between local people and bigger interest groups (such as funders, sponsors and the authorities), and to develop a long-term strategy and financial model for carnival. We’re here to provide support and additional expertise. Helping take Carnival out to the people, not taking it away from them.


3             How much does carnival cost?

We understand that in recent years the large, on-street St Pauls Carnival events have cost in the region of £250,000 of public money. With substantial costs including waste collection and policing. However in the current economic climate that is not sustainable.

That is a key reason for the CIC being formed. We have the aim of establishing a new financial model that can help St Pauls Carnival become more self-sufficient. Therefore we aim to reduce costs in some areas, for example we are looking at ways to increase safety and reduce waste. And at the same time finding ways to increase revenue from other sources.

We have core funding from Bristol City Council and Arts Council England for the creative and artistic development of the event which we will need to match with sponsorship and fundraising activities to make it really special in its 50th anniversary year.

The ambition of the CIC is to take carnival back to its roots. Rather than commercialising it through sponsorship deals with the biggest brand names possible, we are inviting local people to get involved, participate and volunteer, to help keep the true spirit of St Pauls Carnival alive and making it viable in the future.

Contact us [link to ] to find out more or get involved.


4             What funding have you received and where is it now?

Funding was previously set aside by both Bristol City Council and Arts Council England for the development of a sustainable organisation to manage St Pauls Carnival and to promote artistic excellence and social inclusion at the core of the 50th anniversary events next year.

The CIC was officially formed in February this year and after meeting targets (such as setting up the company, recruiting board members, writing a 5-year business plan and budget) we have been able to drawn down funding to start the community engagement process for the carnival for 2018. The funds are held jointly by the CIC and a community organisation.

St Pauls Carnival CIC is a brand new organisation and all the directors are unpaid volunteers. So currently we have spent very little money.


5             The Mayor says he is a keen supporter of Carnival. What is he doing to support it?

The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, is very supportive of St Pauls Carnival, our vision and focus on long-term sustainable success.

He has offered to support us in any way he can, but has also been very clear that public funding is decreasing and we need to find alternative income streams for St Pauls Carnival to survive beyond its 50th anniversary next year.

That’s why we are treating everything we do now as an investment in the future. To ensure we safeguard St Pauls Carnival for many years to come.


6             Why isn’t there a St Pauls Carnival in 2017?

We never had the aim of putting on a large street party event this year. An on-street event of 100,000 people needs a year to plan safely and successfully.

St Pauls Carnival CIC was formed at the beginning of this year to create a sustainable future for St Pauls Carnival. Our focus is on delivering a landmark event in 2018 for its 50th anniversary and stable finances and management structure for the future.

Therefore although it’s disappointing not to have a carnival this summer, we are focused on the future and long-term success.


7             What do you say to people who are disappointed carnival won’t take place in 2017?

We are as disappointed as anyone else that it hasn’t taken place for the last few years, but that’s exactly why the St Pauls Carnival CIC was created. To help bring it back to its feet. And no-one is more committed to making that happen than us.

We are getting excited about plans for 2018 and beyond and hope we can channel the huge levels of passion and support for St Pauls Carnival into positive action. We’re inviting local people to go to our website ( ), get in touch or follow us on Facebook to help make it happen.


8             Who are SPACC and why can’t they organise the event any more?

The St Pauls Afrikan Caribbean Carnival Committee (SPACC) are a grass roots organisation who have been pivotal to Carnival in the past.  However St Pauls Carnival has grown over the years to much more than a community event. The size and popularity of the last carnival meant it required huge levels of organisation, communication, policing and cleaning.

This resulted in two key funders (Bristol City Council and the Arts Council England) putting a proviso in place, that if it was to go ahead again it had to be with a new organisation, equipped to bring it back as a safe and family-friendly event which celebrated African Caribbean Culture. We are looking to work with SPACC on plans for the future of St Pauls Carnival, so that it fully takes into account its history and heritage.


9             What can we expect from the 2018 Carnival?

We want to make 2018 a year to remember. A spectacular and inspiring event, celebrating the best of African Caribbean carnival traditions, and marking carnival’s place in the last 50 years of St Pauls’ and Bristol’s history.

As part of the plans to take carnival back to its roots, we want to extend activities throughout the year and get as many people involved as possible. For example through story-telling, sport, music, food, dance, costume making, spoken word, street art, film, training events and a schools outreach programme.

On carnival weekend itself the Mas parade, sound systems and food will remain a central part of the event.

Over the next six months we want to work with local people to develop ideas, run events and finalise plans. We want to provide as many opportunities as possible for people to get involved, creating and taking part, as is the tradition. Carnival is all about participation. It’s not a spectator sport.

The main thing is that it will be brought back in a way which will be safe, family-friendly and inclusive of everyone who wants to get involved and experience a flavour of Caribbean carnival.


10           How can people get involved?

We want to involve as many people as possible across Bristol and from all generations and backgrounds.

There are a multitude of ways to get involved, from sharing their memories or recipes, to making costumes or joining a dance troupe.

To keep up-to-date with upcoming activities or to volunteer, visit our website ( ) and follow us on social media.

People can also email us with any ideas or other offers of assistance


11           How can I get involved in planning and preparing for the 50th anniversary next year?

Carnival is traditionally a participatory event for local people, not a spectator show. We want to take carnival back to its roots by celebrating African Caribbean culture and getting as many people involved as possible across Bristol.

We are in the process of developing plans for the landmark 50th anniversary event next summer and are asking local people to find out about our plans and feed in their ideas. As well as holding an exciting and inspiring on-street event on the first weekend of July accompanied by family friendly activities, from this July onwards we will be running small-scale fundraising events and asking people to tell us what carnival means to them.

Contact us [link to ] to find out more or get involved.



  • Are you doing any work with local schools? If so, how can we get involved?

We are starting to work with schools in St Pauls and neighbouring areas, running practical Carnival workshops with pupils. We are also in the process of developing an educational programme for schools to start in the new academic year (September 2017).

If you are interested in your school taking part in the activities or next year’s programme please contact us [link to ].

  • What other events will you be running this year?

Our key aims are to create a landmark event for carnival’s 50th anniversary next year, provide a sustainable future for St Pauls Carnival, and support the local community. Therefore we will be running a series of events throughout the second half of 2017 to help prepare for 2018 and future years. These will include 2018 planning workshops, community engagement events, fundraising activities and training days.

To keep up-to-date with upcoming activities or to volunteer, visit our website ( ) and follow us on social media.

St Paul’s Carnival FAQs

22nd May 2017


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