Carnival returns to Barking and broadcast online

An array of colourful costumes added to the spectacle at Barking Carnival. Picture: Gurpreet Bhatia

The annual Barking and Dagenham Carnival is set to return to Barking town centre after moving online last year. - Credit: Archant

The Barking and Dagenham Carnival will be staged live and broadcast online for the first time this year.

The annual event, run by Ukon Careers, is set to return to Barking Town Square on Saturday July 10, from 1pm to 6pm.

It was forced to move online last year amid the Covid pandemic

The free, community event is open to everyone and will also be delivered online to help it reach a wider audience.

Production manager James Hunt said: “Before the pandemic the event has been delivered live and it brought the whole community together.

“Last year when we delivered online only quite a few of our senior citizens, for example, and those who struggle with online services could not participate in the event, which meant some of the most vulnerable in the community were excluded.

“By delivering the event online and live, we are able to include everyone regardless of their ability, special needs or ability to access online services."

The carnival will feature steel pan, African drumming, Tamboo Bamboo, Samba and craft making workshops. 

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There will also be performances from carnival artists, community groups and organisations, as well as soca, street and Afrobeat dancers.

The event aims to bring carnival to the community, with elements of Ole, traditional and contemporary mas.

Ukon Careers operations manager Cleon Lord said: “We want to reach a wider audience across the globe to showcase our event and to raise awareness of the Caribbean culture. 

“Broadcasting online will raise interests of making carnival mas and learning other things that are related to carnival.”

Through online delivery of its carnival arts project last year, Ukon Careers created six new part-time online paid jobs and five volunteering positions.

It ran a six-week schedule of carnival arts workshops, tutorials and presentations culminating with the Barking Carnival, rescheduled from July to September.

From it, all the volunteers went into education and employment and four part-time employees went into full-time permanent, paid employment.

The 2021 Barking and Dagenham Carnival will be subject to Covid-19 guidelines. If you are interested in volunteering, contact Cleon at to find out more. 

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