I have not attended a Carnival Queen show in my area for many years. I used to attend these shows every year without fail as a standard part of my life with friends and family. I also used to partake in the Carnival processions as well. I really love and enjoy this part of my culture. Life just gets in the way sometimes. So when I was asked if I wished to attend I thought why not and bring the family.
The East Midlands Caribbean Carnival Arts Network is a partnership between Derby, Nottingham, Leicester and Northampton carnivals which has support from the arts council. The Regional Queen show is part of this union where the Queens, Kings, Princes, and Princesses from the different cities compete for the regional prize.
This years show was held at the Derby Theatre. It drew a reasonable crowd of various ages and ethnicities eager to see a good show. The shows I attended in the past took place at the Derby West Indian Centre and was only a local event. The after party was at DWICA and it was a good night out especially if the winner was your friend. Those were the days when the local West Indian centre was a place to go party.
The Carnival theme for this year is “The future of Carnival”. As we walked into the venue we were greeted by steel pan band playing lovely music. Inside the theatre hall the soulful sounds of Donna Briscoe-Greene singing some soul classics also greeted us. This was followed by the usual introductions.
Soca artist Miss Desire took to the stage from Barbados, which was followed by the Prince competition. These young people can really put on a show. So full of energy and really know how to work the crowd. We were next entertained by Zainab and friends showcasing dances to bhangra mixes of songs which was followed by the Princess show. After a short break a lady read a carnival themed poem. Then the Kings took to the stage and put on a good show displaying their costumes.
Ace Dance from Birmingham was my favourite entertainers of the night. Their dance routine was m amazing to watch, even my son said so. The audience cheered throughout their routine. So if you get the chance to see them it will be worth it. The Queens took the stage after and the costume which stood out the most for me was the Windrush costume from Leicester. It truly embodied the Windrush migration with replica boat to match.
The night concluded with a speech from the Arts Council and the chairman of the DWICA Mr George Mighty was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award for his work within the community, carnival and the arts.
The Prince award was won by Nottingham, Princess from Nottingham, King from Derby and Queen from Leicester. Yep my favourite Queen costume won the Windrush costume.
Overall it was a good family night out. If you have not attended in a while you should consider attending in the future. It is a good lead up to the actual carnival day. It is now Carnival season in the UK, so please make sure you support your local Caribbean Carnival.