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Luton International Carnival is set to return this Bank Holiday Monday, 31st May, 2010. Each year the carnival brings the town centre alive with splashes of colourful, flamboyant carnival costumes and music from all over the globe. The event is free and starts at midday with a procession leaving Wardown Park and heading into Luton Town Centre. Sound systems are dotted all over the town and Wardown Park, playing all sorts of music from reggae, soul to jazz. Another key part of carnival is food and you can also feast your taste buds on all sorts of Asian and Caribbean foods from a whole range of local businesses.
The carnival now attracts over 100,000 people every year, but the festival had more humble beginnings in the 1970’s when it started as a modest Victorian street fair, as part of the boroughs centenary celebrations. Since then it has evolved steadily and in 1998 gained international status and was awarded the largest single lottery award for carnival development.
Traditionally carnival celebrates everything from nature, harvest and fertility to the struggle for freedom and expression. Carnival is also influenced by many cultures across many continents including the Caribbean, South America, Europe and South-East Asia.
Councillor Mohammed Ashraf, Executive Member with responsibility for arts and leisure said; “Luton International Carnival seeks to embrace the different cultures and communities of the town, celebrate diversity and promote an inclusive sense of belonging and local pride whilst continuing to develop and evolve into the most spectacular and colourful event in the Eastern region.”
Luton International Carnival is organised by Luton Cultural Services Trust’s Arts Development and Events Unit on behalf of Luton Borough Council. Their Partner for carnival arts is the UK centre for Carnival Arts and the Luton Sounds Forum.