The Open Road Carnival
The carnival that's making a difference...
New Carnival launched their signature event last week, IW Mardi Gras 2023, at the Quay arts. The theme for this year was revealed: ‘Year of the Coast’. This reflects national celebrations for the opening and creation of England’s Coastal path. The new national trail coast path is set to be the longest continuous coastal path in the world, stretching some 2800 miles. The Isle of Wight’s coastal path is 82 miles long incorporating the heritage coastlines of Tennyson and Hamstead.
The date for the 2023 IW Mardi Gras in Ryde is set for Saturday 8th July. Once again New Carnival are linking up with the National Children’s Carnival week 8th-16th July, aimed at engaging children and young people with carnival arts up and down the country. Partnering with the UK centre for carnival arts, UKCCA, St Pauls Carnival Bristol, Northampton, Norwich, Luton, Bridgewater, Global Grooves Manchester, and St Leonards in Hastings. The overall theme is ‘Coast to Coast’ reflecting the ‘Year of the Coast’ and all things coastal.
Nia Collins from IW music hub came along to talk about their ‘Solent Sea Shanty’ Singing project which started in September 2022 and goes through to the end of the summer term, across all Island schools. The IW music hub provide a IW Mardi Gras anthem each year, this year the tune from the well-known tik tok sensation, the ‘Wellerman’ song will be used with new lyrics reflecting the coast. As the tune was so familiar, Nia had everyone singing the new lyrics in no time!
The background to the Isle of Wights coastal footpath campaign was presented by David Howarth from the IW Ramblers. It is estimated that a comprehensive coastal path could be worth up to £35 million per year to our Island economy, as well as providing an enjoyable route to good health and wellbeing for all. Establishing the footpath has been ongoing for over 10 years and 2023 marks its official creation.
New Carnival’s creative director, Gina Dyer, set out the topics and themes this year to be explored in the creation of the carnival costumes and performance. She said:
‘The Mardi Gras ‘year of the coast’ theme has a wealth of inspiration for creating carnival costumes. Each topic has a local group or organisation linked to it. We are looking forward to seeing all the ideas from our young people and helping them to realise their designs for costumes. We will continue to promote and use sustainable materials, recycling, and re-purposing.”
Saturday 8th July will see the 2023 IW Mardi Gras take to the streets of Ryde once again. Schools and community groups are all welcome to join. It is thanks to so many teachers, artists, volunteers, and likeminded organisations that the Mardi Gras is such a successful event, showcasing children and young people’s incredible creativity.