The Cowley Road Carnival is an Oxford icon, attracting up to 50,000 people every year, all drawn to the event’s unique atmosphere and the huge range of attractions and activities on offer, including dance, music and an irresistible array of street food from all over the globe.
This year the theme is Mother Earth to celebrate the Natural World while also drawing attention to the global issue of climate change, and carnival-goers can expect a gentler vibe with more acoustic melodic sets on the Manzil Gardens Music Stage. High volume beats can be found on ‘Electric Avenue’ further down the Cowley Road nearer the Plain.
It will be the first Carnival for new director Clare O’Hara who has come to Oxford from Cambridge where she was Head of Development at the multi-arts venue, the Cambridge Junction.
Clare says: “With climate change so much in the public consciousness, Mother Earth is the perfect theme for 2020. The groups in the procession can interpret the theme as broadly as they like. There is a huge scope for the schools and other community groups to express love for the natural environment and focus on global and local environmental issues. We can’t wait to see their creative interpretations in the costumes and processional structures.”
Around 700 people are expected to participate in the procession, which is the focal point of Carnival Day on 5 July, including pupils at Oxford Spires Academy who are working in a project supported by the Oxford Business Park. Their artwork will be exhibited in the Factory on the Oxford Business Park prior to Carnival Day.
YEAR-ROUND WORK IN THE COMMUNITY
Business sponsorship assists Cowley Road Works, the charity which organises the Carnival, to work with the community all year round. CRW has spearheaded projects with some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people in the community.
Clare says: “Our year-round programme of work brings the community together, helps people to access opportunities and learn new skills.
“In 2020 our focus is on building bridges between communities facing divides and narrowing the gap between pockets of disadvantage and privilege in our city. Carnival has the power to foster inclusion and engage those who face hardship in the most challenging areas.
“We work with the community, cultural and disability groups, schools and youth services and are currently working with women affected by FGM, young people with learning disabilities, children in the care system and child refugees in Oxford.”
“We are incredibly grateful to the Oxford Business Park for being so amazingly supportive and who are sponsoring us again for a second year. I urge other businesses to join them and pledge to help us do more work.”
“There are many ways of being part of this year’s Carnival in addition to supporting our workshop and training programmes. You could sponsor a zone with full branding for your organization, take a stall to market to the community, bring a team of volunteers to help on the day, or take part in the procession. It’s all great fun.”
Dan Williams: “We are delighted to be supporting our local community again as diamond sponsors of the Cowley Carnival. The Cowley Road links the business park to the City and the Carnival is the perfect way to celebrate this vibrant community, we can’t wait for the 5th July.”
Cowley Road Carnival is on 5 July 2020. If you would like to find out more about how to get involved please contact Clare on firstname.lastname@example.org to explore the possibilities. For more information on Cowley Road Works and the Carnival, please see www.cowleyroadworks.org