In the summer of 2012 the Carnival Archive Project documented the Southend Carnival, this included commissioning videos and photography of the events.
[ Images of Canvey & District Motor Transport Co, Ltd ]
We’re both Canvey boys and have been all our lives, so carnival’s always been there, Southend and Canvey for us.
We both as children went to the Southend Carnival, the Canvey Carnival, so it’s in the blood, but now we’re participating and becoming part of the carnival, we’re just giving it a little scary twist, that’s what we do.
The carnival has always been there, Southend and Canvey for us, so we always enjoyed them as kids, late 70s / early 80s, so to be a part of it now is really good.
I think for all of us in Southend and the community the carnival is about coming together in the community and celebrating. We want to be part of that. We ought to celebrate young carers, carers and parent carers; they deserve to be recognised, so by joining in with Southend Carnival we recognise that it’s a fabulous opportunity to celebrate exactly that.
My personal memory of a carnival, when I was 8 I won a first prize raffle and I won the carnival queen doll. I’ve still got her; she’s my memory of the carnival. We want to make those memories for all the young carers, the parent carers, and the community of Southend on Saturday, and we’re very lucky to be a part of that.
We’re in the business of helping create, inspire and promote new business within our community. We’re very proud to be involved with Southend Carnival that should be our third year we’ve been involved. A carnival I think is something essential to all of us from being a child to adulthood, it brings a community together and has a lovely community spirit, and it’s a great opportunity for us to bring obviously enterprise and community into one.
[ Carnival preparation images 1:55 – 1:58 ]
We’re down our yard this morning just finishing off our trailer. This year we decided to make it into a packaging theme. We’re going to create a box out of this, we’ve put a bit of structure up, and we’ve put our old van in there that isn’t on the road any more. Just to give you an idea of what the story’s all about, we’re going to have a dragon coming out of the back, which is going to be about 6ft high with smoke breathing out of its mouth. As you can see from here, once it’s finished, it’s going to be a full cardboard box, the van’s going to look like it’s diving into it, and we’re going to have smoke coming out of the sides so it looks like it’s had a crash.
It’s a representation of Southend Borough, and it’s been contributed to, over 700 children have contributed to the design and making of this, all the drawings and sculpture work inside, and the bead then sits in the boat. As part of the brief students from the South Essex College were commissioned to design and build a float which goes into the carnival. There’s lots of very strong design work, you see up on the wall here. Myself and Kate Trueman from the Council went and received presentations from the students and eventually we selected this design. It said a lot of things about Southend that we really liked, it was very bold, very bright, and very colourful, and it shows off the bead to a really good effect.
The carnival has always had a charitable objective in Southend, and even today we still run with a charity street collection, which we put back into the community in the way of grants, both large grants and small grants to help local charities. It’s around fundraising, but increasingly it’s been around carnival arts and promoting that, so it all links to people participating in a community event. It is one of the biggest community events in the town.
The objectives of the carnival are all around participation in a community event, raising money for local charities, and the support of the Carnival Estate Fund, our registered charity.
[ Carnival images 4:01 – 4:35 ]
The Southend Carnival is probably the one time that the whole of Southend, and everybody across Southend, really gets it together and really joins in. You know we have the Air Show and we get people coming in from all over Essex and the wider counties, but I think Southend Carnival, as a tradition, is the one time that everybody wants to do something, or knows somebody that’s doing something for carnival, so it’s fabulous. Even if you’re standing along the route with your pennies to put in the bucket or whatever, you know everybody gets involved.
For me I’ve been watching the carnival for, I should think, the last 60 years, so it’s a fantastic opportunity for the whole of the town to come and watch something that’s absolutely free. Today’s different because obviously it’s June, we’ve got a lovely sunny day, but hopefully the spirit will still be there. We’re combining it with the LOCOG team and the Olympics, so I hope everybody will have a really fun day and the spirit of carnival will continue.
We just wanted to get involved in the Southend Carnival this year to raise money for charity. We thought we’d go and involve everybody that works for the company in today’s event, hopefully it will be a success, and if the weather holds up then we’ll have a bit of fun as well yes.
We’re a mixed ability group; we’ve got children with disabilities, we’ve got able-bodied, as you can see we’ve got some children in wheelchairs. It’s just a great fun thing for everyone to do, everyone gets involved, everyone helps make the costumes, the decorations and everything, and it’s just a really great fun thing to do, and we wouldn’t be without the carnival.
[ Carnival images 6:07 – 8:53 ]
It’s the first time we’ve done a daytime event for 10 / 15 years, so it’s always a risk to change it from a daytime to an illuminated, so really happy with what’s gone on. We’ll be having a long discussion about it in the next few weeks to decide what we’re going to do in 2013.
[ Closing credits 9:10 – 10:29 ]
Recording ends 0:10:29 minutes