Edinburgh Festival Carnival expected to be “biggest yet”

Edinburgh Samba School at last year's carnival. Picture: Scott Louden

Edinburgh Samba School at last year's carnival. Picture: Scott Louden

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Thousands of spectators are set to flock to the city centre this weekend for one of the highlights of the cultural calendar.

And organisers are promising that this year’s Edinburgh Festival Carnival will be the biggest and brightest yet.

More than 700 performers will take part in an hour-long parade on Sunday, leaving The Mound at 2.30pm and heading along Princes Street.

Attention will then turn to the Ross Bandstand and the wider Princes Street Gardens, where a host of performances will be staged.

There will also be a performance stage and stalls in the Grassmarket and a special area for young people and families at the west end of the Gardens.

Performers are coming from Senegal, South Africa, China, the US, Italy, Portugal, Netherlands, Martinique and Trinidad. There will also be a host of Scottish drummers, dancers, fire-eaters, jugglers, stilt walkers and circus acts.

Last year, more than 20,000 people enjoyed the event, and organisers are hopeful for the good weather that will ensure an even bigger turnout.

Spectators will also be invited to take part in the parade alongside the professionals.

The Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival runs the carnival, and producer Roger Spence said: “We are delighted to be able to bring the carnival atmosphere and another fantastic celebration of music and dance from around the globe to Edinburgh.

“It’s the event that makes everyone feel good.

“Old and young, families and cool kids too.”

Councillor Richard Lewis, Edinburgh’s festivals and events champion, said: “Founded on the belief that the arts really are for everyone, this all-inclusive, family event brings communities together for a truly spectacular experience.

“I am delighted that the carnival continues to be a free event for everyone. This year we’re sure the Jazz & Blues 
Festival organisers will inject the streets of Edinburgh with the biggest, brightest, feelgood carnival yet.”

Oona McGinnis, sponsorship and promotions manager from Forth 1, said: “Forth 1 is proud to be a sponsor of the Edinburgh Festival Carnival which is a key event in Edinburgh’s event calendar. Set against the iconic backdrop of Edinburgh Castle, the event adds a splash of excitement to the streets of Edinburgh. We are delighted that [Forth 1 presenter] Ewen Cameron will compere the main stage”.