International acts to parade in circuit bringing city to life

The Stooges
The Stooges
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BRAZILIAN beats, samba from Scousers and brass from the Big Easy.

The inaugural Edinburgh Festival Carnival is set to burst onto the city streets later this month boasting a wildly eclectic and truly international line-up.

The Batala drummers

The Batala drummers

More than 20 international and local performers will entertain an estimated 30,000 revellers expected to get into the carnival spirit on the day.

Performing along Princes Street and through Princes Street Gardens, musicians, dancers, performers in costume and all manner of street entertainers will tour around a circuit, with each playing short, three-minute sets along a route of 20 different stages.

By simply staying put, carnival-goers will be able to see all the performers over the course of the two-hour event.

Among the highlights will be The Stooges Brass Band – one of the elite brass bands in New Orleans – and Brazilian samba team Allysson Velez Drummers and Dancers. The event finale will see various samba bands, led by the Edinburgh Samba School, come together in a “joyous riot of mass samba drumming and dancing”.

A carnival reveller

A carnival reveller

The carnival is produced by the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival and a full guide will be available in the Evening News later this month.

Producer of the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival, Roger Spence, said: “The carnival brings a truly international flavour to the city, and also features great local musicians and performers here in Scotland. It will be a colourful and fitting way to welcome the 2012 festival season.”

The main carnival circuit at Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens will be supplemented by activity in Frederick Street, Hanover Street and Castle Street, where there will be entertainment for children, a dance sector and funfair attractions.

Meanwhile, in Rose Street – with the support of Essential Edinburgh – there will be a host of street performers, musicians, jugglers, mime artists and trick cyclists, from 1pm-4pm. The free event is funded by the city council and will feature both professional performers and amateurs, with local groups including Criterion Brass Band – Edinburgh’s New Orleans parade band, Pulse of the Place, Leith’s youth samba drumming group and Forth Bridges Accordion Band.

Among the other performers will be Bandakadabra, an Italian street band playing Balkan and Mediterranean music, Italian funky brass band Pink Puffers, Junkanoo Commandos – a carnival dance troupe from The Bahamas, Beat N’Blow, a German street Brass Band and Liverpudlian reggae-samba drumming group Batala.

Edinburgh’s festivals and events champion, councillor Steve Cardownie, said: “The Festival Carnival promises to evoke all the fun and family-friendliness of its forerunner, the Festivals Cavalcade, but with added exciting features. It will be fantastic to see Princes Street and Princes Street Gardens come alive.”

Anyone who would like to volunteer to help at the carnival, which takes place from 2pm to 4pm on July 22, should contact Rosie Kew at rosie@adjazz.co.uk or call 0131-467 5200.

A Sunday market will run simultaneously in the Grassmarket, from 2pm to 5pm.

YOU’LL BE DANCING IN THE STREET

AROUND 100 people are being given the opportunity to dance – in costume – alongside professional performers at the inaugural Edinburgh Festival Carnival.

A workshop will take place at Drummond Community High School on July 21, the day before the carnival, to introduce the costumes and teach participants a routine to perform on the day.

The workshop will run from 10.30am to 4pm. For more information, e-mail rosie@adjazz.co.uk or call 0131-467 5200.