Pic: Jane Hoskyn
Whether you have grandparents from Clarendon Parish or you went to Clarendon College, the Caribbean Carnival - held on the the Forest Rec every August - has been a staple of Nottingham’s summer since nineteen long-time. It’s pretty obvious what to expect at an event like this; cans of beer that look like Peru’s football kit, horned animals on the barbecue, speaker stacks the size of the obelisk at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and thumping tunage from the red, gold and green section of the musical spectrum.
This year, however, things have changed, thanks to the involvement of the Red Bull Music Academy. It’s a globe-trotting series of music workshops and festivals which scoops up a diverse group of producers, vocalists, DJs, instrumentalists and all-round musical mentalists from different countries, disciplines and points in their career - and gives them a concentrated blast of exposure to the top flight of the music business (Our very own Ronika has been a beneficiary, don’t you know).
On Saturday 18 August, the Red Bull Music Academy Stage will descend upon the Forest, boasting a stellar line-up. The stage will be headined by Redlight and Dread MC - the former a Bristolian beats behemoth who barged his way to the front rank of the DnB scene under the guise of DJ Clipz and has remixed Roots Manuva, Little Boots, Pendulum, Toddla T, Hockey, and Athlete, the latter a dnb/dubstep bar-spitter of considerable renown who - together - prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the West is still holding it down.
On selection duty is a living legend; Norman Jay MBE, the man who learned his DJ craft at the feet of his New York-based uncle in the late seventies, took what he’d learned at Dancetaria, Zanzibar and the legendary Paradise Garage back to the UK, and created a sound system (Good Times) which took the edge off an increasingly moody Notting Hill Carnival. Earl Gateshead, Lunice and Doc Daneeka will also be stepping up, but if you think the local talent has been shunted to the side, you’re wrong; the mighty Elementz, the ridiculously talented RubberDub, Wigflex overlord Spam Chop, and the always on-point Mimm.
That’s not all, though; The main stage will be hosted by MC Kat B from MTV and the Real Deal Comedy Jam. If you’re looking for an in-route to the next school of NG urban, this is it; Lady Leshurr and Stylo G are the highlights in the early evening, before followed by the immense headliner Donae’o. The Parade Stage will be the domain of Kemet FM and its DJs over both days - a chance to link up with the people responsible for the city’s most essential music station.
And it goes without saying that it’s not about the music. The Zumba Hearty Party is making a bid at breaking records, while Bantum will be doing screen printing on site. Bring your own tee and they’ll print on it for free. Notts Property - the graffiti festival that is happening all across August and is featured on page 39 of this every mag - will also be there to do a live spray-up of a custom-placed wall, and Detonate will be hosting the official after party for the event.
Add to that stalls, quad biking, funfairs and, of course, The Big Parade on Sunday that starts at 2pm on Castle Gate and winds (and quite possibly grines) its way around the city, ending up at the Rec at about 4.30pm. Expect a blistering wave of colour and sound over two essential days of pure, unadultered vibe.
Nottingham Caribbean Carnival, Forest Recreation Ground, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 August, 12 – 9pm. Free.