THE town is set to shake to the beat of steel drums as Huddersfield Carnival returns this summer.
Last year poor weather forced organisers to scale down the event.
But this year it is back with a bang and they have a few tricks up their sleeves to make sure it is a roaring success.
There will be more entertainment in the town centre, and for the first time in its history the two-day carnival will feature an extra, big event.
Following the Carnival Queen and King show, which takes place at Huddersfield Town Hall on at 8pm on Friday, July 11, there will be a new procession called the J’ouvert’.
This will make its way from the Town Hall at midnight, finishing on the Piazza at 2am with the sounds of the Nostalgia Steel Band.
J’ouvert is an abbreviation of the French meaning ‘opening of day’ and traditionally marks the start of carnival celebrations in the Caribbean.
On the Saturday there will be entertainment in the town centre from noon to 3pm featuring the North Star Steel Orchestra and Africa 4 All.
The popular carnival procession will set off from the Hudawi Cultural Centre in Hillhouse at 1pm and wind its way round town before finishing at Greenhead Park, where families will be able to enjoy music, dance and food from the Caribbean.
Entertainment in the park will include Helana B, one of the UK’s best soca artists, D.Bo General and Bush T with roots and reggae music and many more performers.
For those who want to carry on partying, there will be the Big Finale taking place at the Hudawi Centre on Great Northern Street from 10pm until the early hours. Partygoers can enjoy music from internationally renowned Soca Monarch Inspector live on stage with support by DJ Cris and the Big 45.
Huddersfield Carnival is the largest festival in Kirklees and attracts around 40,000 people every year. It is organised by a committee of volunteers and is part of the Multi-Cultural Weekend organised in partnership with Kirklees Council
Organisers promise that it will be just as big and entertaining as ever.
Mary Augustine, who chairs the carnival’s organising committee, said: “It’s a very popular event and we expect it to be as big as ever this year.
“We have had an issue with financing, so it looks like we won’t be having as many big bands from outside the area as we’ve had in the past. But the people will still have a fantastic time and we do have a few new features this year, including the J’ouvert.
“This procession is very different. There are no feathers and sparkles or the colour of the carnival. People will be wearing clothing like devil’s costumes and body paint. It shows another side of the carnival and we hope that it will bring a new, exciting element.”
Ms Augustine is urging locals not to miss this year’s carnival, particularly as it will be the last to be held in the park for at least two years.
She explained: “It’s going to be the last time we’re going to be able to hold part of the carnival in the park for a while because major renovation work is going to be carried out there.
“We were unable to have the entertainment in the park last year because of the bad weather, so we had to compromise and have a smaller-scale event. But it worked really well.
“We’ve been looking at other sites in Kirklees to see if there’s anywhere else that’s suitable. If not, then we will probably look at doing something similar to last year.
“I think people will miss it being in the park, but we will be doing all we can to make sure that future carnivals are just as well enjoyed.”
For more details about the carnival visit the website at www.huddersfieldcarnival.com
Organisers are still looking for businesses to sponsor this year’s event. For more information contact Ms Augustine on 07920 287 103.