The one month countdown to carnival is on!

Hackney Carnival returns to the streets this year on Sunday 11 September from 12.00 to 7.00pm with a parade of spectacular costumes, vibrant dance routines and live music. 

Twenty five carnival groups, including twenty local bands and eight guest groups, will join residents to celebrate Hackney’s culture and creativity. Alongside the procession, Hackney Carnival will feature popular sound systems, family friendly activities, street entertainment and food stalls selling a range of global cuisines.

The route sees the parade make its way around Hackney Central from Mare Street to Graham Road and along Queensbridge Road, stopping outside Hackney Town Hall to entertain audience members with short performances. A panel of judges will vote for the best live music, performances, dance routines and costumes on display.

This year’s carnival proudly celebrates Hackney’s diversity, inclusivity and environmental responsibility, and features participants of all ages and from many diverse backgrounds, including young children, elders, people with disabilities and an LGBTQ+ led group.

With its colourful carnival costumes, steel pan bands and sound systems, the procession will see african drummers, fire breathers acrobats and lion masquerades, inspired by the carnival traditions of the Caribbean Islands as well as Brazilian drummers, Bolivian dancers, a Turkish and Kurdish band and an East Asian carnival troupe. 

For the first time ever, Hackney Carnival includes a dedicated family area, featuring a global music stage that will host performances from local young musicians from the Jewish, Turkish and Kurdish communities, a lion dance from the Vietnamese Chinese community, as well as traditional Somalian dancing and music from The Republic of Congo and Ghana. There will be soca dance classes, majorettes, a reggae choir, African drumming, arts and crafts workshops, the Playbus and a well being area. Along Churchwell Path guests can also enjoy the young people's performance platform featuring talent from youth arts projects.

Carnival-goers can look out for people or battery-powered alternatives to traditional floats, while audience members will also be encouraged to ditch single-use plastic bottles and bring their own water bottles and drinks cups. 

Carnival is for everyone and we know Hackney residents can’t wait to be out and about again at their favourite carnival event enjoying that great feeling of communal celebration. While carnival will always be rooted in its Caribbean heritage, represented by the many local and visiting bands who are leading the celebrations, we’re delighted to welcome dancers and performers from Hackney’s other diverse communities to reflect the wealth of global carnival influences in our borough, including those from Brazil, Bolivia, Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Turkey, Kurdistan and China.

Cllr Chris Kennedy, Cabinet member for health, adult social care, voluntary sector and culture

In the lead up to carnival, residents are invited to take part in family friendly arts and crafts workshops run by Hackney’s libraries to create carnival head dresses and decorations for a traditional carnival  Earth Dragon, in partnership with East Bank.

To help get people into the carnival spirit, residents can tune in to Pax Nindi’s Virtual Soundsystem Day on Saturday 10 September from 12 midday to 12 midnight on MixCloud via the Love Hackney carnival page. Then on Sunday 11th September the carnival will be live streamed as it happens across Hackney carnival’s social media channels. 

More information will be made available on the Hackney Carnival Facebook and Instagram pages as well as the Love Hackney website

Notes to editors

The Hackney Carnival guide and map for the parade route, performances, sound systems, and family activity hotspots on Mare Street is available here.

To date the carnival parade will feature: 

  • Blema Dancers 
  • Carnival Arts and Masquerade Foundation
  • Caporales San Simon Londres 
  • Caribbean Sessions
  • Culture Riddim
  • Dimensions Dance 
  • Elimu Mas Academy 
  • Fagamuffin Bloc Party 
  • Fraternity Cultural Bolivia UK
  • Gahu Dramatic Arts 
  • Hasret Community Arts
  • Iconic Hackney Council staff group
  • Jamboulay Carnival Arts Promotion 
  • Jun Mo Generation 
  • Me Viejo San Simon 
  • Pantonic Steel Orchestra 
  • Pan Vibrations 
  • Paracarnival 
  • People of Paradise Arts 
  • Soca Massive 
  • Soca Sagaboys 
  • Taru Arts 
  • Tribo Afro Brazilian Drummers 
  • Tropical isles 
  • United Colours of Mas 
  • Urban Touch Carnival 
  • Unity No Nonsense 
  • Yaram Arts 

Sound Systems 

In the Town Hall Square, Town Hall car park, The Mews, Urswick School enjoy the Hackney sound system vibrations of DubSon Sounds, First Class Soundsystem, Jah Prophecies Sound and Solutions Soundsystem.