Thousands enjoy Hackney One Carnival to celebrate launch of Cultural Olympiad

Hackney One Carnival saw hundreds of energetic performers take to Hackney’s streets yesterday (Sun 28 Sept), providing music and dance to celebrate the launch of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

For the first time, Hackney One Carnival brought together a vibrant mix of 15 carnival groups, with around 600 performers, to celebrate Hackney’s role as a host borough for the 2012 Games.

More than 3,000 residents turned out to watch the Hackney One Carnival on its route along Mare Street, Amhurst Road, Dalston Lane, Queensbridge Road and Richmond Road.

And around 900 residents packed the Town Hall Square to watch a carnival showcase extravaganza on stage.

Youngsters got into the spirit of the celebrations by making carnival masks and getting their faces painted.

Hackney One Carnival was opened by BBC London 94.9FM radio presenter Eddie Nestor and Mayor of Hackney Jules Pipe.

Taking part in One Carnival were major bands including Beeraahaar Sweet combination, Tropical Isles, GAHU dramatic arts, Unity No Nonsense, Jamboulay, Hibiscus, Pantonic Steel Orchestra, Heritage Social Arts, People of Paradise, Perpetual Odyssey Carnival club, Jun Mo Generations, Masquerade 2000, Kinetika, Paraiso School of Samba and Urban Touch Carnival, many of whom have won national and international accolades for carnival performance.

Hackney One Carnival was organised by Hackney Council with local carnival groups. It is part of CREATE08 - a celebration of art, culture, festivals and performance in the five 2012 host boroughs of Greenwich, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

It was also part of ‘Open Weekend’ with events across the UK marking the launch of the Cultural Olympiad of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Cultural Olympiad will highlight the UK’s diversity by using both culture and sport to create works and events that will bring people and places together, encourage audiences to take part, involve and inspire young people, welcome the world to the 2012 Games and create a lasting legacy. Open Weekend marks the start of this four year journey.

Mayor of Hackney, Jules Pipe, said: “I’m very pleased so many people came out to enjoy Hackney One Carnival. Our borough is at the heart of where the 2012 Games will be hosted in four years’ time and the Cultural Olympiad gives all our residents and local groups a chance to experience the talent and creativity of the arts alongside sporting excellence, in a way that has never been done before.”