Friday, 4 September 2015

East Steel Open up Leeds Carnival at Rhythms Canival Village

Leeds Carnival Sunday at Rhythms Carnival Village.

Leeds Carnival mainstage 2009ish
It was summer 2011, and after 11 years of being the band leader for what was sometimes the only steelband in Leeds Carnival, Foxwood Steel with Leeds Steel Sparrows and Steel Rising were finally given the push. The excuse was that recent riots meant that there was a chance that a live band on a float might incite a riot.

Foxwood on float at Leeds Carnival with Archway 2004 [?]
Foxwood float at Lds Carnival with Friends of Potternewton Park
Well the Yorkshire Evening Post, Look North, and bless 'em, even Radio Five Live didn't think this was likely and we got more coverage on tele, radio and in the paper for not playing Carnival than we ever got for playing it. Hoping that I would be invited back into the fold the following year, I didn't make waves, but it is fair to say that we were gutted.
I, personally, went down to London and played Notting Hill Sunday with Nostalgia marching band, and then all of Foxwood played the Malt Shovel in Armley, Leeds. Grateful to Joanne and Del for giving us this outlet, but sadly no possibility for Steel Rising and Sparrows, who had also booked their Bank Holiday weekend around their local Carnival.
in float at Leeds Carnival 2002 [?]
Lionel Victoria 2013 Nostalgia Notting Hill
Rhiannon Anne-Marie Victoria Garvin 2013 Nostalgia 
In the Malt Shovel Leeds March 2013
Notting Hill 2012[ ?]
Nostalgia Notting Hill 2012
Foxwood at Savile Park 2013 Leeds Carnival
Victoria and Annette
The following year, despite there being no riots in Leeds or anywhere saw us still uninvited to the party, so it was me and Sophie who hit Notting Hill and marched pan de neck with Nostalgia. Then 2013 Annette invited/made us play Savile Park, and I will never be able to thank her enough. She gave us the reason to fight for our right, and we did. And it was nice and sunny. Next year it poured; we ventured onto the bandstand and put up our wonderful and expensive gazebo, and even got filmed as officially part of Carnival.

Savile Park 2014

2014 Savile Park
This year I told Ashley to find us a café on the route at the time as Hilary was telling Ashley to find us. And we did rather better than a café. We got Rhythms Carnival Village. More anon.
And this is how we were able to invite East Steel and Sparrows again. I remember how Joyce once said, in a comment to the class about when East Steel could play Carnival i.e. when community bands were properly welcome. She said, Bloomin' 'Eck! I'll be in my zimmer frame before that happens. And I had just found out the very same that she would now be available to play again [for saddish reasons]. Adele too was back with us after a trying couple of years. Besides them we were me [Victoria], Bex, Vicky, Yi Bai, Lynn, Anne, Charlotte [from Nostalgia], Trish, Wanda and [guest Sparrow] Milly. The floor wasn't in place on the stage so we played on the ground, which really was better. Less status but more audience interaction possibility.
sorry about smudge on lens
The obvious audience, apparently was Wendy's friends [although in the end Wendy couldn't make it] and the next act, but all around the Carnival Village and the neighbouring streets, people were opening up and setting up and walking up Chapeltown Road and generally getting ready for Carnival to the sound of steel pans. It was good to be back.