A “Notting Hill” style carnival promising Carribbean cuisine and reggae music is set to return “bigger and better”.
Medway Culture Club Carnival, hosted by a not-for-profit of the same name, will feature music, dance and costumes inspired by the historic London-based festival.
Medway’s event will take place from 11am to 4pm on Saturday August 5, both outside and inside Woodlands Youth Centre in Gillingham.
Chairman of Medway Culture Club, Camealia Xavier-Chihota said: "We will immerse ourselves in the traditions of the Notting Hill Carnival, which was established by members of the Windrush generation.
“Now the largest street festival in Europe, we plan to bring to Medway some of this cosmopolitan event's culture and creativity, which champions diversity and inclusion.”
Attendees can expect carnival classics and reggae music by Intention Studio featuring Mikey Ragga, and steelpan music entertainment and lessons.
“We have face painting, carnival costumes and carnival dancing that are all reminiscent of Notting Hill - all the feathers, all the sparkle and people get to try them on,” said Camealia.
There will be various activities including a procession, flag making, a limbo competition and more.
There will also be food from Jerk cafe who will serve Caribbean cuisine and Heyam’s Kitchen who will offer Middle Eastern options.
“We try to partner with lots of different businesses within the community, so we can not only spotlight them, but also offer the different cultures around Medway in different ways, whether it is music, food or activities,” added Camealia.
This year’s procession will honour the 75th anniversary of Windrush with young people wearing printed t-shirts they have made with the charity.
They will be joined by the rest of the community and carnival dancers.
Originally founded in 2020, Medway Culture Club was created with the intention to bring the community together inclusively.
A goal of learning and sharing each other’s cultures has seen the organisation host a carnival in Medway annually for the past three years.
“Our intention in 2021 was to fill the gap where there was no Notting Hill carnival, still under lockdown restrictions,” explained Camealia.
“We launched and we capitalised on that because we were able to give steel pan lessons and still have entertainment and bring some of that multi culture to Medway.”
Since then, the carnival has proved to be a great sucess with last year’s event attended by more than 400 people, double the number in 2021.
Camealia said: “This is our third annual carnival so I’m really pleased to be able to say it is intended to be bigger and better each year.
“I would love it if we could grow the carnival so that we could reach many more people within the Medway community and we could expand and include more cultures within the event.”
Currently there is limited capacity for the event and Medway Culture Club has asked people to RSVP. Tickets and more information can be found here.
Camealia added: “Although we have been utilising the Medway Youth Service for the last two, and this year, it would be great if there was a bigger, better venue that we might be able to spread out to and invite more people along in the future.
“If we could parade down Rochester high street, up Boley hill and into the castle gardens, we could grow to that size where the capacity is much higher than what we currently have.”