Kemptown Carnival is returning after a 3-year hiatus to retake its position as Brighton’s largest free community arts street festival.

The carnival last took place in 2016 and was supposed to resume in 2018 however due to logistical difficulties and a new governing body of the carnival needing to be re-established, the event was postponed until this year – with planned events running from February until June.

Kemptown Carnival director Mathew Cook, speaking about the festival this week said that after “three years in the making” and with “generous Arts Council funding” the event is beginning to look “very exciting”.

There are set to be nine stages of performance and entertainment over a 1km stretch of East Brighton with many events planned on and around the world – famous Brighton Palace Pier which has been revealed to be a main partner supporter of the carnival. Cook added that the support from the Pier was essential in “making sure the carnival stays in the calendar of Brighton people”

Geoffrey Bowden, the former chair of the KTC commented on the return of the festival stating that it is “back with a vengeance” ready to take its place as the “last free open access event in Brighton” and an “amazing” opportunity for “community involvement”.

The event which is expected to draw as many as 30,000 people could not have survived without the support from Brighton Palace pier and the Arts Council through which generous funding has been received, as well as this, it was “pure stubbornness to see it live on”, Mr Bowden added.

Daniel Bernstein, Kemptown Carnival 2019 Advisor assured fans of the Carnival that “live music” and events were to be a central theme of the festival with nights of music and entertainment planned throughout Brighton with a focus on a feeling of a “tropical carnival party”. On March 22 a night of revelry and music at seafront venue Concorde 2 is lined-up featuring acts including Brighton-based reggae band Resonators as well as Pollito Boogaloo, the Brighton School of Samba and others, concluding with an afterparty on the pier itself.

As well as live music and dancing there will also be events for families and children such as a “Cake Bake Tea party” at St George’s Church on the 6 April as well as arts and crafts opportunities throughout the festival which are all free to attend.

The festival will officially conclude on June 2 with a seafront parade of music, banners and dancing, with members of the public encouraged to take part.

Information about paid and volunteering opportunities within the festival can be found at


Image credit: Flickr: Dominic Alves

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