Govanhill Carnival Returns for Fifth Annual International Festival – Bella Caledonia

In 2017, and a handful of people, including myself, planned to mark the 40th anniversary of the historic Rock against racism movement with a reggae concert at Queens Park in Glasgow’s Southside. The plan expanded a bit and the concert continued with a small program of events around it, including the first carnival, taking to the streets to celebrate Govanhill’s unique diversity and culture. The festival has grown and changed over the years to become two weeks of artistic and cultural heritage, but the carnival has become the focal point, a bright, loud and colorful demonstration of what Govanhill is. Last year the COVID pandemic forced it to be canceled, but luckily it’s back.

The parade moves, with bagpipes, drummers, costumes and a smiling celebration of this wonderful and unique community through the streets of the Southside, starting at Govanhill Park and ending at the historic Queens Park Arena where the MSP Local and Premier Nicola Sturgeon have made it their annual duty to declare the carnival open.

Managing Director of the Festival Organizers Govanhill Baths Community Trust, Fatima Uygun, considers the parade to be the most important part of the two-week festival:
“It’s more than just a parade or a march. It is a statement, a colorful display of unity, pride, joy and an anti-racist celebration of the contribution immigrants have made to our community. We have people from over 60 nations speaking over 50 languages ​​in this square mile and we want people to see and hear that.

The festival itself offers over 50 events with mini ‘festivals within the festival’, a street music festival, a children’s festival, a book festival and a film festival. There are also historical events, walks and discussions on the history and heritage of Govanhill, exhibits and much more.

The Film Festival, hosted by Glasgow Artists Moving Image Studio (Gamis) offers an incredible array of films, from shorts to feature films, from Bollywood to Powell and Pressberger, set in the Queens Park Arena and the Batson Street Laboratory, located outside the former Govanhill Picture House.

Coming back for a second year is Simon murphyof the ongoing Govanhill project. Murphy has been photographing the people of Govanhills for a year and forging a personal relationship with his subjects that is reflected in the images. Photographic work at street level has taken her photos from galleries to the streets and windows of the local community and is doing the same this year. His photos are a journey through the region.

Simon Murphy’s “Beldina” by Govanhill

Covid restrictions last summer forced music events outside, in socially remote venues on the streets of the Southside for the first time Street music festival, it was such a success that it will now be the norm for the Festival, with music spouting in corners, in parks, on steps and in front of cafes. This year, two targeted stages will run alongside the pop-up festival on the last day of the festival, Sunday August 15. Love music Hate racism the scene features the roaring anti-fascist group Kidney flowers, moving Franco-Cameroonian singer-songwriter Djana gabrielle and more. The Romano Lav scene, working with Ando Glaso will present the colorful Roma musical heritage alive among the Romanian, Czech and Slovak Roma communities of Govanhill. These traditions and the people who keep them alive are often hidden from the public eye.

You can find full details of all free and paid events at the link below.

Govanhill International Festival


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Darcy J. Skinner

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