Cowley Road Carnival

15 years ago I was asked to help run a stall at what was presumptuously labelled Cowley Road Carnival. The few of us there wandered around the other community group stalls on the patch of grass we'd been put on and got to know each other. We all felt a bit worthy, displaying our pamphlets and annual reports for the sake of the dynamic woman who ran the urban regeneration project. 
14 years ago we did it again but this time there was a stage behind us where some local youngsters played their music.
13 years ago we did it again and a few schoolchildren took part in a small procession.
12 years ago the road was closed and loads more people came. There was more music and the community stalls felt a bit of a sideshow.

Carnival now attracts 50,000 people, school and other groups work for months on their procession costumes and there are stages and DJs all down the road - in pub gardens, car parks, doorways and side streets. Cowley Road restaurants and cafes sell food on the street and are joined by dozens of pop-up food-stalls. All credit to the vision of those early organisers.

More in extras. The woman dancing barefoot down the middle of the road in the second extra attracted a small audience when she danced with her friends on the grass in front of our stall 15 years ago. People who know me very well might like to see the beatboxer hosting a stage in the third extra.

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