Saturday, 29 August 2015

Saturday 29th August: Notting Hill Carnival Mas Camp behind the scenes - Glorious Backstage Arts

Finding the individual Mas Camps that make up the whole parade of Notting Hill Carnival is a safari around the city, spread out across each borough.  I never realised that a church I cycle past regularly near my home in North London is actually Islington Arts Factory.  Angela Slocumbe has a residency with her Carnival project "Glorious Backstage Arts" that focuses on training young people in all aspects of the craft of Mas from design to performing arts.  When I arrived dance rehearsals were underway, being filmed by ITN News to be broadcast later that evening.  Like me they were interested in the aspect of how each band is funded to take part in Europe's biggest street festival which is totally free to attend.  In addition to Arts Council funding, the main asset is time volunteered to teach, make and participate.  By becoming a member your fee contributes to the final sum to cover the costs of getting a truck and sound system on the road.  If you enjoy watching the Carnival every year, whoever you are, wherever you are, discover your local mas band and get in touch to actually take part.  No doors are closed, the only way they can continue is by the numbers involved.  At GBA you can even get a taster as an evening dance class on Friday run by choreographer Daniel who recommends it as a fitness class in as much as learning the moves!     

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