45,000 people make Cowley Road Carnival the most successful ever

Tuesday, 07 July 2015

Cowley Road Carnival 1

The East Oxford Community came out in their tens of thousands to celebrate the Cowley Road Carnival on Sunday (5 July).

Oxford Brookes was the lead sponsor for this year’s Carnival and to coincide with the institution’s 150th anniversary celebrations.  The University set the theme for the procession – the traditional beginning of the carnival - and supported organisers in the run-up to the carnival with outreach and fundraising events. 

The carnival is a great opportunity to celebrate what our vibrant community has to offer and with 2015 being our 150th year, it has been particularly special working closely with our local community.

Prof Alistair Fitt, Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University

The festivities were led by hundreds of musicians, dancers and performers on stages and at venues all the way along the Cowley Road from the Plain to Magdalen Road, as well as other adjacent areas.  With so much to see and do there was something for everyone in the most diverse area of Oxford with 45,000 people visitors making this the most successful Carnival yet. 

The procession, with the theme 'Creating Our Future' to reflect Oxford Brookes’ dedication to equipping students not only for their own future careers but for their wider contribution to society, was led by Brookie the Oxford Brookes mascot and the Rhythm Craft project which made musical instruments from recycled materials. 

Creating Our Future at Cowley Road Carnival

A parade of 150 stories, which were taken from the pages of Oxford Brookes’ anniversary book Celebrating 150 Years, joined Brookie and a Brookes graduate on stilts. The digital version of the University’s special anniversary book can now be found online too.

There were 34 groups in the procession. Many of them school children who had been working on their costumes and giant-sized structures for months. Community, dance and music groups also joined which included Nepalese and West Papua and local favourites Sol Samba and Horns of Plenty. 

Cowley Road Carnival procession

Professor Alistair Fitt, Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes said: “Oxford Brookes was extremely proud to have been so heavily involved in this year’s event which was a real success.

“The carnival is a great opportunity to celebrate what our vibrant community has to offer and with 2015 being our 150th year, it has been particularly special working closely with our local community. 

“We are already looking forward to what next year’s carnival will have to offer.”

Over in the Brookes Zone on Manzil Way, some extra-special family activities were underway which included a Wheel of Fortune game, a bookworm competition and a time capsule activity. 

Wheel of Fortune in the Brookes zone

Visitors to the Victorian area were also invited to discover what Oxford Brookes was like when it first began teaching as the Oxford School of Art in 1865. 

Chief organiser and executive director of Cowley Road Works Danielle Battigelli said: “This has been a wonderful year for carnival. It all went really well. It was diverse in the true sense of the word with people from all ages and backgrounds joining in.

She added: “Carnival takes a year of planning with other events and activities over the 12 months leading up to the big day. If you came, had fun and enjoyed your day, please do make a donation. It is very important for people to help us meet our costs of £120,000. You can donate through the Big Give link or go to our website www.cowleyroadcarnival.co.uk.”