Coventry will be treated to a light fantastic this November when a procession of music and light trails its way into the city centre along one of the city’s most iconic roads.
Carnival of Lights, which is being presented by the Coventry City of Culture Trust, and supported by Coventry City Council and Coventry BID, will take place on Sunday, November 3 and will thrill people all along Foleshill Road from 5.15pm before completing its journey in Broadgate at around 6.30pm.
The spectacular procession will include a music float, dhol drummers, stilt-walkers, illuminated umbrellas, a beautiful lotus flower float, as well as 100 lanterns.
The lanterns will be made with the local community at workshops in the run up to the event which will be run by artists from Foleshill Creates.
Carnival of Lights, which is inspired by Diwali, is part of Coventry City of Culture Trust’s programme of events in the run up to 2021 and forms part of a series of festive activities that the Trust is either organising or supporting this autumn and winter.
The Trust is working with Remarkable Productions, which is experienced in delivering similar events, as well as Coventry-based music producer, Sunit, who is programming a series of musical artists for the music float. Arts company Nutkhut will provide other elements of the show, such as the illuminated Lotus Flower float.
Chenine Bhathena, Creative Director at Coventry City of Culture Trust, said: “Created with communities and artists in Coventry, Carnival of Lights will be a spectacular celebration to mark the start of the busy festive season.
“Inspired by Diwali, the festival of lights celebrated across many of our communities, this procession will include live music, dazzling dancing, soulful singing and hundreds of lanterns, produced by Nutkhut and Remarkable Productions.
“This will be a secular, family event with thousands of people expected to line the streets processing along the historic Foleshill Road, across the ring road and around the city centre, with a musical finale in Broadgate.
“It’s great to see this new festive celebration, that fuses creativity with hope and faith, and brings our many communities together to welcome in the dark winter nights.”
Carnival of Lights will see rolling closure of the Foleshill Road through the duration of the event. Affected residents and business are being informed by letter and invitation to the event.
It will start at the Foleshill Community Centre at 5.15pm before travelling along Foleshill Road, arriving in Broadgate at around 6.30pm, with performances continuing in the city centre until 7pm.
Cllr Abdul Salam Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council and Cabinet Member responsible for events, said: “I am delighted to see the Carnival of Lights become a part of city life.
“It takes inspiration from celebrations such as Diwali and Christmas, with people celebrating side by side, regardless of faith, race, age or background, from Foleshill right into the city centre.
“Coventry is made of many different communities from all over the world who bring their own traditions and festivals to share with us so we can all enjoy them as one. That makes a very strong city and a very vibrant one and it is one of the reasons why we were awarded the title of UK City of Culture 2021.
“I am sure the Carnival of Lights will become a popular date on our city’s calendar and will be bringing people together for many years to come, and that is what our reign as UK City of Culture is all about – building a legacy and creating an even better Coventry for the residents of the future.”
Councillor Ram Lakha OBE has been involved in the planning of the event, partly through his role with Mercia Lions – which is part of an international network of volunteers that serves its local community.
He said: “I am very grateful to Coventry City of Culture Trust and its management for bringing this kind of event back to the streets of Coventry.
“The Carnival of Lights is very colourful and brings positive energy into the community with the thought of victory of light and enlightenment over the evil darkness of ignorance.
“There is desire within the community to enjoy this as part of multicultural society. We - as proud citizens of Coventry - are happy to enjoy an event inspired by Diwali as part of our Coventry culture.
“I am hopeful that this will grow even bigger and better as we approach the year 2021 and will carry on in future as part of the legacy of City of Culture.”
Lantern workshops are taking place during half-term week at St Pauls Church Foleshill Rd, on Tuesday 22 October, Thursday 24 October and Friday 25 October at 10:30-12:30 and Foleshill Community Centre on Saturday 2 November at 11:30-1:30 and 2:30-4:30.
For more information on the workshops or the event itself, go to www.coventry2021.co.uk
The full list of artists and performers is: Flavours of Coventry float, featuring: Shivam, Jayden, Hitesh Joshi, Lyra, Heenay, Raina.Bolly Brollies, Juggy Rihal, Lotus Flower, Masterclass Dhol Drummers, Stilt Walkers from Nutkhut, plus lanterns created by local participants.