News Post

Leeds West Indian Carnival and Black Music Festival 2016

Dancer at West Indian Carnival

The Reggae Festival and Leeds West Indian Carnival have become one of the highlights of the calendar for many people in and around the city, and for good reason! Vibrant, colourful and full of fun, the carnival and music festival bring August bank holiday to life. The Reggae Festival has been renamed this year to Leeds Black Music Festival to better describe the eclectic mix of black music on offer, but it’s still the same party! This week we’re going to share a little of the history of the event along with a rundown of what you can expect over the weekend.


The carnival will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, which makes it the longest running West Indian carnival in Europe. Founded by Arthur France (who received an MBE in 1997 for his work on the event) and Ian Charles, as a celebration of the growing Caribbean community in the area.

In 1985 the Reggae Festival was introduced to Potternewton Park to extend the celebration over the whole bank holiday weekend. In the 30 years it’s been running it’s developed into one of the finest one-day festivals for black music in the world.

The Carnival 2016

The carnival leaves Potternewton Park at around 2pm on Monday 29th August and makes its way down Harehills Avenue, Harehills Lane, Roundhay Road, Barack Road and Chapeltown Road before finally completing the circle back down Harehills Avenue. Turn up early and pick a spot along the route to watch the action. You’ll be treated to countless floats and dance troupes dressed so spectacularly and playing such incredible music that it’ll be almost impossible for you to keep your dancing feet still!

Black Music Festival 2016 – 28th August

A new name but the same great atmosphere, wonderful music and delicious food as before – Potternewton Park is the perfect venue for this celebration of Leeds’ black culture and community. One of the best free concerts in the UK, the festival will feature such artists as General Levy, Kofi and Robert Browne, as well as a special treat from the headline act, Third World.

With music, Caribbean food and stalls to entertain you, how could you be anywhere else for the bank holiday!

We recommend that you leave your car with us at Trafalgar Street and walk or take public transport, because it’s almost impossible to get parked close to Potternewton Park for either event.