This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Cosmopolitan Carnival, a remarkable free arts festival in the city centre, celebrating the vast and vibrant cultural melting pot that makes up Leicester.

Taking over the city centre on Saturday 18th August, the carnival aims to highlight Leicester’s varied cultures through the arts, and celebrate Leicester being one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country.

BBC Radio Leicester’s Kevin Ncube will compeer the main stage in Jubilee Square, while an impressive line up of live music, dance and art will take place in various locations across the city. Artists include Leicester’s very own sensational Tanni Browne and the Ankh Band; Canadian hip hop duo NiLLa and the Ghettosocks, performing as part of their European tour; funk band the Funk Soul Collective; the Tony Webster Band, playing lively Latin jazz, and many more.

The finale performance of the day will be Cosmocular, taking place in Jubilee Square from 8.45pm to 9.45pm. This extraordinary performance will revolve around the universal understanding of love, and was conceived, managed and artistically directed by Amanda Leandro of Cosmopolitan Arts. The story will unfold using a powerful combined arts approach, blending traditional and world instruments with digital sound, spoken word by local wordsmith Mr Shay, rap and vocals – punctuated with vibrant, large scale, projected animation created by Barret Hodgson, a breathtaking Cyr wheel acrobatic performance by Fiona Thronhill, and contemporary dance. This unique performance will captivate and entertain its audience, showcasing Leicester’s most talented artists alongside national and international artists.

Of the other stages at the carnival, one of the more prominent is The Clock Tower stage. Compered by Leicester funny man Billy O’Keeffe, and will host a vast array of cultural music, comedy and spoken word, including: Andrea Kenny from the Brandy Thieves, who will perform her well known songs; Euphoria, a four piece Chinese folk group; Ian Hall, winner of the Best New Show in 2014 at Dave’s Leicester Comedy Festival; and Lydia Unsudimi, a wonderful vocalist based in Leicester.

This year there is also a Youth Music stage, featuring Leicester’s most talented young musicians and artists. Cosmopolitan Arts youth music students will perform jazz, blues and pop, Vocal Tech will bring amazing singing and fantastic musician skills, HQ Familiar’s talented young artists will bring uplifting energy, and 2Funky Arts will bring their dazzling Project Live artists down to perform to headline the stage.      

On the High Street there will be an exciting blend of activities and performances, including a vibrant dance performance area hosting every imaginable genre of dance. There will be African drumming workshops, brass band performances from the Southfields Concert Brass Band and fun activities. There will be a children’s area with free arts and crafts, comedy performances, and a circus skills workshop, as well as face painting, stalls and fair rides, making it a great day out for all the family.

The Cosmopolitan Carnival will take place on Saturday 18th August. For more information, visit

Emily Burke is an English Literature student at the University of Leicester who constantly wishes she was still living in the North. Her interests include Law & Order and gravy.

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