Caribbean Carnival

Derby West Indian Community Association's (DWICA) Chair, Solomon 'Ricky' Walters, felt the community needed to build a cultural legacy in Derby. In 1975, after tireless fundraising and planning, DWICA held their first 'Festival' of Caribbean culture at Moorways.

The festival grew into Derby Caribbean Carnival with processions from the city centre to Normanton Park and, later, Osmaston Park. With a history of international artists performing, it has become a flagship event in the city's summer calendar.

As a spectator, it is impossible to understand the year-round work required to make carnival happen - not just the rehearsing and costume making, but the sharing of skills, passing on of heritage and support of carnival makers. DWICA is connected regionally, nationally and internationally through its carnival making, heritage and educational work.

Carnival video

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    The Heritage and Legacy Carnival Costume reflects the history of the Association, the breadth of its activities and how its year long work over the decades, and the tireless work of its (mainly volunteer) staff makes Derby Caribbean carnival possible. It shows the depiction of the building of the West Indian Community in Derby and the transmission of West Indian culture.

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    The Costume shows the development and achievements of people from the Caribbean who moved to Britain since the 1940’s and up to the present day. It demonstrates the building of a social, family and community life to support unity and survival in a foreign land. DWICA established a Community Centre to support their activities, as a place to congregate and share common purposes and act as a facility for other communities.

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    The Carnival Costume shows DWICA logo and its various activities such as cricket, darts and dominoes. The colours of carnival costume; orange, gold/yellow and blue represent the strength, the spontaneity and cheerfulness of the West Indian Peoples.

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    The feathers represent strength, hope, freedom and spirit.  We celebrate our freedom. - Designed by Samantha Hudson, DWICA and Steven Hoyte of Rampage. Constructed by Steven Hoyte and DWICA Carnival Team.

The History

The Carnival has a rich history that traces its roots back to the vibrant traditions and cultural heritage of the Caribbean islands.


The Carnival through the decades

1970 - 1990

The early years when the carnival was born! Take a look through the gallery of when it all began.


2000 - 2020

Explore the costumes from how they were made to the final result, as well as the Kings & Queens over these twenty years.


2021 - PRESENT

We take a step through the 2022 carnival in its stages - from last rehearsals to the BBQ stalls!


Derby Carnival 2022

Development of Costumes

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    2007 - Costume Making

    Hard at work creating the 2007 costume! See the result on the next photo...

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    2007 - Final Costume

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    2012 - OLYMPIC – worn by Charlene Stephenson

    This costume popped like a firework in a year of celebrations. 2012 was the year of the London Olympics, the Queen’s Jubilee and the 50th anniversary of the independence of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago. The costume’s pinks oranges and blues represent the shooting sparkles of fireworks as they light up the sky. The Olympics bring people together and celebrate the best of the best, like Caribbean Carnival, uniting people as one. Olympic troupe member ©SoShain Bali

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    2012 - INDEPENDENCE — worn by Alice Burton

    The costume represents the Jamaica national bird, known as "Dr bird”. The swallowtail hummingbird of Jamaica is the most outstanding of 320 species. It is brightly coloured in aqua blue, shimmering emerald green and black. The hummingbird’s characteristics are its long tail and pointed beak. The beautiful colours are set out like the paradise from whence it came. The flaming red forest flower on the costume represents the national flower of Trinidad & Tobago, who were also celebrating their 50th year of independence. Image: the Independence troupe © Soshain Bali

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    2014 - ART QUEEN - worn by Maureen Mosley

    A riot of paints and brushes bringing a vibrant splash of colour to the road and communicating the joy of making, and wearing, art. Maureen Mosley and Troupe ©SoShain Bali

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    2015 - FREEDOM OF YOUTH - Worn by Tamara Rashford

    DESIGNED BY JESSICA KEMP & LAURA HILL This costume is a reflection on young women, nurtured by their community and families, who spread their wings and, with the exuberance of youth, start a journey. Exploring new horizons and their aspirations. Young women of Derby the sky is your limit. Image: Laura and Tamara during costume development ©SoShain Bali

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    2015 - WIDSOM IN MATURITY – worn by Maureen Mosley

    With this costume we positively celebrated the Mature Women in our society. Appreciating and admiring the wealth of knowledge and skills gained over time through life’s experiences. The costume is made up of many layers representing every personal experience, event and memory amassed over time. The rich gold colours reflect the wealth of knowledge which lies hidden beneath. Scratch the surface and you will find treasure. Image: Maureen Mosely making her costume ©SoShain Bali

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    2015 - MOTHERHOOD – worn by Margaret Benjamin

    The costume displays special maternal qualities of motherhood. Within her wings we find warmth and protection from the outside world in our most tender years. The heart of this mother burn bright with unconditional love, and as she opens her wings to set her children free, she offers her embrace to the community, radiating her love. Image: Jess and Margaret during costume development ©SoShain Bali

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    2016 - MAKING WAVES

    The Queen of the Coral Reef is making waves to send a message out around the world. Like her net skirt, fishermen are dragging up seabeds, destroying sea life in search for profits. Our demands on the sea comes at a high price and our excessive pollutants destroy habitats and wildlife. This costume uses recycled materials, included plastics, which instead of clogging up the oceans create something beautiful. Our Queen celebrates the colourful beauty of our delicate coral reefs, clear waters and vibrant marine creatures. Long may she reign. Image: and troupe ©SoShain Bali

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    THE GOLDEN LOTUS - worn by Margaret Benjamin

    A celebration of art and culture embedded in a spectrum of colour and light, reflecting our diverse communities. The lotus is a symbol of our journey to enlightenment because it is born out of murky waters. The 4 colours within the flower represent these precious values: honour and respect; love and compassion; wisdom and knowledge and inner peace and fulfilment. These values combine and colours turn to become gold, symbolising true enlightenment. The rainbow extends out to the community to nurture and encourage positivity and community spirit. Image©SoShain Bali

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    Our King represents father figures within our community. Drawing on the qualities of the male Seahorse who, contrary to traditional ideas of parenting, carries, protects and gives birth to his offspring. Our King reflects and embodies the Seahorse’s positive attributes. He is strong and powerful, yet caring and nurturing. With armour to defend and protect his family, they can find shelter within his gentle embrace. Images ©SoShain Bali

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    2016 - PRINCE OF THE SEA — Worn by Niaz Stephenson

    This spirited young prince is full of life. He is heir to the throne, but until such time, the world is his oyster. There are adventures to be had and discoveries to be made all whilst dancing amongst the waves. Let us do all we can to secure his future, by taking care of his environment, the ocean kingdom. Images ©SoShain Bali

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    INDEPENDENCE - Worn by Alice Burton

    Costume Title: "Independence" Construction: Jessica Kemp, Laura Hill & DWICA Mas Team Creation in progress, see the complete costume on the next image...

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    INDEPENDENCE - Worn by Alice Burton

    The costume represents the Jamaica National Bird, known as "Dr Bird" The swallow tail Humming Bird of Jamaica is the most outstanding of 320 species. It is brightly coloured in aqua blue, shimmering emerald green and black. The Humming Birds characteristics are its long tail and pointed beak. The beautiful colours are set out like the paradise from whence it came. The flaming red forest flower on the costume represents the National Flower of Trinidad & Tobago, who are also celebrating their 50th year of independence.