History

Beat Carnival (the Beat Initiative) has been at the forefront of carnival arts in Northern Ireland since its inception in 1993. Since then Beat has been providing education programmes; development and work facilities; and producing carnival parades and large-scale performances involving thousands of people each year. Many of the carnivals and parades you have enjoyed over the years will have been Beat Carnival creations, although they were often branded in other ways (for example as the Lord Mayor's Parade or Belfast Carnival). Beat Carnival is unique in the Northern Ireland marketplace due to the scale of events we provide in terms of audience and artist participation, float construction, creation of props and costume and the high level of artist expertise.

Since 1995 Beat has created and produced many of the annual Belfast Carnival Parades with over 1,000 costumed participants, spectacular floats, and music and professional performers. From 2006, Beat has been expanding the summer carnival programmes to include residencies with international performers such as Moleque De Rua, Brazil; Shademakers, Germany; Barak Schmool, London; Les Grandes Personnes, France; Grupo Bongar, Brazil; and Mestres Nation, Brazil. The residencies in the weeks prior to the carnival events have participatory outreach sessions and small-scale local performances as well as artists’ masterclasses. Carnival day includes an on-site finale performance after the carnival parade and a celebratory evening music event, or more recently, an afternoon programme of entertainment and interactive workshops.