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Bermondsey Carnival: All you need to know

Bermondsey Carnival is proving it’s still Young at heart with ‘80s icon Paul Young set to take the Southwark Park stage,  writes Laura Burgoine…

Best known for hit singles Love of the Common People and Wherever I lay my Hat, the headliner for this year’s event is performing an exclusive gig for carnival-goers as part of his latest tour, which only includes one other London show.

The lively musical line-up, courtesy of Bermondsey Beat, also features local reggae group Indika, Motown trio The Aim, as well as a return from internationally renowned performance group Kinetika Bloco, who promise to reign on the carnival parade.

As part of the Big Dance weekend, local dancers, musicians and entrepreneur Laura Erwin have created the SE16 Dance Hall: a lively stage showcasing the best local dancers where people can join in a range of dance style from contemporary to Zumba!

Bargain-hunters can search for hidden treasure in the Rumble in the Jungle mass jumble sale, while rides and games promise to keep people on their toes.


On the bandstand:

6.30pm – Paul Young

This year’s hotly anticipated headliner Paul Young is bringing the ‘80s back to the bandstand.

Paul cemented his place in British chart history with his debut release No Parlez, which went platinum, three UK Number One albums, and a string of classic pop hits. In 1985 Paul was awarded a Brit award for best British male. His best known singles  Love of the Common People, Wherever I Lay My Hat, Come Back and Stay, Everytime You Go Away and Everything Must Change all hit the top 10 and continue to be played across the airwaves.

The internationally acclaimed singer is constantly touring the UK and Europe. In April he released his solo album Good Thing, a collection of Soul tunes that have inspired his career.


4.50pm – Indika

Fresh from touring with the legendary Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Indika will take music lovers on a journey through the history of reggae, lending their vast experience to much loved Reggae classics aided by special guests, including Dennis Bovell: pioneer of the UK lovers rock genre, and Dave Barker, who’s famous for ground-breaking reggae hits Double Barrel and Monkey Spanner.


3.35pm – The Aim

Lively and energetic, the Aim fuses Ska, Indie, and Pop into a catchy, poppy brew. A number of tracks from their latest album What a way to earn a Living have earned them positive reviews and airplay on various radio stations.

Most recently they were chief support to two-tone legends The Beat on their recent UK tour.


SE16 Big Dance Hall

For its fourth year, the SE16 Big Dance Hall brings together exciting community and professional groups across a range of styles and ages. A number of the groups also run dance classes in the area.

Sierra Leone Group

Brunswick Park Primary

Albion Primary School

– Gifted dancers from Year 4 and 5 at Albion have been working together with Dance Teacher Matthew Eaton on a Street Dance piece based on self-belief, courage and the importance of being unique.


– Urban Fusion uses contemporary urban and south Asian dance themes to present a picture of urban life, from the tranquillity to the upheavals of day to day in a city.

Katie Higgins 

– BA students from London Studio Centre perform Smash Bang Changalang: a contemporary piece inspired by Charleston, challenging pre-conceived ideas about contemporary by creating a fun and light hearted piece.

Kinetika Bloco

– Energetic and colourful carnival troop will perform and lead a taster workshop.

MIA Dancers:

Moving into Age

– Led by teacher Suzy Mills, MIA perform two dances using Jazz and Broadway inspiration. The workshop includes salsa, cha cha cha, and jazz dance.

Open dance-fitness class at St. Matthews Hall, Meadow Row SE1, Wednesdays 1pm – 2:30pm.

Dance Network Association

– DANCE RIO is a mass choreography project with 500 dancers from Barking/Dagenham.

Creation: Jennifer Irons, lead artists: Lucy Blazheva, Lisa Warnock, Harlow College dance captains, music: Dan Beats

Future Essence

– Led by teacher Sabrina McDuff, a versatile piece, based around street, house and afrobeats.

Classes at the Hollington Youth Centre. Street and Freestyle 4.30-5.45pm Mondays (age 4-8) and Tuesdays (age 9+), Tap and Musical on Thursdays 4-5pm ages 3-7 years, 5-6pm ages 8-12 years.

The Quay Players

– Chorus and solo numbers from the group’s upcoming summer musical Oliver!

A community theatre group based in Bermondsey /London Bridge, rehearsing Tuesdays 7.30pm-9.30pm, St Anne’s Hall, Bermondsey. All welcome!

Katie Higgins

– BA students from London Studio Centre perform Smash Bang Changalang, a contemporary piece inspired by Charleston, challenging pre-conceived ideas about contemporary by creating a fun and light hearted piece.

Cali Swing UK

– Performing a salsa and a chachacha.

Carragher Academy

– Irish dance group established in Bermondsey since 2002 by sisters Sarah and Jessica Carragher with Assistant Teacher Monica Larking. Beormund Centre, Abbey St, Tuesday and Thursday, Beginners: 5-6pm, Advanced: 6-8pm.

Traveller + the bear

– Band members Brodie McBride, Chloe Spinks, Melissa Saphra play new and original tracks from their upcoming EP and a few crowd favourites.

Gotitas de Sabor

– After a recent trip to Colombia, The World Lati n Cup UK Finalists perform new pieces including folklore, salsa, rumba and cha-cha. Rehearsing Saturdays 12.30pm-3:30pm. Wll welcome, no experience needed, age groups from 5-18.

Magpie Dance

– Magpie’s inclusive adult dance group comprising dancers with learning disabilities have been working with Complicite to make a piece with live music (drums). Highfliers (the training Company) have worked with Ben Duke (Lost Dog) to make And then there were Swans.

Elevate Arts

– Acton over 8s Saturday Street dance class perform a piece showcasing popping, locking and breaking. Classes 10-11am (ages 4-7), 11-12 (ages 8+). Delivering classes in ballet, street and contemporary for schools /community.

GDND Academy

– GDND Academy showcases the talents of its students who are currently crowd funding to attend the World Hip Hop Dance Championships in Las Vegas. GDND have many weekly classes for all ages.


– A fifteen minute set from YAZSTAR combining clean Hiphop/ Rap and dance and funky anthems. All produced and written by YAZSTAR.


– Rap artist, musician, song writer and poet with a Gospel style.  CDs include A New Beginning and Annointing To The Streets.  Through music, encouraging individuals to achieve, speaking of relevant issues and his Christian faith.

Zumba with Andee

– Andee will perform and deliver a workshop with a range of Zumba tracks, giving a taste of this fun way to keep fit and healthy.

Kinetika Bloco

– This energetic and colourful carnival troop will perform and lead a taster workshop.

GDND have many weekly classes for all ages.

Family activity area

Surrey Docks Farm

– Surrey Docks Mobile Farm is a fun attraction aiming to teach people about animals, how to care for them, and where our food comes from.

The mobile farm is a valuable tool in helping the farm connect the wider community with farming in a modern world. They have their own specialised horse-box, which allows them to comfortably and safely transport animals and set up a mini-farm offsite for community engagement.

Circus Antics

– With over 20 years’ experience working with people of all ages Circus Antics provides exciting workshops for all types of events. Participants are guaranteed to have fun whilst learning Circus Skills. In the workshops each individual will gain mind/body co-ordination, focus, a sense of achievement and partner and group co-operation. Circus Skills Workshops include a mixture of the following skills:

Juggling, Balls, Clubs, Rings, Scarves, Club and poi swinging, Diablo, Devil stick, Balancing Pole & Feathers, Staff Spinning, Plate spinning, Hat manipulation, Tight wire.


– Makendoo run painting and making workshops for children all over the UK and beyond, adding colour, creativity and an instant carnival atmosphere to any event. Children (and adults) of all ages can join in the fun, painting and making hats, masks and banners, which can be finished off with feathers, glitter and ribbons. Children leave the workshop carrying, wearing and waving their artworks as lasting souvenirs of a great day out. Their spring makes include spring flowers, birds, butterfly masks, caterpillars, bees, ladybirds and sunshine masks.

Daemon or Doppelganger

– Clay Workshop – Now in its 14th year, and with a contemporary “terracotta army” of about 50,000 figure’s faces and fantastic images made at a variety of festivals throughout the UK and Europe, the Daemon and Doppelganger workshops continue to astonish and delight wherever they go.

The Dave Chameleon Show 

-This charismatic trickster combines the high skills of the circus with the inspired comedy in his world renowned Street Theatre Show. Stood three metres above the ground, his slack rope finale is a feat of multitasking and dexterity as he balances, spins a ball and juggles three flashing blades!

Allin Kempthorne

– Multiple award winning children’s magician Allin Kempthorne is incredibly entertaining!

His amazing magician and circus skills, slick showmanship, boundless energy and infectious sense of fun all combine to make him one of the most sought after children’s entertainers in the country.


Other activities include:

  • Millwall FC Bus community scheme with giveaways, have-a-go sessions and a special visit from Zampa the Lion
  • Reuben Bonds traditional funfair
  • Friends of Southwark Park with traditional games
  • Storytelling from Southwark libraries
  • Food from around the globe
  • Secondhand and vintage market Rumble in the Jumble
  • Dockland Bellringers -if you’ve always fancied a pull

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