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The 12th and 13th October saw the second outing for ArtReach’s Night of Festivals. Once again, City Arts was at the heart of this event, with Alison Denholm managing two days of carnival, and the City Arts Dome on the festival site. Night of Festivals Boston was delivered in partnership with Transported, a new three-year project for the area.
Carnival experts Mandinga Arts and Paraiso brought colour and magic to the streets, but even they could stave off the rain. On the first day of the festival people dodged the showers and saw music in the Dome, the surreal costumes of Mandinga and Paraiso’s energic dancing. However, that night the rain came down and when the crew arrived on site in the morning it was obvious no one was going to enjoy spending time on the park, which had now turned into a muddy bog.
Still the artists, participants, performers and volunteers were not going to be deterred by a few (thousand) drops of rain. The Transported team have been based in an empty shop unit over the summer, delivering engagement and arts programmes, and the team relocated many of the performances and story telling into here. All the carnival groups carried on regardless. Paraiso were soaked on all but one of their performances, but still played and danced as if they were in Rio. The Mandinga puppets looked electric against the grey skies, and the participants involved with the Mandinga parades let nothing get in their way. Each outing gathered more and more attention, and it was clear that Boston had not seen anything like this before but was delighted that it was here now. Stilt-walkers, giant skeletons, dancers, musicians in rickshaws all did much to warm the heart, even if the feet were freezing!
The warm welcome of Boston, and the energy of everyone involved made sure that nothing dampens the spirit of Carnival.