Brighton's Carnival Collective celebrate 25 years together.

Carnival Collective by Liz Seacombe
Carnival Collective by Liz Seacombe

Carnival Collective, Brighton’s 21st Century Big Band, is partying big time on Friday, November 29 as they celebrate 25 years together.

They are marking a journey from carnival street band to drum and bass orchestra and Brighton’s “biggest, baddest, glitteriest party band”.

Kate Darach, one of the collective’s musical directors, said: “We’re including a number of amazing bands whose members have been part of our journey. Special guests include Bring Your Own Brass (London), Along Came Shifty, SambaYaBamba (Glasgow), Boogalooniverse, Bloco Branco, Sambaoke, Roxalas, Barulho plus DJs, plus CC’s own infamous blend of huge percussive rhythms, hot brass, lush vocals and dirty bass, playing original live DnB, samba, jungle, ska, Latin, funk, hip hop and more.

“We’re making a night of it. The event kicks off at 7pm at Coalition, but the party doesn’t stop there. The audience will then follow a marching Samba band through the streets of Brighton to our second venue, Komedia, where we’ll be having it from 11pm until late. There’ll be merch, cake, glitter station, prize giveaways and more.”

Tickets will cover both venues and are available on the Komedia website.

“We are so proud of our history in the city, as an inclusive, not-for-profit, community-interest group, collectively organised without management that’s nonetheless released several albums, and played gigs, events and stages across the UK and further - from Glastonbury’s Shangri-Hell Stage to Brighton Pride Main Stage, from Bestival’s Caravanserai to Glasgow’s Encontro. This year we won a place on Funk and Soul Weekender’s Main Stage with a public vote of over 3,000.”

Kate joined CC around eight years ago and loves its non-hierarchical approach and sharing of responsibilities.

“I first saw them when I came down to Brighton. It’s a very eclectic mix of a huge samba batteria, the percussion section, with a horn section, but it is also driven by a drum and bass dance sensibility. There are keys and bass. It’s a real mixture of music from jungle to ska, from funk to swing. And it never fails to get the audience up on its feet.

“I love the people. We feel like a big family with all the good and bad things that comes with that, but there is a lot of love there, the fact that we all pull together to make it work and the fact that it is such a community. It is the fact that everyone is so passionate about it.

“We have got about 40 members, but we usually gig with between 17 and 25. It is a big show. We are very visual as well. There is dance and there is costume. It is great to see.”

The longest serving member currently is Rachael Tribe who has been a member since 2004: “People do come and go. It is quite transient. But I have stayed because I love it. I love learning the new rhythms, but I also love hanging around with people that I consider my extended family. We have all known each other for such a long time, and the gigs are just so brilliant. I have loved the opportunity to gig all over the country.”

One of the great ongoing highlights has been Glastonbury: “We have done 15 years’ worth of Glastonbury. Having the backstage access and camping there is great and meeting up with other bands and people that you see once a year.

“But really it is just such a community. It is a really good bunch of people. They are really passionate about having a good time and doing their best. I am sure I will still be here when I am 80… and I am half way there!”

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