Games Monitor

Skip to main content.

Cultural Olympiad or Olympics Cull?

According to the BBC:
Giant carnival held by 2012 hosts

A giant carnival has been held in east London to celebrate Hackney's role as a host borough for the 2012 Olympics. Fifteen carnival groups joined together in One Carnival, a free day of music and street entertainment. A parade moved through the borough before culminating in performances outside Hackney's Town Hall. The event also marked the opening days of the Cultural Olympiad, which is showcasing the UK's arts and culture in the run up to the London Olympics..."

But in the same way that the Athletes' Village legacy housing would have been built anyway, doesn't Hackney's flagship Cultural Olympiad launch event fit into the 'would have happened anyway' category too? And let's face it, this time they can't say "yes but it's happening sooner"!

Dalston-based community and arts centre Centerprise had been organising the Hackney 'Mare de Gras' carnival annually in September for the past 10 years, until their funding was cut earlier this year.

Then suddenly Hackney Carnival is billed as if it's sprung out of nowhere to "celebrate the Cultural Olympiad" and is run by CREATE08, the Olympic boroughs' "group aimed at promoting art, culture, festivals and performance leading up to the 2012 Games".

Last years event had 16 groups taking part, 11 from Hackney, 5 from outside. This year's re-badged event had 15 and, no doubt, a much bigger budget.

Here's a video of the carnival that never happened - Hackney, September 2007.

But trust Tessa Jowell, it's not just "absolute nonsense" but "categoric nonsense" to suggest the Carnival might have taken place this year as well, without being recycled into a propaganda vehicle for London 2012.
Or as Hackney Council's tender document for this years carnival puts it - to "Engender a sense of ownership over the 2012 games through the development and delivery of Hackney One Carnival in celebrating the launch of the Cultural Olympiad". And you thought it was just another Carnival?


| | |