Arts & Culture Cowley

A colossal carnival for the Cowley Road

By John Charlton

Organisers of the Cowley Road Carnival have declared the Colossal Cowley Road Carnival as the best one ever attended by crowds estimated at over 50,000 people, with a more diverse range of performance and programming over more stages and venues than ever before.

The Big Weekend began with a launch event – Colossus Awakes – a massive pyrotechnic display in South Park. Colossus escaped the Park to be found the next day at the head of the procession.

Over 30 community groups and schools took part in the procession with the theme ‘Technology and Industry’.

The festival had a new layout, with festivalgoers spread all round the site which stretched from the Plain to the Global Dance Stage at the Asian Cultural Centre, the Discovery zone at the Church of St Mary & St John and the City Arms where local indie bands performed, staged by students of the SAE college.


Photo by Koroush Khorshadi

Johannah Aynsley, Executive Director of Cowley Road Works “it was great, an incredible atmosphere, relaxed and laid-back family friendly. Audience flow around the site worked well with traders happy with the new layout.”

Owen Acland, Centre Manager at Templars Square, there with the mascot Templeton said: “Yesterday was a great day and lovely to see so many people out enjoying themselves. Templeton made three appearances and gave hundreds of balloons out to many children who enjoyed seeing him and having their photo taken with him.”


Photo by Laura Greene

Oxford Brookes University brought two robots to Carnival. Artie the humanoid robot stayed at the Brookes zone while his brother Martie took part in the procession. Andrea Siret Head of Alumni and Community Engagement, said: “Oxford Brookes staff, students and alumni joined in the fun at Cowley Road Carnival by engaging with a record number of visitors at our Brookes Zone and taking part in the procession “


Photo by Koroush Khorshadi

The day owes much of its success to the team of nearly 100 volunteers who help to organise the day. Anna Poulton, Volunteer Coordinator said: “I would like to say a thank you to our amazing volunteer team it was great to have so many people contributing to Carnival”

Main Photo by Koroush Khorshadi