Leeds Welcome | Carnival costumes fit for a king

Carnival costumes fit for a king

Colourful carnival costumes dancing, weaving and waving their way to Potternewton Park, is a firm highlight in the city’s bank holiday calendar. Carnival founder, Arthur France, spoke to Leeds Welcome about the driving force behind one of our favourite Leeds traditions.

Arthur France working on Leeds Carnival costumes

Spear heading the efforts in the run up to carnival is something which Arthur clearly relishes but a mammoth task he couldn’t do by himself; “It’s a collaborative process driven by me. I have three generations of my family involved, my daughter Mahalia who designs and supports the organisation and my granddaughter Lena who is designing and making the prince costume.”

Some of the other dedicated team members included Simon Turner and his partner Sarah Mason, who have been working on the carnival king costume for nearly three months. They have even taken time off work for this final push.

This work is undoubtedly demanding and takes strength of mind/ something which Arthur explains also applies to the creative process; “It takes a lot. You come up with the design, then you work on it tirelessly with your imagination. The concept is delivered through materials creating a structure then adding decorative sequins and finishing touches.”

Leeds Carnival king costume

And although for Arthur it’s all about the finishing touches, for costumes such as carnival king and queen’s Simon tells us that it’s all about drama; “Bigger brighter,the more feathers the better.”

With so much work going into the costumes, it’s no wonder that everyone involved gets an overwhelming sense of satisfaction and pride seeing the reaction of the crowd; “It brings a lot of happiness to see so many people enjoying them and making such a contribution to the community.”

Another helping hand

Community is something which holds a massive place in Arthur’s heart however, Arthur is also in the hearts of the community. His dedication for bringing everyone together for this special day has even seen head of Trinidad carnival, David Lopez, fly in especially to speak with him.

This Bank Holiday Monday celebrate with Arthur and the crowds for an event which the man himself sums up beautifully; “it’s all about one love

You can find the carnival route and more information here.

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