45 Years of Luton International Carnival

“Never have we needed carnival more than we need it now. Though we can’t have the large street vibe, we continue to keep the creative carnival spirit alive.” - Clary Salandy, Artistic Director of UKCCA


Luton International Carnival celebrated 45 years on the 30th May 2021, sadly without our much-loved procession, cancelled for a second year due to COVID restrictions. However, we hosted an online celebration giving you a snapshot of Luton’s long history of parade celebrations.


Revisit our social media celebration of past carnivals, the people, the costumes and the communities. 

Carnival, as we now know it, with its international flavours, has been traced back to 1976, as part of the Victorian Fayre, which held a procession to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Luton becoming a Borough. In 1998 Luton Carnival acquired International status building its reputation as a carnival town and becoming the largest one-day Carnival in the UK. In 2012 saw it move from May to July to coincide with the arrival of the Olympic Torch in Luton, cementing its national artistic and cultural importance.

To share your memories of Carnival with us, send your pictures, videos and stories to

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With impact of the ongoing global pandemic, UKCCA, with support from Arts Council England’s Cultural Recovery Fund and London Luton Airport Limited, are creating opportunities for people to engage online showcasing the creative talents of local and renowned carnival artists, and the contribution of community groups, organisations and schools.

We have FREE creative activities and learning resources available, so log on and create your own Carnival at home or school.

As lock down eases, we have several surprises planned with a finale carnival birthday celebration ‘The National Children’s Carnival week 12 th – 18 th July’. The groups are beavering away to bring the spectacle of Luton carnival to life.