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Museum of Oxford Digital Exhibitions

Cowley Road Carnival


Women in costume at Cowley Road Carnival, 2016.

Every year, Cowley Road bursts to life as the site of a large carnival.

Since the early 2000s, a procession has made its way along the Cowley Road and revellers have come to enjoy the music and food.

Cowley Road Carnival, however, is not the first carnival to grace the streets of East Oxford. A Caribbean Carnival, initially set up as part of a common wealth celebration, ran from 1986 to the mid 1990s.

Click below to hear from some of the people who have been involved with carnival in East Oxford over the years.


Two large puppets join the procession at Cowley Road Carnival, 2013.

Listen to Peter Williams talking about the Horns of Plenty, a Community Street band that often plays at Cowley Road Carnival.

Hear Groovy Su talking about costume- and art-making workshops.

Find out from Pax Nindi how the spirit of Cowley Road Carnival was kept alive during the pandemic.

Learn about the original Caribbean Carnival of 1986 from Junie James.