Why Whitley Bay Carnival Matters

Why Carnival matters to Whitley Bay

Since it’s revival in 2014 Whitley Bay Carnival has boosted the local economy, supported creativity in schools and community groups, sparked the development of community bands, enhanced the culture and community feel of the town and given birth to Salto Arts Productions a local charity dedicated to delivering the carnival and other meaningful community events and celebrations.

In hard cash terms the carnival has brought £466,000 in grants and commercial sponsorship for carnival projects along with an estimated £2,648,000 in visitor spend to the area (based on audience surveys and attendance numbers) … A boost to the local economy of over £3million (not including the funding from Big local or the value of support in kind from local business).

Free high quality creative dance and visual arts workshops are offered to 16 schools and youth organisations every year forming a key part of many schools creative offer to their students and families and involving a record 1500 children and young people in 2023. Around 10,000 children have benefited from these workshops since 2014. Free drop in costume sessions are offered every May opening the door to individuals from some of our most isolated to our eldest residents as well as broad family groups. Community music groups have been funded and nurtured by the carnival involving around 100 residents in regular rehearsals and performances.

A strong team of creative artists expert in carnival creation has developed around carnival. In 2023 we contracted 14 carnival artists and as Salto Arts commits to paying artists proper fees we make a significant impact to their annual income and on their ability to remain in the area. Carnival brings expert and specialist artists to work with us to share skills and boost our team’s skills, which in turn impacts on the artists offer to other clients. Salto Arts are continually connecting people, sharing contacts and giving support and advice on an informal basis alongside offering young artists training and opportunities.

Over 2,000 individuals were involved in the creation and performance of the 2023 Carnival. These are not audience members, they are people who have made costumes and big parade pieces at carnival clubs, in schools and in groups, they are the people who have rehearsed and danced, played the music, worn the costumes, carried and animated the structures, thought up the designs and ideas, collected the materials, delivered the publicity, stewarded the parade, volunteered as wardrobe mistresses, got things where they need to be, made the tea and more. Since 2014 we estimate more than 20,000 people have taken part. We entertained an estimated 30,000 audience members in 2023

Carnival supports local companies, keeping print, materials and services spend as close to home as possible.

Where has the money come from?

Whitley Bay Carnival has brought new money to the town over £190k in arts council funds more than £50k sponsorship and £40k earned income via traders, bars and fairground rides as well as £50k funds from North of Tyne Combined Authority in 2023.

The carnival track record of meaningful community engagement enabled Big Local to bid for Creative Civic Change funds for three years in 2019, bringing carnival £136,100 and a further £69,000 to the wider arts offer. That totals over half a million since 2015.

Carnival brings thousands of people to Whitley Bay. Initial surveys showed average spend in excess of 20 pounds per person implying a boost of hundreds of thousands to the local economy. In 2023 external evaluation indicated close to £1m boost with an average spend growing to £34 a head alongside many more overnight stays.

To continue to grow the carnival for the community we need support. We don’t want to lose the momentum we’ve built up since the pandemic.

​Next May 25th and 26th, 2024, we hope to be inviting Whitley Bay to take a leap out of the ordinary for the 11th Whitley Bay Carnival

For the first time we are starting from scratch to raise the matched funds we need to be able to apply for grants at the level we need to make it all happen
Tyne Tees Entertainments, TJ’s American Pastimes, the Whitley Whaler, Scoops, Whitley Stay Di-Meo’s, Miss Persnickety and Big Purple Box Creative have pledged support but we have a long way to go. You can help by donating whatever you can afford, every single £1 makes a difference – it doesn’t have to be much.

You can also help by sharing the funding link in your networks.

Since 2015 local businesses have been the backbone of the carnival helping to reach the necessary match for grant applications. Some have dropped in and out but Di-meo’s, TJ’s American Pastimes, The Whitley Whaler and Big Purple Box have been with us from the start and we thank them for their support.

We hope new stalwarts Tyne Tees Entertainments, Fisherman’s Bay, Pure Knead, Scoops, The Round Table and Whitley Stay will stick with us for 2024 and we are hoping that Pantrinis, the Crab and Waltzer and The Venetian will come back! All of their support has been so important.

Whitley Bay Carnival

Whitley Bay Carnival brings local and international artists together with the community to showcase the best of our seaside town.


© 2024 – 2014 Whitley Bay Carnival
Produced by SALTo Arts Productions

Website design and development Big Purple Box

Paul Norris
Iain Brown
Alex Alevroyiannis
Trai Anfield, Enlightened Media