Brighton Festival 2019 launches with 5,000 strong Children’s Parade!

For 30 years the Children’s Parade has officially marked the start of Brighton Festival, with over 5,000 participants, including 3473 school children, stepping into showstopping costumes they have designed and made themselves. 58 local schools, take part and enjoy a sense of pride as their hard work turns into a vibrant procession of dance, drama and fun for the whole city to watch. Around 10,000 people come along to see the parade and be part of the largest annual children’s event in the UK.


The Children’s Parade is a unique event produced by Same Sky for Brighton Festival, the largest annual, curated multi-arts festival in England. This year’s theme is folktales from around the world, in honour of the storytelling theme of the whole Festival, chosen by this year’s Guest Director, celebrated Malian musician and humanitarian, Rokia Traoré who will lead the procession with Mayor of Brighton & Hove City Council, Councillor Dee Simson and Andrew Comben, Chief Executive, Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival.  

Schools from across the region were allocated a folk tale from a selection chosen to reflect the diversity of artists taking part in the Festival. The stories have been studied and explored by teachers and pupils before being presented in costume, music and carnival structures.

This year the Children’s Parade is sponsored by Southern Water, University of Brighton and Yeoman’s Toyota.

Four school’s carnival artworks were selected from the parade to be displayed in Brighton Dome foyer for the duration of Brighton Festival:

City Academy Whitehawk – The Little Mermaid

Dorothy Stringer High School – The Raven Lets Out the Daylight

Harbour Primary School – Stargirl

Middle Street Primary – The Magic Hummingbird

Pippa Smith, Brighton Festival’s Children & Family programmer said: “Folk tales are typically stories that are passed down from generation to generation and are often linked to childhood memories, when parents or grandparents would tell them at bedtime. There are so many fascinating folk tales to explore, from the Anansi tales of West Africa to European tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm. We can’t wait to see the wildly imaginative creations that participating schools and community groups will present.” 

One of the most spectacular community events in the UK, Same Sky spend months working behind the scenes to create the Children’s Parade. Artists collaborate with teachers to make magnificent effigies, choreograph dance routines and compose parade chants, with free masterclasses to develop design ideas and encourage imagination to flow.

John Varah, Artistic Director, Same Sky added: “Same Sky is excited to be working again with 70 local schools to create next year’s Brighton Festival Children’s Parade. The theme of folk stories is a rich and colourful seam for us to mine and we think the schools will find something unique and wonderful to celebrate with their students. Same Sky is celebrating its 30th anniversary and we’re dedicated to creating new stories with communities. What better way to share the world’s stories here in Brighton and Hove.”

Professor Debra Humphris, University of Brighton Vice-Chancellor said: “The Children’s Parade is a real high point of the year in the City and it is always a great way to start the Brighton Festival. I am absolutely delighted that the University of Brighton will once again be sponsoring this wonderful and joyous event that does so much to bring the whole community together and is enjoyed by everyone, young and old.”

Brighton Festival takes place 4-26 May 2019.