Kingston Carnival organisers have promised "music with a message" to celebrate the event's return after last year’s surprise cancellation.

Surrey Comet:

Brendan O'Prey from The Lagan (left, courtesy Claire Harris Photography) and Beans on Toast

Organisers have confirmed the borough’s largest multicultural street parade will see political hip hop poetry from Akala, socially-conscious folk music with Beans on Toast and his side-kick Bobby Banjo and raucous celtic-punk from local boys The Lagan.

They will all perform in Market Place on September 6 at the event organised by Kingston Race and Equalities Council (KREC) and Banquet Records.

Banquet owner and Liberal Democrat councillor Jon Tolley defended the choice of Beans on Toast, real name Jay McAllister, whose discography includes songs featuring extensive profanity and, in one case, a series of racial slurs.

That song, ‘Dirty P***’, is an ironic take on petty racism and includes the word n*****.

Coun Tolley said: "It’s in no way, and nor is he in any way, racist. In fact it’s exactly the opposite, but I can see how this could be taken out of context easily, and for that reason it’s dropped from his set a lot.

"It’s all about challenging people’s prejudices, about racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, about not trying to take sides.

"He will tone it down. He knows what carnival is about and he’s not going to try and offend people."

Mr McAllister said: "If it is booked as a family-friendly show I am respectful. I play a set according to what is appropriate and what I have been asked to do.

"With the [Dirty P***] song, it is not racist. Sometimes that is how you have to deal with horrors of the world, by staring them face on."

Last year Mr McAllister played the main stage at all-ages festival Camp Bestival, his agent, Adam Gainsborough, said.

KREC chief executive John Azah said: "[Kingston Carnival] is a family event and we were worried about some of the lyrics. But we have been assured that it will be a family-friendly performance.

"If there is a really strong feeling against him then we would have to look at taking him off the bill."

Coun Tolley added: "Kingston Carnival is one of the best days in the Kingston calendar.

"After its cancellation last year I’ve been as involved as anyone to make sure we came back for 2015, for an event which brings all parts of the community together.

"I’m really happy that our first two choices for the bands at this year’s Kingston Carnival both said they’d come to Kingston for this.

"With Kingston Race and Equalities Council being the people behind the whole event it is essential the line up reflects music with a message.

"Akala, Beans on Toast and The Lagan each have something important to say."

Organisers have had to scale down the event after its last-minute cancellation last year amid safety concerns.

Former Specials frontman Neville Staple was due to headline the show in Market Place but instead played McClusky’s nightclub after a last-ditch talks to save the carnival failed.

Council leader Kevin Davis said: "Last year’s cancellation was something I walked into after the election.

"I am very pleased to see the carnival back and I hope it is the celebration of the culture of Kingston that it should be.

"I will be there. Let’s just hope we have some good late summer weather."

Mr Azah added: "It has been a hard year but we have fought hard to get it back and we are excited about the lineup.

"We were a victim of our own success I think last year but we have worked very hard and got the police and council fully on board.

"It will continue to be non-alcoholic event and we want to involve community groups that are interested in taking part."

Kingston Carnival has set up a crowdfunding campaigning to help pay for this year’s event. To donate visit

Surrey Comet: