Notting Hill Carnival is one of the largest street festivals in the world and plays a significant role in British Culture.
In the 1950s, Notting Hill area had a huge West Indian population. The first carnival in 1966 was a way of bringing the community together but now, it’s an annual celebration of the vibrancy of Carribean Culture.
Since the popularity of this festival grown so much the festival attracts over one million people annually. In 1966, Notting Hill Carnival started with around 500 attendees but now Carnival has become the largest street festival in Europe.
This year, Carnival hosted over 60 performing bands and more than 37 giant sound systems and floats in the area. The festival is possible, thanks to the tireless efforts and preparation of over 50,000 volunteers. Caribbean Food stalls, Jamaican Beers with Caribbean music is something nobody would like to miss during the August bank holiday. I have been going to Notting Hill Carnival since 2009 but still, I find exciting and upbeat every time I attend this festival.
The parade begins at 9:30 am and finishes at 6:30 pm on both Sunday and Monday in August bank holiday every year.
(This year- Sunday 27th of August and Monday 28th of August 2017)
Notting Hill carnival is completely free festival but if you want to enjoy the foods, drinks and after parties, you should carry some cash with you.
Types of Music in Festival
Carnival is a combination of Caribbean influenced sounds like Reggae (Old and Modern), Dub, Dancehall, Soca, and Calypso. Plus soul, afro beat, house, funk, drum, and bass.
Final Day- Monday(Bank holiday)
Monday is grand finale when more than 60 bands, 37 sound systems, and countless sequin covered dancers on floats parade very slowly around w10.
Tips and Advice:
- It is highly advised to plan your journey before traveling during the festival. Most of the underground tube stations are closed or exit only to prevent over crowding. Similarly, local buses, cars, and cycles are all diverted temporally for both days.
- People are afraid to join the carnival by the scare stories. However, the carnival is well policed and the crime rate is very low.
- Basic precautions:
-Leave valuable stuff at home.
-Don’t show off your phones or expensive gadgets
-Don’t carry lots of cash
-Stay with your friends
- Up to 2 million attendees, things get a bit crowded. However, there are some safe zone if you are claustrophobic
- Don’t expect to get a phone signal. Therefore, plan alternatively to agree on a meeting point if you get separated with your friends.
- Wear something comfortable and waterproof. During the carnival, this year the weather was very hot and sunny but with London’s weather, you never know what is coming next.
That’s it! You are all set to enjoy Europe’s largest street Festival.