The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual two-day event that takes place in London on the streets of Notting Hill area of Kensington. The British West Indian community leads this carnival. The organizers of the event say that this is the second largest carnival in the world. Also, this is the biggest carnival in Europe. This festival celebrates the Caribbean heritage, arts and culture in UK. This is a festival of dance, music and food. This is a festival of colors. Though it is a celebration of Caribbean heritage, anyone can join this colorful festival and enjoy it’s amazing environment.
Here is everything you need to know before joining the colorful Carnival of Notting Hill.
What is the Notting Hill Carnival?
The Notting Hill Carnival is a two-day celebration of Caribbean heritage, arts and culture in UK. It is a colorful festival of dance, music, foods and costume. It takes place on the streets of Notting Hill area of Kensington in London. In this festival, music, dance and many processions take place on the streets. This festival is loud and vibrant. People who take part in the parade of this carnival wear handmade unique colorful costumes from their own culture. They spend months working on their costumes for the Carnival. And then they show it off in the huge parade of the Notting Hill carnival. It is the biggest carnival in Europe. There are food stalls during this carnival in the Notting Hill area to spread the taste of Caribbean rich cuisine. Many salsa and reggae artists take part in the carnival. They also use steel bands in this festival.
Some Key Facts about the Notting Hill Carnival:
- The Notting Hill Carnival is as big as 11 Glastonbury Festival. One million people attend this festival and forty thousands of people volunteer here. Nine thousands of police help the festival become secure.
- It is the largest festival of Europe.
- There are 40 static sound systems throughout the festival area, along with ten steel pan bands. And there are 70 performance stages in the carnival.
- Mas camps make the costumes and spend all year preparing for the Notting Hill Carnival. There are roughly fifteen thousands of costumes every year that are estimated to take one million man-hours to craft by hand.
- It iss a festival tradition for Carnival attendees to slap each other with chocolate on the Sunday of this festival.
- The colorful parade of sexy and gorgeous costumes takes place on the Bank holiday, Monday.
- In this two-day festival, they estimate that the Carnival serves five million hot and cold drinks. This includes seventy thousands liters of carrot juice and twenty-five thousands bottles of rum.
- There are two hundred and forty food stalls at the carnival selling Caribbean dishes.
Notting Hill Carnival – A Short Overview:
Notting Hill Carnival is a festival of colors. They celebrate the Caribbean heritage, arts and culture with this festival. It is the largest festival of Londoners. 20% of the attendees of this carnival are tourists. They celebrate this festival with dance, music, costume show off and foods. They bring the rich Caribbean cuisine to the attendees through food stalls at the carnival. The parade takes place on the first bank holiday of UK in August. Children and families can attend the festival on Sunday. This is a summer festival. This is the perfect holiday for anyone to spend with their family with a spectacular experience. The costumes of this festival are handmade, and it takes months to make them. The ‘costume’ show off makes this carnival full of colors and joy. The salsa performances on the street, the music makes this festival spectacular.
In brief, this Notting Hill Carnival is worth attending.
What is the History of the Notting Hill Carnival?
The first Notting Hill Carnival took place in 1966, on the Streets of Notting Hill area of Kensington in UK. The first festival was put on by someone called Rhaune Laslett. Rhaune lived in Notting Hill with her parents. She wanted to highlight and celebrate the diversity in her area by putting on a festival.
This carnival took inspirations from two different but connected strands. The celebration of ‘A Caribbean Carnival’ and the mother of the Notting Hill Carnival, activist Claudia Jones showcasing elements of a Caribbean Carnival in black newspapers, inspired this festival. Claudia spoke loud against the racist attitude of the Europian world.
And the other important strand is, “hippie” london Free School-inspired festival in Notting Hill. It became the first organised outside event, in August 1966. The prime mover of this festival was Rhaune Laslett. She was not aware of the indoor events when she first raised the idea. This festival was a more diverse Notting Hill event to promote the cultural unity of Caribbeans.
Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance with Kensal Green and Westbourne Park, the nearest tube stations, is the carnival’s traditional starting point. Amon the early bands to take part are Ebony Steelband and Metronomes Steelband. The carnival had no permanent staff and head office. So, the Mangrove restaurant in Notting Hill, run by another Trinidadian, Frank Crichlow, came to be used as an informal communication hub and office address for the carnival’s organizers.
However, in 1975 Notting Hill Carnival became a major festival. By 1976, the event had 150,000 people attending. However, in that year and several subsequent years, riots marred the carnival. Several times Caribbean youths fought with police–a target because of the continuous harassment the population felt they were under. The press published negative on sided views of the carnival. It looked like the government will ban the event. But because of some anti-racist activist, they couldn’t.
In 2003, a limited company, the Notting Hill Carnival Trust ltd. ran the event. This event contributed ninety-three million Euro to the UK economy. The cost of this carnival is only 6-10 million Euro. In 2005, entrants from the Notting Hill Carnival participated in the Bridgwater, Somerset, carnival. This is the largest lighted carnival in Europe and part of the West Country Carnival circuit. For the 2011 Notting Hill Carnival they released an iPhone app. In 2012, they developed both iPhone and android app for the Carnival.
For 2014, the official city guide to London created a Notting Hill Carnival illustrated guide. In 2016, they celebrated the Golden Jubilee of Notting Hill Carnival. A music live-streaming platform broadcasted 42 hours of live video coverage.
When is the Notting Hill Carnival?
This festival takes place the day before the first bank holiday of August in Uk.
The festivities kick off with the opening ceremony at 10am on Sunday. That day the parade starts at 10.30am. Monday’s parade starts at 10am. Judging of Carnival’s many mas bands finishes at 6.30pm
ALERT: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Notting Hill Carnival has been forced to cancel and will not take place on the dates of Sunday 30th August and Monday 31st August.
Where is the Notting Hill Carnival?
The Notting Hill Carnival takes place every year in the streets of Notting Hill area of Kingsten in London.
Essential tips to help you Enjoy the Notting Hill Carnival:
- Plan early for the festival. They temporarily shut down some tube stations in Notting Hill area. They do this to avoid congestion.
- Wear your most colorful outfit and do not wear hills. You will be on your feet all day.
- The children’s day is on Sunday. Also, on Sunday, there is a family environment in the festival. So, take them on Sunday.
- Choose a front row spot if you are willing to take good snaps.
- Eat Caribbean treats. They have a rich cuisine. And it is tasty.
- Enjoy the music system. You’ll find a whole other side to the carnival with sound systems. They are down the streets.
- Join the Notting Hill Carnival after party.
- Book your tickets earlier.
Safety Concerns During the Notting Hill Carnival:
- Book your ride before you set off.
- Wait for the crowd to get clear out. Do not get yourself into it. You might get pickpocketed.
- Leave expensive ornaments, camera gear and expensive electronic devices at home if you can.
- If you are taking any valuables with you, keep a look at those.
- If you drink at the festival, keep a look at your cup or bottle.
- Safety is much easier if you know which facilities are in the area and where you can get some help.
- Keep your children close to yourself if you plan to take them to the festival.
Other Things to do at the Notting Hill Carnival:
- Watch the UK National Panorama Steelband Competition.
- Eat the curry goat, barbequed meats in Caribbean style in the festival.
- Take photos of the colorful festival.
- Get involved with the early-morning J’ouvert celebrations.
Well, the Notting Hill Carnival looks like a spectacular festival of color and joy. Here you can enjoy music, dance, food and the Caribbean heritage. People from many colors join this festival. This festival is very popular in the British West-Indian community. The Notting Hill Carnival is the biggest festival of Europe. You will love to join this festival of colors. If you are planning to go, book your tickest early.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Notting Hill Carnival:
Q. Why is Notting Hill Carnival celebrated?
Answer: The Notting Hill Carnival is held to celebrate the Caribbean culture and traditions in London.
Q. How much does Notting Hill Carnival cost?
Answer: A report by the London Development Agency on the 2002 Carnival estimated that the event contributed around £93 million to the London and UK economy, set against an estimated £6-10 million costs.
Q. What is the best day to go to Notting Hill Carnival?
Q. Do you need tickets for Notting Hill Carnival?