By Laura Randall
August bank holiday is just around the corner and it can only mean one thing, Notting Hill Carnival is back, the biggest and most famous street party in London.
Over one million people are set to descend on the streets of West London this weekend as the much loved party hits town and it looks, as it does every year, like it’s going to be louder and bigger than ever!
The festival kicks off on Sunday 28th August with children taking precedence on the day with a shorter parade route and fewer crowds so the little ones can keep up. The day is set to be a feast for the eyes of young and old alike as dancers adorned in glitter and feathers stream through the crowds with the parade doing the rounds of the most charming of London streets. Extravagance is the theme of the day and no float fails to deliver with colour emblazoned on every corner and street performers playing to the Caribbean beats of the steel drums.
Then comes Monday. It’s the main event and it’s a chance for the Carribean community to show us how it’s done! With sound systems thumping beats from hip hop, reggae, dub, funk, grime and drum and bass there’s a party in the street and everybody can’t help but dance. Smells drifting through the crowds will lure you towards the hundreds of food stools selling anything from Jerk Chicken to Thai Green Curry to Fried Plantain and your only problem of the day will be which food stool to stop at first. The melting pot of cultures, music and food fuse into a celebration of diversity and stopping at one of the many pubs along the route is a great way to revel in the sights and sounds.
A late afternoon snack of grilled corn on the cob washed down with an ice cold drink from one of the thousands of stalls outside houses and on street corners will give you the energy to keep exploring and partying right to the end. Over the years performers including Dizzee Rascal, Roots Manuva, Redrat, Skepta, Wiley and The Game have all had wowed the crowds and the Red Bull Music Academy is back and bigger than ever after the phenomenal success of last year’s Major Lazer set. This year expect Black Chiney, Dillon Francis playing back-to-back with Brodinski, Oneman playing back-to-back with Jackmaster and a guest appearance from vocalist of the moment Jessie Ware. And of course there are the very secret, very special guests that keep the Red Bull Music Academy event as essential of an ingredient to Carnival as jerk chicken and Red Stripe.
So book your train ticket, book your flight or just hop on the tube and get on down to the most electrifying bonanza of a carnival you’ll see this far away from Rio.