August Bank Holiday weekend, 2010 and over one million people took to the streets for Europe’s biggest annual carnival. London’s Notting hill Carnival.
I visited on the Sunday, traditionally known as the family day. This visit to Europe’s largest carnival was possibly about my 10th in the 29 years I have been on this earth. And if I’m honest this year did seem a little bit quieter than usual.
Though a bit quieter it did appear to be, this did not stop the revellers from enjoying themselves. With music to be heard at every corner and varieties to suit all. Notting hill Carnival truly is a vibrant and fun day out.
The floats at this year’s carnival were as colourful and lively as always. Accompanied by steel bands and reggae music for all to dance to in the streets of London.
Over the years I watched carnival become more and more diverse in terms of the music you can find. While this is all part and parcel of other genre’s of music becoming more mainstream. I do think it has been a bit detrimental to the original spirit of Notting hill Carnival.
Notting hill Carnival is about Caribbean culture and with that I expect to be able to find a few sound systems with some Soca, Calypso and Dancehall music.
Unfortunately, these are few and far between.
Carnival is still an amazing day out.
Speaking with people on the day, I met people from Ireland Scotland and Wales who had come down just for the carnival.
I also met people from abroad, including Germany, USA, Australia and Canada.
If you live in England and have never visited Notting hill Carnival you need to make a trip down next year or at least in 2012 when they will be preparing for the extra influx of party goers as the 2012 Notting hill Carnival will fall bang in the middle of the Olympics and the Para-Olympics.
But Notting hill Carnival would not be the same without the hoards of food stalls mainly selling West-Indian favourites such as Patties, Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat or Chicken, Johnny Cakes (Fried Dumplings) Sorrel, Ginnips, Sugar Cane, Fruit Punch and Guinness Punch to name a few.
Notting Hill Carnival is truly one of the UK’s annual events of the year. It is definitely an event that everyone should visit and you will also see that it is a lot more family friendly than you may be lead to believe.
If you would like to know more about the history of Notting Hill Carnival click here.