The Notting Hill Carnival is a great free street meeting that the Caribbean community based in London has been celebrating for years. It is the biggest street festival in Europe, with music at full volume, many street food stalls (chicken jerk is one of the star dishes), spectacular costumes and parades full of music, color and feathers. The carnival has been celebrated since 1966 in the Notting Hill neighborhood, west of London, famous for the movie of the same name and the always busy Portobello Road market.
How could it be otherwise, the carnival is celebrated in the heart of the London borough of Notting Hill, but also extends through the streets of Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park, Westbourne Grove and other surrounding areas.
The Big Day of Notting Hill cavalcade begins and ends at Canal Way / Ladbroke Grove. Carnival celebrations start from Sunday morning and continue until well into Monday (which is not working), because the party continues even if the parade is over.
Several areas of the neighborhood are cut off to traffic, becoming pedestrian to welcome the large number of visitors who come every year to enjoy this great multicultural party. The official opening of the 2019 Notting Hill Carnival will take place at 10 o’clock in the morning. It is a traditional event involving residents and participants accompanied by organizers and members of the local government. There will be performances for local children and musicians that will entertain the wait before the carnival is officially inaugurated and the bands begin to parade.
After the opening ceremony, the children’s parade takes place, with young dancers dancing through the streets. This is mixed with Dutty / Fun which is a chaotic prolongation of the J’Ouvert. As a spectator you may see yourself accidentally splashed with glitter and paint or even with melted chocolate if you get too close. It’s pure fun, you just have to follow the crowd, the music and the smell of food will put you on the track.
Monday is the big day of the Notting Hill carnival. Sixty bands and percussion groups will tour the streets wearing spectacular costumes during the main carnival parade. The party continues from the day before at the World Music Stage, along with the animation of the sound systems.
Commemoration of the tragedy of Grenfell
One more year, the Notting Hill Carnival wants to express its respect to victims and family members affected by the fire at the Grenfell Tower, which occurred on June 14, 2017 in the nearby district of North Kensington. The organizers have scheduled 72 seconds of silence, at three in the afternoon on Sunday and Monday, and have enabled a space for reflection in the commemorative spaces along Bramley Road. Access to the area adjacent to the tower damaged by Lancaster West State will be restricted to non-residents.
This is the largest street festival in Europe in which more than two million people participate each year, so trying to avoid the masses is not possible. It is important that you consider going light and with cash, most street stalls do not accept credit cards. If you plan to go with children, I advise only to go on the family day that is Sunday, the rest of the days will be a complete madness and you will want to be more carefree to have a good time.
Do not follow the program to the letter.
The official program of events is good, but it would be better to be aware of everything that happens around you. Every year there are magical moments in the carnival that occur in the places you least imagine and many times the authors are the same assistants, the key is to let go.
Do not miss one of those authentic moments that usually occur at the Notting Hill carnival: the policemen dancing very badly at the request of an enraged crowd.