Every year people from all over the world travel to London for the Notting Hill carnival. A feast of fantastic music, color and spectacle make the festival what it is! People from all ethnic backgrounds enjoy themselves put their cares behind them and get on down to some serious partying! It’s the real sound of cool Britannia. So come to London and get on down! The clouds overhead might be grey but everyone is wearing a smile – including the policemen and women.
The carnival: How it all got started
Ever wondered how this fantastic festival got started? Well, actually fairs and festivals have a really long history in Britain going back hundreds of years! In fact British festivals were famous not just for their fun and dancing, but also for drunkenness and violence! One festival called the Bartholomew’s fair had to be banned in 1865 because there was so much trouble! Of course nowadays, everyone is too busy having a great time to do anything like that!
Have you seen that fantastic film Notting Hill with Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts? Today, people will pay a lot of money to live in Notting Hill, but sadly it wasn’t always like that. Many years ago, 1958 to be precise, there were actually race riots in the area where the film was shot. A lot of people were hurt and many windows broken. It was so horrible that the people decided it must never happen again. So, the Notting Hill festival got started!
Notting Hill: A taste of Jamaica
The origins of the Notting hill carnival go back to the Caribbean Carnival first held in 1959. A hippie festival from the London Free School got going around the same time so the two of them hit on a wonderful idea. Why not combine the two festivals to make one terrific festival that everyone could enjoy! This new festival made its debut in 1975 with steel-bands, reggae groups and sound systems! It hasn’t looked back since!
The carnival uses huge sound systems just like those in Jamaican dancehalls. So remember to take a pair of earplugs with you. There are no physical boundaries or definite route for the festival but the general route is through Kensal Green with Westbourne park tube station as the starting point with the finish along Ladbroke Grove. The carnival begins at 9 AM on Sunday and Monday and is of course free. What could be better?
Great music, great food!
Ever tried Jamaican food? Wow. You should its some of the tastiest grub in the world. The curried goat is a Jamaican delicacy. But be careful you might get fat so be sure to dance off those pounds. There is music to satisfy everyone’s taste; reggae, drum n bass, jungle, dubstep, ska and deep bass blues! Brightly colored floats, dancers of all descriptions, and an important part of the event.
So, what are you waiting for? Book your ticket for this year’s festival and get on down to this year’s carnival and join a million other people in having the time of your life. What could be cooler than that?
 Feast – large, extravagant meal
 Get on down (informal) – dance in an exuberant manner
 Banned – not allowed
 Shot-(in this context) filmed
 Hippie- alternative culture, often synonymous with long hair and mysticism
 Earplugs – items inserted into the ears to prevent exposure to distasteful noise.
 Ska- reggae played at a fast tempo
 Floats- usually the backs of vehicles converted to carry party revellers