Notting Hill Carnival, Monday 27th August 2012
That special time of the year has been and gone and again proved to be the tropical and hectic, though safe, cultural celebratory fun for everyone and anyone in west London. Though there were small showers, the blazing sun, inescapable sound waves and exuberant ambience did not stop the crowds from moving in the streets and keeping their smiles.
With the moving floats to keep carnival-goers entertained, the stages providing exciting line-ups with all too recognisable names (David Rodigan MBE, Shy FX, Breakage, Toddla T and Ms Dynamite to name but a few), stands selling memorabilia and of course, food shops with authentic jerk chicken – not to mention taking in the vast array of colourful and eye-catching costumes all added to the stimulation.
Notting Hill Carnival has always been an event that should be visited – at least once, by all those who reside in London. Though some might find the main stages chaotic because of the gargantuan crowds and blaring music, it can still be enjoyed by everyone as there are quieter parts of the festival with a more chilled out vibe (heading closer to Queensway, for example). It also seems that the reputation for trouble that the carnival has picked up over the years is now dissipating as over 7000 police officers attended the festivities to make sure things ran smoothly. Contrary to popular myth, it is not a hot spot for gangs and thieves, but a safe celebration of Afro-Caribbean culture that has, amazingly, been running year after year since 1965.
For those who missed the spectacle, there is always next year. But for those who went on Sunday and Monday, there are sure to be many calypso-orientated memories only to be replaced by better ones next year as the positivity and well-being of the carnival is only steadily improving.
Matt Di Salvo
For more information on Notting Hill Carnival, click here.