The Notting Hill Carnival takes place every year on the UK August bank holiday in the Notting Hill area of West London. It began in 1966 as local festivities organized by the neighborhood's West Indian residents and grew to become Europe's largest street carnival. It attracts millions of revelers from across Europe every year. Twenty miles of roads in West London are shut down with 40 separate soundsystems, Caribbean food stalls and vibrantly dressed Caribbean dancers.
History of the Notting Hill Carnival
Immigrants from the Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago started the carnival in the 1950's as a celebration of their culture and heritage, as well as a response to the strained race relations in England at the time. A woman from Trinidad and Tobago named Claudia Jones is credited as throwing the first Notting Hill Carnival, albeit an indoor one. In 1966 it was moved outside to the streets. Once in the streets, it had a shaky beginning. The revelers had not applied for parade or other types of permits which often led to confrontations with police and rioting. However, by the 1980s and 90s the festival was free of its former troubles, rising to become the prominent street festival in Europe.
Notting Hill Carnival Atmosphere During carnival time, Notting Hill is full of the smell of caribbean cooking like jerk chicken and curried goat, as well as the sounds of authentic caribbean bands playing calypso, soca and samba music. In recent years the Notting Hill Carnival has started to attract large music acts as well. In the past, Wyclef Jean and Jamiroquai have played in the streets of Notting Hill. With 40 separate sound systems set up in the neighborhood it has also become a dance music festival, with the sounds of dub, funk and house music being heard alongside steel drum bands.