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Notting Hill Carnival 2016 – A personal perspective

Photos from Notting Hill Carnival 2016 - Underground England blog
Photos from Notting Hill Carnival 2016 - Underground England blog

It’s that time again. The last Sunday of August is fast approaching and the freaks are due to be out in full force. From the 28th to the 29th come together to let loose and bruk out.

In a sort of tribal array, the people of London don their colours, wave their flags and blow their horns in celebration of their cultures and the cultures of their neighbours. It’s not just the minorities that get involved, Carnival is a huge tradition in London, home owners open their toilets to the public(for a fee), sell various barbecued foods on their doorsteps and party on their roofs as excitable thrill seekers indulge in island life and free up themselves. The main event, a parade of bands, sound systems, elaborately costumed dancers and onlookers make their way from Great Western Road through to Chepstow Road, then on to Westbourne Grove, and then down Ladbroke Grove. Typically on lookers follow the slow moving procession until settling at a spot that feels right!

With the prospect of rain and the simple fact some popular floats are renowned for covering themselves in chocolate and sharing such chocolate with passers by, I wouldn’t advise anyone to wear their Sunday best, or even clean shoes. Speaking on shoes, don’t bother wearing them if they aren’t the most comfortable pair you own, the day will be long and full of footwork.

People pretty much wear what the hell they want. Caribbean colours are due to light up the West London streets accompanied by golds, silvers, glitters neons and all of the rest. I tend to live by the age old code – wear something you can shake your ass in. Be it a body suit or jeans, make it your own and get involved in the festivities, Carni only graces us once a year, so act like it.

In true carnival spirit you would be doing yourself an injustice not to delve into the food on offer. Cultures collide and people are free to purchase world wide munch, with Caribbean food naturally over ruling the opposition, Nigerian, Mexican, English and beyond are available. Personally I’d advise everyone to follow the tide and let the smells draw you in. BUT for those that need direction, Roti Hut, a Trinidadian restaurant turned stand for two days annually is a sure thing and will not disappoint. Don’t be fooled by long lines and variety however, as you can never be sure what you’ll love most until you try it. Quick fix? Get your friends to order first, taste theirs and then decide.

You don’t have to go broke. Pay day coming just before the event is a treat but its not like you have to spend all of your wages to have a good time. I’d encourage everyone to bring their own drinks, off the rum is my chosen state. Party people can expect to vibe out to Soca, Reggae, Dancehall, Bashment and Calypso music, different floats and stages offer different things so don’t worry too much about finding whats right for you. Live performances and sound systems that are older then most millennials litter the roads of W10 for the bank holiday weekend. There is a strict curfew of 7pm for noise and the judging of the floats will be completed for the same time. Not to worry though as there are hundreds of after party options.

Sunday is considered to be for children whereas Monday is for turning up. This is the general idea but hardcore lovers attend both days. Go with a group of people who you know will want to do the same things as you and please please please don’t get lost. Getting lost at Carnival is the single worst thing in the world!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Be sure to bring emergency money and buy your drinks before you get on the train.

Carnival is far safer than it is perceived to be! Go with good vibes and leave with even better ones.

Read up more about this years Carnival at –

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