We have compiled a guide to the 2022 Notting Hill Carnival that provides everything a visitor needs to know to navigate the biggest free street festival in Europe and the world’s second-largest carnival; only the carnival in Rio de Janeiro is bigger. The UK’s Notting Hill Carnival is known for its beats, jerk chicken, colorful and unique costumes, and its fabulous parade. The festival takes place in Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Park, Westbourne Grove, and Bayswater.
The Carnival launched in 1996, and in 2022, it will run during the August Bank Holiday from Saturday, August 27, through Monday, August 29. Events generally begin at 10 am and end at 7 pm when the music stops due to a noise curfew in the residential area where the festival is staged. After 7 pm, visitors can return home to find an after-party.
The festival typically attracts more than two million people who join together in celebration of the UK’s Caribbean community. Since the 2022 staging is the first in the three years after the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed, it is expected to be even more special than usual.
The 2022 carnival will feature the first electric float in its history, and organizers have partnered with streaming service Spotify to make the festival eco-friendly for the first time as well. The carnival will also feature 38 sound systems playing musical genres ranging from house to calypso, along with 84 Mas bands.
The festival begins on Saturday, August 27, 2022, with the family-friendly Panorama event in Horniman Pleasance Park near Trellick Tower. Panorama starts the Notting Hill Carnival every year with live music, a general Caribbean ambiance, and the biggest steel pan competition in the UK.
Sunday, August 28, is the very busy family day, with the J’Ouvert Carnival starting in Ladbroke Grove at six in the morning and featuring steel bands and African drummers in a parade through the streets. A children’s parade begins at 10:30 am with young performers dancing in the street. The 2022 children’s parade will be headed by members of the Emancipated Run Crew, a virtual running community. They will be wearing green to honor those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017. There will also be family workshops in Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park and lots of Caribbean foods and beverages served via stalls.
On Bank Holiday Monday, August 29, beginning at midday, over 80 bands in spectacular costumes will parade through the streets, and the entertainment continues for the rest of the day with some 40 sound systems pumping out music for the enjoyment of the crowds. The main parade route, which is about 3.5 miles long, begins at 9:30 am near the Westbourne Grove tube station, moves down Great Western Road, and then winds along to Westbourne Grove and Ladbroke Grove. The route can be tracked on the Notting Hill Carnival app, which is available for both Apple and Android platforms.
According to the carnival’s CEO, Mathew Phillip, speaking to The Standard in the UK, the electric float was inspired by the success of a similar feature at the Glastonbury Festival, and it has been tested to ensure that it can attain the sound qualities required over the distance it must travel and the time it will be on display. Phillip told Time Out that he believes electric vehicles are the future of the Carnival, both from environmental and safety aspects.
Organizers caution those trying to get to the festival that the tubes will be busy, and the streets will be crowded with people. All the streets around Notting Hill will be open to pedestrians only, so busses will be rerouted and could end service earlier than usual. The Central Line will remain open the entire weekend for Queensway, Notting Hill Gate, and Holland Park, and the Circle and Hammersmith and City lines will serve Westbourne Park, Ladbroke Grove, and Latimer Road.
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