The Notting Hill Carnival in London is one of Europe’s biggest street festivals, a must-do event that gives participants the chance to enjoy the vibrant sights, sounds, and eating experiences of a huge Caribbean party.
The carnival is held over the UK’s bank holiday over the last weekend in August and fills the streets with elaborate floats, costumed performers, dancing, music, and a variety of food stalls offering everything from curry goat to jerk chicken to vegan spiced vegetable balls, ensuring there is a flavorful Caribbean treat for everyone. Each of the three days of the carnival presents a different program.
In 2018, the festival began with a steel band music competition, Caribbean-themed outdoor entertainment and street food. The second day was J’Ouvert and Children’s Day, which featured the traditional Caribbean carnival opening J’Ouvert, a parade of revelers marching through the streets covered in mud and colorful paint. The Children’s Day festivities include young performers dancing through the streets showing off their elaborate costumes, family activities, live music at dedicated stages, static sound systems, and delicious foods. The Grand Finale on the Carnival’s last day brings even more entertainment at the live music stages and static sound systems set up in the streets of Notting Hill, and the food stalls, street performers, and colorfully costumed dancers continue their activities until the very end. After the Grand Finale, attendees move the fest to some of the top clubs in London, continuing to party as long as they can.
The Notting Hill Carnival dates from 1966 and has been held every year. It spun off from the Trinidad Carnival, which celebrated Caribbean culture and traditions in London. When it first began, the Notting Hill Carnival attracted about 500 people. Since then, the event has become the biggest street festival in Europe and attracts thousands and thousands of attendees to London. In 2018, organizers expected some 50,000 performers to join the Carnival parade and The participation of over 30 sound systems. Over 1 million people likely attended the Carnival over its three days of celebration in 2017.
Some of the top things for music lovers to do at the 2018 Carnival included enjoying Drum’n’Bass electronic music, which has sustained a strong tie to London since its emergence in the 1990s. For reggae fans, the spirit of Bob Marley is channeled by the many reggae performances and shows. Performances of funk music were featured among the many musicians participating at the Carnival.
The 2018 edition of the Notting Hill Carnival was held in London over a 3 day period from August 25-27. Here is a look at some of the best photos.