The annual Caribbean carnival returns this year in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, from Saturday 25th to Monday 27th of August throughout the bank holiday, expect the usual array of colours, party celebrations and a feel-good atmosphere to the trendy streets of Notting Hill. The affluent area and colourful Victorian town houses provide the perfect backdrop for Europe's largest street festival.
Tickets to the event are free and there are over one million visitors expected to attend the Caribbean heritage carnival this year, an incredible amount considering the humble origins of how the celebrations began back in 1966.
About Notting Hill Carnival
During the carnival there are more than forty sound systems and DJ's dotted around Notting Hill creating their own private stages and parties - featuring a huge mix of genres from; reggae, disco, Latin, R&B, blues and many more. If you are looking to hear live bands and performances during the event then head over to the music stages at Emslie Horniman's Pleasance Park and Powis Square.
Notting Hill Carnival is renowned for its street food inspired by Caribbean origins; expect seasoned jerk chicken, callaloo and traditional goat stew to be on offer. There are also pop up bars lining the streets serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Carnival goers are encouraged to bring whistles and anything else they can to make noise, colourful clothes are also encouraged to show support and a special emphasis has been put on the colour green for 2018.
2018 Event Schedule
The carnival has a full line-up of exciting events hosted throughout the whole of Notting Hill, all leading to the star attraction of the Adult's Parade on Monday, to close out the festival in true Caribbean style.
Saturday is jam-packed with events, none more fascinating than the Dutty mas parade, this parade is perfect for those who enjoy the high energy of the carnival and dancing in the streets alongside other parade goers. Expect colourful paints and powders to be thrown around to the sound of steel drums and sound systems that flood the street.
On Saturday night you can head over to Emslie Horniman's Pleasance Park for the UK National Panorama steel drum band competition. The competition sees eight bands perform 10-minute compositions from memory, with no sheet music aids.
A key event of the carnival is the parade of J'Ouvert, derived from the French word for 'opening day'. This is the carnival before the carnival, and in true Caribbean tradition it starts early at 6am on Sunday until around 9am. Expect to get covered in colourful paint and powders as you experience the festival's best kept secret.
This is followed by the unmissable opening ceremony starting at 10am, local residents and participants are led in the parade by mas bands and the true carnival experience begins. Next, the children's parade inspires the future generation to carry the carnival baton as they dance in the streets. Family friendly activities throughout the weekend encourage visitors to participate and create the best carnival atmosphere for everyone.
The pinnacle event of the carnival will take place on Monday, as people take to the streets for the whole day during the adult's parade. This is when the festival reaches its peak, as mas bands play their heart out for the moment they've prepared for all year, and paradegoers dance in the street wearing their specially created colourful costumes. Arrive early for a prime spot and make as much noise as you can during the parade.
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