Breaking News

Steel Pans on the Streets of London

Posted by Caribbean World Magazine on 12 September 2022 | 0 Comments

Mountain consectetur adipiscing elit In quis lacus a odio suscipit luctus
12 September 2022

Notting Hall Carnival has celebrated the Caribbean’s rich culture in a riot of colour, costumes and calypso in the UK’s capital since 1966.  

In its first year, 54 years ago, the Notting Hill Carnival attracted around 500 people but has since grown to become Europe’s largest street festival, attracting hundreds of thousands to London. You can usually expect to see some 50,000 performers in the parade and more than 30 sound systems, with more than one million people attending the various parties that take place over this mostcelebratory weekend. London’s biggest street party takes over Notting Hill inWest London and sends pulsating rhythms, Caribbean colours, beating drums, dance and Caribbean flavours through the crowds. Grab a spot on the kerb for a front row view of elaborate floats and costumed performers, as theypass by in vibrant parades and processions, dancing to the sound of steel bands and soca. Feeling thirst? There are rum stalls at every turn and plenty of beer joints selling Caribbean brands. And when your stomach starts to rumble, at the sizzling aromas of jerk pork you’ll find a huge number of food vendors, snack stalls and Caribbean restaurants at which to refuel. 

Celebrations at the Notting Hill Carnival take place on the last weekend of August, including the summer bank holiday (public holiday) Monday. The year 2022 raised the roof after two quiet years due to Covid, and with the Notting Hill Carnival 2023 line-up already under discussion it promises to be a fantastic weekend. Highlights from Notting Hill Carnival 2022 include:

  • Top bands competing during the UK's biggest steel pan competition at Panorama in Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park.
  • The next generation taking up the carnival baton at the joyful Childrens Parade
  • Colourful and exuberant festivities as part of the Traditional Parade featuring mas, soca, calypso and more. 
  • Children’s entertainers and interactive performances at Meanwhile Gardens, perfect for families with young children.
  • The unique party vibe created by the more than 30 static Sound Systems playing everything from samba to hip-hop. 
  • Delicious food and drink from around the Caribbean region across more than 300 stalls, including Jamaican jerk chicken, Trinidadian roti and Guyanese pepper pot.  

Notting Hill Carnival takes place in London’s W10 and W11 areas, around Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove, Westbourne Grove, Westbourne Park and Kensal Road. It is never cancelled due to rain or bad weather, though a British downpour has the effect of making the event joyfully chaotic! The gloriously colourful costumes are testament to the hard work and effort that people put into the event, even knowing they were May well be walking around all day in the pouring rain - though, thankfully, the skies remain clear and the sun comes out for most Bank Holiday weekends! 

Each year the Sunday is a family day, and although still a  boisterous and noisy event, it’s far more suited to small children than Monday’s main parade.

Keen to continue  partying after the Carnival draws to a close at 7pm? Then be sure to snap up tickets for the after parties beforehand to avoid the post-carnival blues setting in early evening.

Ahead of the 2023, take a look at theofficial Notting Hill Carnival app, which features a map of the route and has other features and info about what’s on over the entire weekend. As many road closures take place during the festival, public transport is the best way to travel to Notting Hill Carnival in west London. If you're planning to visit the festival, allow extra time for your journey as a number of local Tube stations close or are subject to disruption. Extra buses are normally put on during the carnival weekend, but these are diverted away from the carnival route.

The nearest Tube stations to Notting Hill Carnival are Bayswater, High Street Kensington, Paddington, Queen’s Park and Shepherd’s Bush, but some are exit-only across the weekend. Check the Transport for London website before you travel for the latest Notting Hill Carnival transport information.

Notting Hill Carnival is a very popular and busy event and it’s wise to take a reusable bottle of water with you to stay hydrated. But the most important thing? It’s to get into the carnival spirit, of course! Join in with the dancing, check out the many sound systems, feast on Caribbean food and enjoy the festivities and afterparties to the max!