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Notting Hill Carnival - before and now

Notting Hill Carnival was founded in 1966 by Claudia Jones and Rhaune Laslett. It takes place once a year in the end of August over the space of 2 days and has over 2 million people attending the carnival, 40,000 volunteers and 9,000 police. It has gained a lot of popularity over the years and is Europe’s largest street festival. In the late 1950s Claudia Jones held events at the St Pancreas Town Hall. She did this to recreate the Caribbean festival experience for the ‘Windrush generation’ and also to relieve tensions after the race riots in 1958. Shortly after, Rhaune Laslett started the Notting Hill Fayre in 1966, which gradually attracted hippies and squatters.

By 1987, people were getting fed up of going to the same carnival every year, and this is when changes happened and shaped the look of today’s carnival. There are now reggae bands, new sound systems and even small bands which rehearse in their basements, the whole carnival has been transformed. New costumes were introduced using a range of vibrant colours and feather headpieces. The food is definitely a highlight of the Carnival. The majority of food stalls offer Caribbean dishes like curries and jerk chicken but there are also a few other cuisines available.

Sunday the 25th of August is a family day. This day is calmer and more family oriented but very busy too. Around 9am there will be performances from younger children who will dance through the streets. Monday the 26th of August is the main event with major acts performing through the day. There will be over 60 bands playing and parading the streets in colourful costumes so do not be shy and join them!