‘Electric’ atmosphere as Notting Hill Carnival draws the crowds

·3-min read
‘Electric’ atmosphere as Notting Hill Carnival draws the crowds

Revellers have descended on the streets of Notting Hill to mark the first carnival since 2019.

The day kicked off with members of the Emancipated Run Crew – dressed in green in tribute to those who died at Grenfell – beginning the parade and marking the official launch of Notting Hill Carnival.

Co-founder of the club Jules Stephenson said: “It (the atmosphere) is electric – everyone is so excited about carnival being back.”

Sunday, traditionally “family day”, saw bright and dazzling costumes as the carnival procession made its way through Ladbroke Grove.

Crowds of young children blowing whistles danced down the streets with their parents in tow.

Millions are expected to attend the carnival over the course of the two-day festival, which has had a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

As huge crowds gathered on day one, two people were injured when a bus shelter collapsed in the Ladbroke Grove area.

Performers at the Notting Hill Carnival in London
Performers at the Notting Hill Carnival in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Several people were seen standing and dancing on top of it before the incident, with those watching heard to gasp and exclaim in shock as the group fell through the top of the shelter.

The two people affected suffered minor injuries and did not need further treatment, police said.

Elsewhere, Carina Charles, 40, a nurse from Basildon, said: “I like the togetherness of the people and the mixture of the culture.

“My Caribbean music, the soca music is what I love the most.”

She added: “Everybody is jovial – they are excited after coming out of lockdown after three years.”

Different sound systems dotted around the streets of west London entertained the dancing crowds as revellers smiled to the booming music.

Performers during the children’s parade on Family Day at the Notting Hill Carnival in London
The children’s parade was a special event (Victoria Jones/PA)

Small children standing on the doorsteps of their houses waved Jamaican flags and waved at passers-by.

Shauna Walsh, 38, who lives in Kensal Rise, said: “The atmosphere has been really uplifting and warming – it is nice to be back.”

London mayor Sadiq Khan said: “As a Londoner I’m really pleased carnival is back.”

He said carnival was celebrating Caribbean culture, heritage, and history and there was a “pent up” demand for festivities this year.

He added: “We think it’s going to be the biggest and best ever.”

But Mr Khan also warned the cost-of-living crisis had affected the carnival.

He told the PA news agency: “We are seeing those who want to have floats, those who want to have sound systems, pulling out because they can’t afford to pay their bills.”

Farah Mokaddem, 32, travelled from Geneva to attend Notting Hill carnival this year.

She said: “I always wanted to go here.”

She added: “The atmosphere is very animated: everyone is on their balconies and on the terrace. And people of all ages are watching as people go past.”

Performers during the children’s parade on Family Day at the Notting Hill Carnival in London
Performers during the children’s parade at the Notting Hill Carnival (Victoria Jones/PA)

Paul Wright, 36, an account manager from Ealing, said: “There’s a great atmosphere, everyone seems to be having a good time.

“I think there’s more people here for a good time rather than any incidents.”

He added that it was a “nice thing” where everyone came together and had a nice time.

Mr Wright joked: “The weather can always be better.”

Police said there had been 38 arrests made by 7.30pm on Sunday, 10 of which were for alleged assaults.

Carnival-goers during the family day at the Notting Hill Carnival in London
The carnival draws large numbers of revellers to celebrate Caribbean culture, heritage, and history (Victoria Jones/PA)

Other suspected offences included drug possession, criminal damage and possession of offensive weapons.

Two arrests were made for alleged sexual assaults, the Metropolitan Police said.

In addition, the force said a police horse died on duty during the carnival.

The Met said in a statement the animal collapsed at about 9pm on Sunday and was given emergency care but died at the scene.

The force said it is too early to determine the cause of death, adding there will be an investigation into what happened.