Notting Hill Carnival back for weekend of celebration

·2-min read
Carnival is back on the streets of Notting Hill  (PA)
Carnival is back on the streets of Notting Hill (PA)

Notting Hill Carnival revellers will take to the streets in their hundreds of thousands this bank holiday weekend to “celebrate unity” in a boost to London after a two-year hiatus, organisers say.

The event, from Saturday to Monday, will see a National Steel Band competition with surprise guest artists and the traditional parade featuring live music and mass bands.

Speaking to the Standard ahead of festivities, Notting Hill CEO Matthew Phillip said: “Me, the whole Carnival community, and broader than that, are very much looking forward to coming back to the streets.

“Human beings are social creatures and they need to be around each other and Carnival is a big celebration of unity. And it celebrates diversity in a unique way, it brings people of all walks of life and backgrounds together to celebrate inclusivity and freedom.”

Although Mr Phillip could not estimate numbers, he predicted the event would be “busy”, after Covid forced the event online in 2020 and 2021. “The return to the full street carnival is something we can all look forward to even more than normal.” Hundreds of thousands will take to the streets this bank holiday.

For those who are unable to make the world-famous event in person, a live-stream will be available to view on the Notting Hill Carnival YouTube channel for the first time.

The event has been taking place since the mid-1960s but is still growing with attendees from all ages and backgrounds, say organisers. “Going back to what was happening in London in the 50s and 60s, the people who helped to build and pioneered Carnival went through a lot of hardships when first coming here,” said the Carnival’s head.

“So for them being able to put their culture and celebrate their culture was important to them, and it’s important to them now to see that culture developing and still being embraced. And it is being taken forward by their children and grandchildren. It’s a way of second or third generation descendants of people who immigrated to this country connecting to their culture.

“It is a family thing, you have children right up to much older people coming to Carnival and enjoying it.”

Addressing concerns from some residents about noise and disruption from the world-famous event, Mr Phillip said “We do our best to try and keep everybody happy...

“As much as it’s important that the carnival remains on the streets ... it’s also the residents of North Kensington who have in effect opened their homes to hundreds of thousands of visitors. We don’t take it for granted.”