The Notting Hill Carnival
is an annual event which takes place in Notting
Hill, London, England each August, over three days (a weekend and a bank
holiday). It is led by members of the Caribbean population, many of whom have
lived in the area since the 1950s. The carnival attracts up to 1.5 million
people, making it the largest street festival in Europe.
Hill Carnival <<Video
Click on pics to see
On Saturday the Panorama takes place, a competition between steelpan
bands mainly from London but more recently including some bands from other areas
of the UK. Carnival kicks off on Sunday with Children's Day, with a shorter
Carnival route for children and young people. The main parade then takes place
The current route for the main parade covers around 3 miles, following Great
Western Road, Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove and Ladbroke Grove. In addition to
trucks with pan bands or mobile sound systems, there are costumed masqueraders
and around 40 static sound systems spread throughout the area playing a range of
music at high volume. While the "traditional" Soca and some Calypso can still be
found, many other musical styles are represented.
The Carnival began in January 1959 in St Pancras Town Hall as a response to
the depressing state of race relations at the time; the UK's first widespread
racial attacks had occurred the previous year. It was a huge success, despite
being held indoors.
It first moved outside and shifted into August in 1965. The prime mover was
Rhaune Laslett, who wasn't even aware of the indoor events when she first raised
the idea. At this point, it was more a Notting Hill event than an Afro-Caribbean
event, and only around a thousand people turned out.
By 1976 the event had become definitely Caribbean in flavour, with around
150,000 people attending. However, in that year and several subsequent years the
carnival was marred by riots, in which predominantly Caribbean youths fought
with police — a target due to the continuous harassment the population felt they
were under. During this period, there was considerable coverage of the disorder
in the press, which some felt took an unfairly negative and one-sided view of
the Carnival. For a while it looked as if the carnival would be banned. Prince
Charles was one of the few establishment figures who supported the event.
In recent years, the event has been much freer from serious trouble and is
generally viewed very positively as a dynamic celebration of London's
multi-cultural diversity, though dominated by the Caribbean culture in the best
traditions of Rio. However, there has been controversy over the public safety
aspects of holding such a well-attended event in narrow streets in a small area
of London. The capital's authorities have sought to spread the load by making
use of nearby Hyde Park.
In 2003 the Carnival was run by a limited company, the Notting Hill Carnival
Trust Ltd. A report by the London Development Agency on the 2002 Carnival
estimated that the event contributes around £93 million to the London and UK
In 2005, entrants from Notting Hill Carnival participated in the Bridgwater,
Somerset carnival - Europe's largest lighted carnival and part of the West
Country Carnival circuit.
2006 - 1,000,000 (500,000 Sunday | 500,000 Monday)
2005 - 750,000
2004 - 750,000
2003 - 600,000
2002 - 1,400,000
2001 - 1,250,000
2000 - 1,500,000
1999 - 1,400,000
1998 - 1,150,000
1997 - 1,300,000
1996 - 1,000,000