The final bank holiday of the summer can only mean one thing, Notting Hill Carnival. The end to a sensational summer, this year’s Notting Hill Carnival was organised for the first time by a private events company, adding a little more structure to the event. But, as usual it was organised chaos.
Thousands of revellers came out to enjoy Europe’s biggest street party on and yesterday. A variety of Caribbean cuisine was on offer including jerk chicken, curry goat and rice and peas. Flags from not only all over the Caribbean, but all over the world could be seen, showcasing the inclusive and international atmosphere of the carnival.
The interest in the event could be witnessed not only by the crowds, which turned out over the weekend, but by the buzz on the internet. Carnival was a trending topic on social media site Twitter, with many tweeting positives about their carnival experience.
Previously marred by violence there was a heavy police presence with a total of 7000 officers. Over 200 arrests had been made by police for a range of offences and preventative measures. A man was stabbed at Ladbroke Grove and remains in a critical condition. Three stabbings took place. Despite some criticism of the police presence many felt that police did not impact negatively on the event overall. Some of the police officers could be seen getting into the carnival spirit, dancing with revellers.
Carnival-goer Antoine, 20, said: “It didn’t really bother me because you always hear stories about carnival and people get into fights so it made people feel safer.”
Antoine added that he enjoyed himself because he was there with friends, there was good music everywhere. He said that the Digital Soundboy soundsystem was one of his highlights. “The crowd was so big I couldn’t even move but everyone was dancing.”
Despite the seriousness of the violence the carnival, which is in its 48th year, had a peaceful start. Children’s day took place on the Sunday followed by the Adults day on Monday 27th.
The creation of Claudia Jones, who also founded the West Indian Gazette and later developed by Notting Hill resident Rhaune Laslett, the carnival was intended to unite residents.
With over 40 soundsystems visitors could make their way around the carnival route using maps handed out my Timeout or using the Notting Hill Carnival app. The police advised carnival-goers to only use their mobile phones when necessary and use paper maps.