Notting Hill Carnival 2022

Recently the London Mums’ magazine team was invited to the Notting Hill Carnival 2022 Press Launch. Notting Hill Carnival will take place between 27th and 29th August, but Thursday’s event allowed us to sample some of it ahead of time and will have definitely whetted the appetite of anyone who’s planning to attend next month.

    

It’s hard to fully appreciate any aspect of the Carnival without understanding its history and its importance to British people with Caribbean heritage. The essence of the Carnival was brought over from the West Indies in the hearts of the Windrush generation, and began to take shape as the ‘Notting Hill Carnival’ we know today in the 1960s. Wonderfully, several of the founding pioneers of Notting Hill Carnival were present at Thursday’s launch.

It was an honour to be in the same room as people like Barbara Shervington, who worked alongside Rhaune Laslett, the activist credited as the principal organiser during the 60s. The current Chief Executive of Notting Hill Carnival, Mark Phillip noted in his speech that the Carnival has ‘helped shape British culture on so many levels’, and of course it’s true. Notting Hill Carnival has an enormous place in the UK’s cultural landscape. One of the guests I spoke to described what the Carnival means to her: ‘it’s a time to get together with my friends and family and take part in a cultural celebration that has a rooted history in the Caribbean, and cultural traditions that are specific to certain Caribbean countries’. She went on to say that ‘ultimately, the premise of Carnival is to celebrate life’.

The launch took place at The Tabernacle, a hidden gem in Portobello, also known as ‘The Taj Mahal’ of North Kensington. The Tabernacle was established in 1869 on Talbot Road by Gordon Forlong, originally intended as an evangelical Christian church. It’s an interesting choice of venue to launch Notting Hill Carnival, an event that is wild, sprawling and visceral. It feels like it should be impossible for the Carnival to be contained within the stiff, terracotta walls of this Grade II listed building, and indeed the festivities did spill out into the courtyard and a little onto the street. That sense that the Carnival is a living thing with a heartbeat, something that has been held back for too long and must be released is felt particularly keenly since the organisers had to make the decision to prevent the Carnival taking to the streets for the past two years due to the pandemic.

Notting Hill Carnival 2022 is therefore an event that’s been in the planning for three whole years, the last Carnival being in 2019. It was, as you’d expect, a spectacle. Larger than life costumes, men on stilts spreading colourful cloaks like wings, women in Mas with beautiful, ornate headdresses and diamantes and feathers, and steel drums ringing melodically through the fantastic sound system – ‘vibrating through our souls’ as the charismatic host Remel London aptly described it. Spiced, fruity rum was flowing and everyone was in amazing spirits. There was a camaraderie between guests, performers, workers and organisers alike that felt quite special.

The event we attended on Thursday 21st of July was merely a taste of what’s around the corner. On the last weekend of August the Carnival will once again take to the streets of Notting Hill like a Phoenix from the ashes. The throbbing heart of London’s summer – a distant, pre-pandemic memory for most of us – will re-emerge as big and as bright as ever, and perhaps before long it will feel like it never really went away.

Events’ programme

Panorama – Saturday 27 August

NHC Children’s Day – Sunday 28 August

NHC – Monday 29 August

 

Opera Holland Park to once again host

Carnival Culture In The Park

17 – 20 August

Carnival Village Trust and Spotify bring first fully electric, eco truck to NHC

www.NHCarnival.org 

Twitter: @NHCarnivalLDN Instagram: nhcarnivalldn FB: NHCarnivalLDN 

 

The world’s second biggest carnival and Europe’s largest street event, Notting Hill Carnival, will be returning to the road for the first time since 2019. The UK’s largest and most important celebration of culture, diversity and inclusivity will once again be full with vibrant colours, incredible music, dancing and delicious food during the August Bank Holiday weekend.

 

As is tradition, Carnival will start before sunrise with J’Ouvert on Sunday 28 August, followed by the children’s parade which begins at 10:30am immediately after the opening ceremony. This year will see a group of participants from the Emancipated Run Crew wearing green lead the parade and will complete the route in their own time in honour of those who died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy five years ago and Monday 29 August will be the traditional parade starting from midday. Panorama, the UK’s biggest and most important Steel Pan Competition takes place on the evening that precedes Carnival (Saturday 27 August) at Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park (tickets for Panorama will be available from here).

 

Matthew Phillip, CEO of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd. “Along with all of the community, we couldn’t be more delighted to be announcing that Notting Hill Carnival is back on the streets where it belongs. The past two years have been incredibly challenging for everyone but through the work we have all been doing keeping the spirit of Carnival online and through workshops and more, we have seen our community thrive. I’ve seen these wonderful groups of people, brought together because of Notting Hill Carnival, help and support each other. That is an incredible thing.

“In returning to the streets we can once again celebrate the culture, diversity and inclusivity that makes this event so amazing – we can’t wait to hear and see everything that is unique about Notting Hill Carnival, back where it belongs.”

Despite a two-year absence from the road, the hunger to participate in Carnival has not diminished. Mas Bands and Static Sound System numbers are actually increasing for 2022 and carnivalists can enjoy 38 booming sound systems playing everything from house to calypso and 84 Mas Bands full of celebratory colour and vibrancy.

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am thrilled to welcome back Notting Hill Carnival and am looking forward to the sights and sounds of this world-famous returning to our streets and bringing communities and visitors together in celebration.  

 

“Over the August bank holiday weekend, there will be something for everyone with fantastic music, food and amazing, colourful parades lining the streets. Notting Hill Carnival showcases the spirit and soul of our city and the values we all hold so dear and reminds us that our city’s greatest strength is in our diversity, vibrancy and energy.”

 

In June, hundreds of performers from the Notting Hill Carnival community including masqueraders, steelpan players and a Soca artist performed at this year’s Jubilee celebrations outside of Buckingham Palace. An especially formed steelband of over 100 players going by the name of UK All Steel Percussion Orchestra came together from a number of UK bands and delivered two songs by Lord Kitchener: ‘Pan in ‘A’ Minor’ and ‘London is the Place for Me’.

 

On July 13, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall made a special visit to The Tabernacle in the heart of Notting Hill. Long time advocates of Carnival (His Royal Highness declared his support for Carnival and the importance of its existence in 1977), they participated in some steel pan playing as well as meeting with people from the community that make it such a special and unique event – pictures are available from The Press Association.

This year, for the first time ever, a fully electric eco truck made possible by long-term partner Spotify, will be joining the parade. Developed in collaboration with Carnival Village Trust, this new innovation is the first step in not only reducing the carbon footprint of Notting Hill Carnival but also in bettering audio quality and reducing noise pollution on the road. Its debut outing at Glastonbury Festival earlier this summer played a vital role in the first official collaboration between Notting Hill Carnival and the festival which also saw members of the community run workshops and parade through the fields across the weekend.

Matthew Phillip – “Electric trucks are unquestionably the future for Carnival: work on this truck has been a labour of love for a number of years now and, thanks to Spotfiy, this year we will show that the technology and power of the batteries are now able to cope with the huge power demands that the average Carnival truck requires.

“The environmental benefits are only the most obvious benefit. With ongoing support from partners like Spotify, our aim is to eventually fund electric trucks for all the bands, removing a significant cost for them, as well as significant time and energy spent organising vehicles and drivers each year – so they can concentrate on their art.”

In addition to the August bank holiday and following its huge success in 2021, Carnival Culture In The Park will be making a return to Opera Holland Park from 17 – 20 August. The four nights will see some of the world’s leading Calypso artists and steel pan players perform over four unique nights –  Wednesday 17 AugustSteelband Summer In Concert. Thursday 18 August Calypso Masquerade. Friday 19 AugustPan Jazz and An Evening With King David Rudder Calypsonian Extraordinaire. Tickets are available from here.

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