27 Aug 2007


'an occasion or period of public enjoyment and merrymaking with eating, dancing, drinking and often processions and shows held especially in Roman Catholic countries in the weeks before lent'

The Notting Hill Carnival is a street carnival held annually in the Notting Hill area of London and has been going since 1965. It is the second largest in the world. This year it was on the 25th and 26th of August. Sunday for the children and Monday for the main event.

The carnival has steelbands competing against one another, sound systems which are static each playing their own music ranging from drum and bass, to hip hop, r&b, electronica etc, the masqueraded processions and of course the soca and calypso vibe constantly in the air.

Notting Hill Carnival 2007 Facts and Figures
2,000,000 visitors over the weekend.
3.5 miles long route
70 performing units comprised of mas bands and mobile DJs and 16 steelbands
41 static sound systems within the carnival area.
16,000 different records played
300 food stalls
50,000 active participants.
15,000 costumes.
150,000 feather plumes.
30 million sequins.
100 litres of decorative body paint.
1 million hours go into making and decorating the costumes.
5 tons of chicken eaten
30,000 corn on the cobs
15,000 deep-fried plantains
1 tons of rice and peas
1 tons of Jamaican patties
12,000 mangoes
16,000 coconuts
5 million hot and cold drinks
10,000 litres of Jamaican stout
25,000 bottles of rum
70,000 litres of carrot juice

I live within the 'carnival zone' so I have been immersed in the build up and the actual festivities. I was at first sceptical about the invasion, noise and mayhem. (the police helicopter is still flying overhead and its nearly 11pm)
It was great. Very fascinating to see the preparations come together and the floats, food, music were really super.

Naturally, it is impossible to capture the smell of the food and the booming bass from the sound systems in images. It is definitely more experiential...The most enjoyable thing about this years carnival which is probably true for most carnivals is the atmosphere which is constantly palpable. The weather has been just perfect over the long weekend and it was so nice to see the variety of people old, young, tall, short, shy, exuberant, locals, tourists everyone really looked like they were having a great time. Complete strangers chatting to each other and having fun with no holds barred. Great. Even as tired as the performers were after dancing all weekend they were still smiling as posing with people who wanted their pictures taken with the costumes.
We were lucky enough to get some really good viewing points so I didn't want to waste the opportunity by constantly reducing the view by looking through a camera! I am also sure that there are thousands of images in the internet so I won't overdo it.

I have to say I actually enjoyed watching the whole process and the sheer amount of organisation and time and planning that must have gone in are really commendable. Not only that the people take part in the actual bands and floats who would have been preparing since last years carnival but also the police, fire, cleaning and ambulance services that were setup to make sure everyone had a good time. The sheer amount of rubbish on the streets is crazy (and quite revolting) but by the morning every last bit had been cleared up. now that is applaudable.

Lastly, it was interesting to see how the businesses in the area prepared. About 80% of these had their windows and store fronts boarded up since Saturday morning. Most were just regular chipboard sheets nailed up which eventually got covered in posters and graffiti as the weekend progressed. Others added a little more of a touch by using their logos or corporate colours.

hopefully, next time I'll be talking about the mother of all carnivals... the rio carnival! one can dream....see ya!

ps. freya, sarah and stav, hope you had a good time!


tiina said...

Wow, it looks like an amazing time! One day I will manage to be there.

KiWi said...

All those bright feathers look spectacular. What a feast for the eye.

-stavros- said...

i feel like a celebrity now... not only did i get the chance to say 'Hanson Channel, enjoy!" to a YouTube crew (or so they said!!!!!) but i also got my name mentioned in your blog... ha

it's been a great experience with a great company... really worth experiencing it... all that colour...

Paper Girl Productions said...

wow, looks like a fabulous time!

Sara's Texture Crafts said...

Looks like you had an amazing day and thank God for the weather, eh?! Not see too much sun here in London lately! Sara x

Nicole said...

lovely photos! :-)

i'm new to the etsy sellers blogring so just browsing to see who's around.

hope you're well!

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