36 Things to Know About Notting Hill Carnival London

With Notting Hill Carnival getting under way in less than two weeks we thought we would give you some facts so you are all prepared to hit the West London streets. Feathers at the ready! Here are 36 Things you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival London.

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to London in 48 Hours

Notting Hill Carnival London

1. It is the second largest carnival in the world, following Rio De Janeiro Carnival
2. It is the largest street festival in Europe
3. Over 2 million people attend each year
4. 9,000 police support the event in West London
5. And policing it costs £6million
6. There are over 40,000 volunteers that help out to make sure the festival runs smoothly
7. The carnival tradition has its distant roots in the eighteenth-century Trinidadian Canboulay processions
8. There are five different aspects of carnival: masquerade, soundsystems, steel pan bands, calypso and and soca
9. It contributes a massive £93million to Britain economy
10. In 1978 just over half a million people attended the 3 day event
11. 80% of attendees are residents of the UK
12. They sell LOTS of Red Stripe…
13. …and of course Havana Rum
14. The first Carnival events were arranged as a demonstration of racial unity after the Notting Hill Race Riots of 1958
15. Another important influence was the unsolved murder of Kelso Cochrane, a young black Londoner, on Golborne Road in 1959
16. Notting Hill Carnival was inpired by a dream a lady called Laslett had about people of different races dancing in the streets together.
17. The people in fancy dress are called ‘Mas bands’
18. There are over 15,000 fancy dress outfits on display each year
19. They spend all year getting ready for Carnival, spending hundreds of hours on every outfit
20. Their outfits are handmade and decorated with…
21. 3million sequins
22. 15,000 feathers
23. And 30 litres of body paint
24. They are inspired by African mythology
25. Mas camps use top Trinidadian designers and craftspeople to design and create each themed costume
26. Norman Jay is a Notting Hill Carnival Veteran
27. The annual Panorama steel band competition has taken place on bank holidaySaturday every year since 1978
28. There are around 40 static soundsystems, ten steel pan bands and 70 performing stages.
29. Basement Jaxx are playing this year!
30. Monday is the wildest day
31. Whilst Sunday is dedicated to families and children
32. The main parade is on Monday 25th
33. And is 3.5km long
34. Over 300,000 litres of pineapple juice will be sold
35. And there are hundreds of street food stalls dotted across the site
36. A video of policemen skanking at last year’s Carnival has almost 700,000 YouTube views.

Now if that’s not enough to persuade you to attend Notting Hill Carnival, London I don’t know what is!

Notting Hill Carnival takes place from Thursday 21st to Monday 25th in London.


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  • The Student Travels
    08/19/2014 at 20:21

    Well I didn’t know any of that! Thanks for the post, I’m heading there on Monday so it’s always great to have a heads up!

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