Welcome to the biggest Caribbean carnival in the whole of Europe. The annual fiesta has been parading the streets of West London since 1966, and takes placed every Bank Holiday in August. The carnival began as a way to showcase the Trinidadian steel band that used to play at Earls Court every weekend, and was a way to celebrate the abolishment of slavery in the nineteenth century. Performers would dress up in flamboyant colourful costumes to mock the outfits worn by their European Masters; they even copied the equivalent of blackface, by whiting their faces with flour.
Now the carnival is enjoyed by more than a million Londoners; it is awash with food, feathers, fun, and the only ones protesting are a few disgruntled peacocks.
Music is the heart and soul of the Notting Hill Carnival, and with over forty static sound systems surrounding the area, it will be impossible not to be drawn into the festivities. As well as all the traditional sounds of the Caribbean such as Calypso, Soca, and steel bands, recent years has seen an addition of Reggae, R&B, Funk, House, and more. There will also be live stages featuring locals bands and international artists.
Food is another important part of partying, and it does not get any better than traditional Caribbean street food such as jerk chicken, curried goat, rice and peas, fried plantain, and rum punch.
The parade will cover a twenty mile radius from Great Western Road to Ladbroke Grove between 9am-7pm on both Sunday the 25th and Monday the 26th August. The first day will be for kids, and the second for adults.
If you are still in a dancing mood long after the sun's gone down, then join the after party at the 02 Academy in Islington. It starts on Sunday at 11pm and lasts till 6am Monday morning. Tickets are £12 in advance or £15 on the door; you can also buy a t-shirt package for £50, which will allow you to participate in Monday's parade. The first two hundred guests will receive a free glass of champagne, and everyone will get a Venetian mask for the masquerade. DJs will include Duchess Alicia, Sun Bailante, Djorn, and more.