The Notting Hill Carnival returns to the streets of London after a break
The annual Notting Hill Carnival returns to the streets of London for the first time since 2019, with over a million people expected to witness the music, spectacular parades, dancing and food offerings during Europe’s biggest street party on Sunday and Monday.
The carnival, which celebrates Caribbean culture every year at the end of August, had to take place online for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The carnival’s history dates back to 1958, when Trinidadian human rights activist Claudia Jones began organizing a rally to unify the community after a series of racially motivated attacks on West Indians in the Notting Hill neighborhood, west of London.
The event has grown from a festival attracting several hundred people to a huge annual street party, with tens of thousands of performers in the colorful parade and over 30 sound systems.
The celebrations began on Saturday evening, as more than 1,000 people gathered to watch a steel band competition in west London.
Crowds of whistling young children danced through the streets with their parents on Sunday, traditionally a more family-friendly day than Monday. Some children stood in the doorway of their homes waving Jamaican flags.
Pepe Francis leads the Ebony Steelband Trust, which has performed at Carnival for decades.
“Since the band started, I’ve been on my fifth generation of people and there have been a lot of changes,” he said. “But our members look forward to carnival every year, and the practice is held regularly year after year.”
“A lot of people were waiting for him to come back,” Francis added.