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September 1st 2014

Lucy’s Carnival Weekend

With great music, delicious Caribbean food, dancing and lots of fun, Notting Hill carnival is not to be missed! Our London local Lucy went along this year, and here's her report of her fun-filled two days..

Lucy’s Carnival Weekend - September 1st 2014

Where to start…. the last bank holiday of the summer in London…

Crossing the border from East to West London is a pilgrimage I make with great excitement and anticipation every year, to Notting Hill Carnival. Meeting friends en route, we join the crowds of tooting horns and loud whistles, and descend upon the streets to take part in the biggest party in Europe for two days of fun, during the last weekend of August on Sunday and Monday.


Lucy (centre) and her friends

Dancing down the roads from Notting Hill Gate station, we made our way towards Westbourne park, for a quick pit stop at a friend’s house. After consulting our map, we travelled down Portobello road to meet the rest of our friends. One thing I love about Carnival are the smells that you encounter as you bop along the street. BBQ’s on every corner, the smell of cooking hits you in the face, and you’re spoilt for choice, with many¬†little stalls on the side of the road. Meandering along to the music, we passed the Chocolate Nation truck who were pumping out the tunes and throwing chocolate off into the crowds. I’m not talking Cadbury’s chocolate buttons, I’m talking huge pots of liquid chocolate. I have to say I was a bit glad we’d just missed the show (I cherish my vintage fish print leggings!). The smell of chocolate was so strong and added a certain “je ne sais quoi”. The parade is a great spectacle and worth having a look. At the top of Portobello road we left the parade to make our way to meet the rest of the group.

A bit of advice for virgin Carnival-goers – don’t be in a rush to get anywhere. Being carried along with the crowd is all part of the fun, and you’ll see all sorts of stuff. Allow plenty of time if you have somewhere specific in mind to get to.

We met the rest of our friends at the Aba Shanti-I sound system, on the corner of East and Southern Row. For us, this is the perfect meeting spot, as there are a few ways to get in, bars and BBQ’s nearby if you need refreshments, and a park next door, when people fancy a break and want to sit down for a bit.

Dub and reggae vibes in the sunshine – perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon right?

Luckily the sun was shining all day on Sunday. Monday was a bit of a different story… The rain came, but the party didn’t stop. Soundsystems had been covered in waterproof protection, and the revellers were in full force.

For the first time in four years of eager online applications, I finally got my hands on some passes to the Red Bull Carnival Party. Every year on the Monday, Red Bull host a party under the Westway, at the top of Portobello road, with free drinks, and big tunes! This was it, we’d made it.

Basement Jaxx on The Red Bull Stage

The headline act this year was Basement Jaxx, the vibes were wet and wild, it seemed no one cared about the rain, everyone was on the dance floor going nuts. We danced all afternoon, then slowly made the journey back home across London, ready to hit the sack and sleep off 2 days of madness.

A weekend like no other in London – not to be missed!

Did you go to carnival this year? Let us know about your carnival experience by tweeting us!