Notting Hill Carnival 2019
Get ready to wiggle, jiggle and sizzle at the second-largest street festival in the world – only the Rio Carnival is bigger. That’s right, the Notting Hill Carnival is back, from Saturday 24 until Monday 26 August – here’s our day-by-day carnival guide.
The festival sees floats, dancers and drummers parade through the streets along a 5.6km route. The procession has its roots in a 1959 Caribbean festival that took place in St Pancras Town Hall, Euston, in response to a local race riot the year before.
The highlight is the Panorama National Steel Band Competition, one of the largest contests of its kind outside of the Caribbean. Head to Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park (on Bosworth Road, a 12-minute walk north-west from Westbourne Park Underground) to listen to eight bands play a 10-minute composition from memory, as no sheet music is allowed.
Things kick off at sunrise when party-goers throw paint and colourful powder at each other in place of the Caribbean’s traditional mud and oil. Sunday is Children’s Day, when the crowds are (allegedly) less wild and the music quieter. Families can cheer on child-friendly floats and children’s bands. At 10am, the opening ceremony begins on Great Western Road, followed by entertainment on live stages from noon in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park and Powis Square (a 10-minute walk south from Westbourne Park Underground).
Arrive early to grab a good spot for the parade. Fancy dress is optional, but one thing’s for sure – there will be someone dressed more outrageously than you. Again, from noon there will be music stages in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park and on Powis Square.