The world’s second biggest carnival and Europe’s largest street event, Notting Hill Carnival, will be returning to the road for the first time since 2019. The UK’s largest and most important celebration of culture, diversity and inclusivity will once again be full with vibrant colours, incredible music, dancing and delicious food during the August Bank Holiday weekend.
As is tradition, Carnival will start before sunrise with J’Ouvert on Sunday 28 August, followed by the children’s parade which begins at 10:30am immediately after the opening ceremony. This year will see a group of participants from the Emancipated Run Crew wearing green lead the parade and will complete the route in their own time in honour of those who died in the Grenfell Tower tragedy five years ago and Monday 29 August will be the traditional parade starting from midday. Panorama, the UK’s biggest and most important Steel Pan Competition takes place on the evening that precedes Carnival (Saturday 27 August) at Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park (tickets for Panorama will be available from here).
Despite a two-year absence from the road, the hunger to participate in Carnival has not diminished. Mas Bands and Static Sound System numbers are actually increasing for 2022 and carnivalists can enjoy 38 booming sound systems playing everything from house to calypso and 84 Mas Bands full of celebratory colour and vibrancy.
In June, hundreds of performers from the Notting Hill Carnival community including masqueraders, steelpan players and a Soca artist performed at this year’s Jubilee celebrations outside of Buckingham Palace. An especially formed steelband of over 100 players going by the name of UK All Steel Percussion Orchestra came together from a number of UK bands and delivered two songs by Lord Kitchener: ‘Pan in ‘A’ Minor’ and ‘London is the Place for Me’.
On July 13, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall made a special visit to The Tabernacle in the heart of Notting Hill. Long time advocates of Carnival (His Royal Highness declared his support for Carnival and the importance of its existence in 1977), they participated in some steel pan playing as well as meeting with people from the community that make it such a special and unique event – pictures are available from The Press Association.
This year, for the first time ever, a fully electric eco truck made possible by long-term partner Spotify, will be joining the parade. Developed in collaboration with Carnival Village Trust, this new innovation is the first step in not only reducing the carbon footprint of Notting Hill Carnival but also in bettering audio quality and reducing noise pollution on the road. Its debut outing at Glastonbury Festival earlier this summer played a vital role in the first official collaboration between Notting Hill Carnival and the festival which also saw members of the community run workshops and parade through the fields across the weekend.
Matthew Phillip – “Electric trucks are unquestionably the future for Carnival: work on this truck has been a labour of love for a number of years now and, thanks to Spotfiy, this year we will show that the technology and power of the batteries are now able to cope with the huge power demands that the average Carnival truck requires.
“The environmental benefits are only the most obvious benefit. With ongoing support from partners like Spotify, our aim is to eventually fund electric trucks for all the bands, removing a significant cost for them, as well as significant time and energy spent organising vehicles and drivers each year – so they can concentrate on their art.”
In addition to the August bank holiday and following its huge success in 2021, Carnival Culture In The Park will be making a return to Opera Holland Park from 17 – 20 August. The four nights will see some of the world’s leading Calypso artists and steel pan players perform over four unique nights – Wednesday 17 August – Steelband Summer In Concert. Thursday 18 August – Calypso Masquerade. Friday 19 August – Pan Jazz and An Evening With King David Rudder Calypsonian Extraordinaire. Tickets are available from here.