The spirit of Notting Hill Carnival 2018

Every year in August, London looks forward to another amazing instalment of Notting Hill Carnival. This keystone event dates as far back as the late 50’s and has been a benchmark for the BAME community in London. Originally created to help solidify the relations between police and the BAME community after the Notting Hill Race Riot, it has since then grown far larger than just a simple means of repairing a fragmented relationship. Now, It is unequivocally considered the highlight for many BAME communities. It’s a day to celebrate and rejoice their culture and traditions out in the open, encapsulating the quintessential essence of British multiculturalism.

Now in it’s 59th anniversary Notting Hill Carnival has captured the hearts of many attracting approximately 2 million people to the streets of London. The processions have grown larger and bolder, with costume designs becoming more eccentric each year. The eclectic fusion of music, dance and food has helped create an atmosphere unlike anything else in Britain, and even though other cultures and customs have begun taking part in the carnival, there remains an authentic element of Caribbean culture.

This year marks one year since the Grenfell tragedy. A year on, the number of people that fell victim to the blaze is still unknown, although government figures have stated that at least 80 people have been confirmed dead, despite massive opposition claiming that the figure is far higher. Additionally, it’s the first Carnival since the Windrush scandal was nationally exposed, which has seen many rightful British citizens who came to the UK almost 70 years ago, either deported or stranded abroad. Furthermore, the unsettling discussions of Brexit has still left many in perpetual uncertainty.

Perhaps the best thing that can happen to the BAME community of London is an event like Notting Hill Carnival, considering its inception fundamentally lies on the principles of community and solidarity. Last year carnival revellers held a minute silence to pay their respect to the victims of the Grenfell tower. Its gestures like these that capture the essence and spirit of Notting Hill Carnival, rejoicing each other’s similarities and respecting one another’s differences. It is for this reason that Notting Hill Carnival was created.

Ultimately, Notting Hill Carnival is a day for people of all backgrounds and communities to take part and enjoy themselves. And considering that the weather is looking very promising this year (with us already experiencing highs of 38*C) it’s expected to be another great successful carnival with a large turnout.

To prepare everyone, we’ve added map of this year’s parade to help you navigate the crowds. If you decide to join in the festivities, then we highly recommend you plan your journey beforehand and download this map directly to your phone so that you can use offline, as you’ll find it notoriously difficult to receive any network signal.

View the original interactive map of Notting Hill Carnival 2018

Charles Feliciano

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