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36 things that you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival


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With Notting Hill Carnival getting under way in less than two weeks we thought we would give you some facts so you are all prepared to hit the West London streets. Feathers at the ready!  

1. It is the second largest carnival in the world, following Rio De Janeiro Carnival

2. It is the largest street festival in Europe

3. Over 2 million people attend each year

4. 9,000 police support the event in West London

5. And policing it costs £6million

6. There are over 40,000 volunteers that help out to make sure the festival runs smoothly

7. The carnival tradition has its distant roots in the eighteenth-century Trinidadian Canboulay processions

8. There are five different aspects of carnival: masquerade, soundsystems, steel pan bands, calypso and and soca

9. It contributes a massive £93million to Britain economy

10. In 1978 just over half a million people attended the 3 day event

11. 80% of attendees are residents of the UK

12. They sell LOTS of Red Stripe...

13. ...and of course Havana Rum

14. The first Carnival events were arranged as a demonstration of racial unity after the Notting Hill Race Riots of 1958

15. Another important influence was the unsolved murder of Kelso Cochrane, a young black Londoner, on Golborne Road in 1959

16. Notting Hill Carnival was inspired by a dream a lady called Laslett had about people of different races dancing in the streets together.
















17. The people in fancy dress are called ‘Mas bands’

18. There are over 15,000 fancy dress outfits on display each year

19. They spend all year getting ready for Carnival, spending hundreds of hours on every outfit

20. Their outfits are handmade and decorated with…

21. 3million sequins

22. 15,000 feathers

23. And 30 litres of body paint

24. They are inspired by African mythology

















25. Mas camps use top Trinidadian designers and craftspeople to design and create each themed costume

26. Norman Jay is a Notting Hill Carnival Veteran

27. The annual Panorama steel band competition has taken place on bank holiday Saturday every year since 1978

28. There are around 40 static soundsystems, ten steel pan bands and 70 performing stages.

29. Basement Jaxx are playing this year!
















30. Monday is the wildest day

31. Whilst Sunday is dedicated to families and children

32. The main parade is on Monday 25th

33. And is 3.5km long

34. Over 300,000 litres of pineapple juice will be sold

35. And there are hundreds of street food stalls dotted across the site

36. A video of policemen skanking at last year's Carnival has almost 700,000 YouTube views.

Now if that’s not enough to persuade you to attend I don’t know what is!

Notting Hill Carnival takes place from Thursday 21st to Monday 25th in London.

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