Hundreds of thousands of revellers are expected to head towards west London as the world-famous Notting Hill Carnival runs into its second day. The biggest street festival in Europe, which is held in August every year in the roads of London’s prestigious Notting Hill district, celebrates Caribbean culture, dance, food and music and draws in thousands of locals and tourists looking for the ultimate end-of-summer street party.
Today the festival opened at 9:00 am BST with weather forecasters predicting clear skies and temperatures of 26 degrees Celsius, after a Bank Holiday weekend which saw milder conditions and a deluge in the London area on Saturday.
Amid a heavy police presence with 7,000 officers on duty , families and solo travellers lined the streets to witness a procession of dancers, musicians, floats and sound systems playing Caribbean music, encompassing everything West Indies-flavoured from soca to bashment and reggae. The main route of the Carnival runs from Great Western Road to Ladbroke Grove, where the processions will end at 7 pm.
Today is the 49th anniversary of the Notting Hill Carnival and its second day. It is predicted up to 1 million people will attend. By 11:00 am BST, thousands of partygoers were already lining the streets.
Highlights for Carnival ’13 include the flamboyant dance troupe UCOM, children’s steel drum band competitions, and special homemade jerk chicken from Mama’s Jerk Station.
The Carnival first began life in 1966 as the West Indians who had settled in north London decided to hold impromptu street parties in the vein of their memories of the traditional Carnival, just as they had grown up with in islands such as Jamaica and Trinidad. The original Caribbean Carnival, first held in 1959 then joined forces with the organisers of a multicultural carnival held by hippies aligned with the London Free School, who were attempting to improve the fragmented race relations in the post-war years. The new carnival, with its affairs run from a local restaurant, soon became the must-see event among London’s Caribbean community. The event has enjoyed the patronage of many musicians, West Indian government officials and even British monarchy, with Prince Charles being one of its biggest supporters.
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