By Haylee Slater
In it’s 48th year, the popular Notting Hill festival – that celebrates London’s diversity – has turned quiet Notting Hill into a sea of sequins and coloured feathers.
It is day two of Europe’s largest street festival and so far the rain is doing nothing to dampen the spirits of the thousands of Londoners here to watch and participate.
The air is filled with the smell of Jerk chicken and rum punch and a loud Samba beat bounces off the buildings in a perpetual drum roll. I can’t help but dance as the bass pounds in my chest.
Everywhere there are bright costumes and enthusiastic dancers. Groups of onlookers add to the festive atmosphere with shrill blasts from plastic whistles and £2 coloured trumpets. Empty coconuts litter the road and with the tremolo of steel drums, you could be celebrating anywhere in the world.
Children rest on their dads’ shoulders, arms extend with cameras, and a litany of stilt walkers survey the crowd adding a mezzanine level to the madness. The best views come from the residents’ balconies surrounding the parade.
Confetti canons explode and the sky is littered with a suspended cloud of streamers, falling in slow motion like sprinkles.
Of course, there are always the few that like to cause trouble for the many, but fear for the risk of injury or theft cannot be seen here. The police appear to be in high spirits, despite three reported stabbings amongst the growing masses. Even the parade organisers blend in as they manoeuvre the crowds with their own whistles.
A woman I would expect to see in a pant-suit and heels on any normal Monday, dumps her half-eaten container of food in the street and keeps walking. Clearly London’s inhibitions have been left at Notting Hill Gate along with those residents trying to avoid the insanity.
Calypso music and brightly coloured floats set the tone for a celebration that will surely continue well beyond the estimated 7pm finish.
Did you attend this year’s Notting Hill Carnival? What were your thoughts? Tell us below: