02 Sep 2022
Notting Hill Carnival: A Celebration of Culture and Community
On the 30th of January 1959, Trinidadian journalist and activist, Claudia Jones organised a ‘Caribbean Carnival’ in St Pancras Town Hall which was televised by the BBC. The event was a response and potential remedy to race relations, which had become heated following the UK’s first widespread racial attacks that occurred the previous year in London. By 1966 the carnival was incorporated into the London Free School’s-inspired festival in Notting Hill and became a symbol of cultural unity.
Today, Notting Hill Carnival is attended by over two million people every year and is a pivotal celebration of British African Caribbean and British Indo-Caribbean culture.
At the same time, every year, the media is quick to highlight instances of violence, overcrowding and vandalism, more so than other renowned annual festivals such as Reading and Glastonbury. To help remedy this, we spoke to one of our Senior Talent Acquisition Consultants, Denise about her positive experiences of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival.
Was this your first carnival?
This was not my first carnival. I first went in 2013 at the age of 19 and have been going consistently since 2017.
What does carnival mean to you?
To me, Notting Hill Carnival is a beautiful celebration of Caribbean culture. It’s an opportunity for everyone in London to come together as a community to party in the streets of London.
What was your favourite part?
It’s so difficult to just name one favourite part of carnival as there’s so many things to choose from! But my favourite parts of carnival are being able to party in the streets of West London with my friends and other Londoners, listening to great music from the trucks and sound systems, eating amazing Caribbean food (the curry goat, rice and peas, coleslaw, plantain, and festival was sensational) and the sense of just feeling free without any judgement. Also, watching all the Mas Bands in their bright and beautiful costumes.
What was your not so favourite part?
When it ends! Notting Hill Carnival feels like London’s summer party finale. Once it’s over, it feels like summer is officially done. Also, the street toilets that are provided were definitely the worst part. Thank you to all the lovely people who offered their clean bathrooms for the public to use!