People line the streets to celebrate during the Notting Hill Carnival Photo: Notting Hill Carnival
Notting Hill Carnival
London streets sway to a Caribbean beat.
It starts when the first after-party posters materialise along Ladbroke Grove and the plink-plonk rhythms of steel-band rehearsals filter through the clamour of Portobello Market. By the time crowd barriers appear and the shopowners begin covering their windows with party-scarred plywood, the feeling of anticipation is almost tangible.
Carnival Sunday morning: in streets eerily emptied of cars, sound-system guys wire up speakers while fragrant smoke wafts from the stalls of jerk-chicken chefs. And then a bass line trembles through the morning air, and the trains begin to disgorge crowds of revellers, dressed to impress and brandishing their horns. Streets become canyons of sound, and all you can see is a moving sea of people, jumping and blowing whistles as wave after wave of music ripples through the air.
Ladbroke Grove becomes a throng of floats and flags, sequins and feathers, as the mas (costume) bands cruise along, their revellers dancing up a storm to the tunes bouncing from the music trucks. And for the next two days in late August, the only thing that matters is the delicious, anarchic freedom of dancing on the London streets.
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