So this time last week I was dancing in the streets along with hundreds of thousands of other people, at the Notting Hill Carnival. What a day it was. As it does every year right on cue, the sun was shining and spirits were high.
Surprisingly although being on my doorstep all my life, I hadn’t been to the carnival since I was a kid. Having had a bad reputation for years, I’d avoided it and often went out of town for the August bank holiday instead. But having lived in Manchester for nearly 2 years now and with my folks moving out of my childhood home soon, it felt right to go back to my roots and spend my bank holiday Sunday at the Notting Hill Carnival.
My husband and I also hadn’t ever been together so were excited to wind & grind in the north-west London streets with the best of ’em. Luckily the Carnival starts just a 10-min walk from my folks’ front door so off we went, sun shining, rum cocktail in hand to be part of one of the most famous carnivals in the world. We were heading to meet some friends who were partying at the Norman Jay Good Times Bus and when we reached Ladbroke Grove and saw the sea of bodies ahead of us, we thought it would be impossible to ever find them. We took a deep breath and headed into the crowds being guided onto Kensal Road. Music was blasting, beats were banging, people were dancing and rum was flowing…what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?!
We were swept along with the crowds and eventually came up for air on the corner of West Row, along which the Good Times Bus was located. The street was packed with people dancing and we reached crowd barriers where we were being held-back from entering the party. How were we ever going to find our friends?! Still in good spirits, but resigned to the fact that we were never going to find our mates, we were considering where to head next, when the crowd barriers were removed and people were let in. Woohoo!
We boogied our way into the street party with a background of funky Motown remixes being played from the Party Bus itself. I’m not a lover of crowds and don’t like being shoulder-to-shoulder with people so hubby suggested we head towards the back of the crowds, on the edge of the street. Just as we were walking through, I caught a glimpse of my friends who’d obviously thought to do the exact same thing and there we were! We’d managed to find our 6 friends in a sea of 1000s.
We partied, danced, drank and laughed in the sun, surrounded by people doing the same. Having grown-up in the area and spent a lot of my formative years in Notting Hill and Ladbroke Grove, it still surprises me when I see the streets full of people – it feels like you’re partying in people’s front yards (which a lot of people were) and like you shouldn’t really be there. But everyone is so happy and having so much fun, it’s a great vibe to be a part of.
We partied into the early evening and then headed-off to a series of house-parties (there’s always loads in the area). What a great way to take in north-west London, catch-up with my London friends and reminisce about the area in which I grew up.
Now because it was so busy, it was tricky to take lots of photos, so here are just a few snapshots of London’s Notting Hill Carnival, as experienced by HollyGoesLightly.
Did anyone else go to the Notting Hill Carnival this year?