Millions of people will be heading to west London this weekend to soak up the Soca and sequin filled streets of the Notting Hill Carnival. Founded almost fifty years ago, the carnival is an explosion of Caribbean culture, as exotic floats packed with steel bands and flamboyant costumes descend upon streets filled with tourists and jerk chicken stalls for the annual celebration. In preparation for the weekend AnOther presents their top 10 Notting Hill Carnival facts.
1. First held on August Bank Holiday weekend in 1965, this will be the 49th Notting Hill Carnival.
2. The carnival was originally held in a small town hall, but now spans over 20 miles around West London.
3. There are over 40,000 volunteers, 9000 police and 1 million attendees at the carnival every year.
4. The first carnival was organised by Claudia 'Mother of Carnival' Jones; a Trinidad journalist and political activist.
"After the 1976 riots at the carnival, The Clash front man Joe Strummer wrote the band's classic song White Riot"
5. It was after the 1976 riots at the carnival that The Clash front man, Joe Strummer wrote the band's classic song 'White Riot'.
6. The event is inspired by traditional 19th century Caribbean carnivals, and began as a small local festival for the West Indian community.
7. On the Sunday, the Trinidad contingent traditionally have a giant, messy, chocolate based food fight.
8. There are 40 static sound systems playing a huge variety of music such from the traditional Soca and Calypso, to Reggae, House, Dub and Funk.
9. It is now the second largest carnival in the world, just trailing behind the famous Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, and is the largest street festival in Europe.
10. The carnival is now notorious for live music stages and the after-parties, which are held in venues surrounding the area. Globally famous acts, from MIA and Jamiroquai to Wyclef Jean, fly in from all over the world to perform.
Notting Hill Carnival runs over August 25-26.
Text by Rhiannon Wastell