Bajans in the parade having a ball. (Photo by Tyrone Roach)
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LONDON'S NOTTING HILL carnival was an enjoyable, even if exhausting experience, for many.
The annual celebration of black culture ending on the last Monday of August is no longer exclusive to Caribbean people but has become Europe’s biggest street festival, with visitors from all over the world.
Heralding the start of Carnival last week Sunday was Dutty Mas or J’ouvert, a procession that traditionally takes place before sunrise. Traditionally, participants covered their bodies in mud, but many have replaced this with paint, powder or chocolate. Later in the day, Kiddies Carnival took over.
More than a million people danced their way along the 3.5-mile route through the streets of Notting Hill on the Sunday and Monday.
The Bajan Revellers mas band never made it on to the streets, a case of “every man jack for heself”, as former and present members had sections in other bands.
Infinity Mas, Bajan Rumshop Raw Licquers and Rock Royalty represented the blue and yellow, albeit not in those colours.
Last Monday at 3 p.m., the crowds fell silent in tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in which at least 80 people died in June. The tower is close to the carnival parade route.
Ladbroke Grove, Kensal Road and Westbourne Park were as usual chock-a-block, as mas bands missed their time slots and had to wait.
The crowds were deep but mostly good-natured and happy, whether it was the rhythms of soca music or alcohol that put them in the mood.
Crime figures were down and this stymied some of the negative comments from the opponents of the carnival. Security was tight, with vehicular access to the routes severely restricted – a consequence of the terrorist attacks in Britain earlier this year. (TR)
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