‘Electric’ vibe as Notting Hill Carnival draws crowds

Revelers took to the streets of Notting Hill to mark the first carnival since 2019.

The day kicked off with members of the Emancipated Run Crew – dressed in green as a tribute to those who died at Grenfell – starting the parade and marking the official launch of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Club co-founder Jules Stephenson said: “It’s (the atmosphere) is electric – everyone is so excited Carnival is back.”

Sunday, traditionally ‘Family Day’, saw bright and dazzling costumes as the carnival procession passed through Ladbroke Grove.

Crowds of young children blowing whistles danced through the streets with their parents in tow.

Millions of people are expected to attend the carnival during the two-day festival, which saw a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

Performers at Notting Hill Carnival in London (Victoria Jones/PA)

Carina Charles, 40, a nurse from Basildon, said: ‘I love the friendliness of the people and the mix of culture.

“My Caribbean music, soca music is what I like the most.”

She added: “Everyone is jovial – they are excited after coming out of lockdown after three years.”

Various sound systems dotted around the streets of West London entertained the dancing crowds as revelers smiled to the booming music.

Young children standing in the doorway of their home waved Jamaican flags and waved to passers-by.

Performers during the Children's Parade on Family Day at Notting Hill Carnival in London
Performers during the children’s parade (Victoria Jones/PA)

Shauna Walsh, 38, who lives in Kensal Rise, said: “The atmosphere has been really uplifting and warm – it’s nice to be back.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “As a Londoner, I’m really delighted Carnival is back.”

He said the carnival celebrates Caribbean culture, heritage and history and there was “pent up” demand for the festivities this year.

He added: “We believe it will be the biggest and best of all time.”

But Mr Khan also warned that the cost of living crisis had affected the carnival.

He told the PA news agency: ‘We’re seeing those who want to have floats, those who want to have sound systems, pull out because they can’t afford to pay their bills.

Farah Mokaddem, 32, traveled from Geneva to attend the Notting Hill Carnival this year.

She said, “I always wanted to go.”

She adds: “The atmosphere is very lively: everyone is on their balcony and on the terrace. And people of all ages watch the people go by.

Performers during the Children's Parade on Family Day at Notting Hill Carnival in London
Performers at the Children’s Parade at Notting Hill Carnival (Victoria Jones/PA)

Paul Wright, 36, account manager in Ealing, said: “There is a good atmosphere, everyone seems to be having a good time.

“I think there are more people here to have a good time than for incidents.”

He added that it was a “nice thing” where everyone got together and had a good time.

Mr Wright joked: ‘The weather can always be better.’

Christy J. Olson