Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

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Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

Postby Negrote » Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:04 am

Hi all,

Notting Hill Carnival this weekend, many of us are attending. I thought sharing these early carnival memories of a good friend. Hope u enjoy as much as I did when received 2 years ago!


Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again, I know you are looking forward to it.

At the age of 11 I started secondary school, and for the first time in my life I met up with young lads that had recently arrived in England from the Caribbean. Their stories of sunshine, beaches and Caribbean way of life fascinated me, I would listen for what seemed like hours to their stories of home.

After the first summer break, one of the lads (a youth by the name of A.V.) told me of his uncle that lived in Westbourne Park, West London, he stayed with his uncle for the summer holiday and returned to school with tales of drunken parties, dope smoking, loud music, free food... all outside in the street.

The following year I visited him at his uncle's house and discovered something that would have such a huge influence over me, and shape the way I lived my life.

My first carnival was at the age of 12, (46 years ago) it quite literally took my breath away.
Although there was no more than a couple of hundred people on the streets, to see musicians, bands, dancers and street performers dressed in bright colourful costumes, hear music being played so loudly, on the street, in peoples gardens, and of course in their houses, gramophones, radiograms, record-players, reel to reel tape players, all "brokin' out wid riddim". Some of the amplifiers used by the sound systems must have been at least 100 watts !

Home cooked food, soft drinks and even beer and rum punch being sold at residents gates and front doors, being invited into complete strangers houses and offered food and drinks, everyone and everywhere was Party, Party, Party. Calypso, Soca, Ska, Motown, Soul and even the beginning of Reggae was being played to distortion levels.

Only a handful of policemen, there were no barriers, no closed streets, all shops and businesses were open, and the promise of all night parties in local resident's houses, even the pub's were advertising local parties. Of course I was too young to stay out all night, my parents didn't even know that I had strayed so far from home. I knew I had to be home before it got dark, but it was so hard to leave, it felt like I had discovered a secret world. To a young schoolboy this seemed a bit strange, definitely not how the people of London usually behave. I left my first carnival late in the evening, heading home on the tube, I was buzzing and so excited about what I had discovered on the other side of London. I couldn't wait to tell my brothers and my pals. None of them believed me, they said I was making up stories, they could not believe that such a thing took place in their home town. Two weeks later I was back at school the summer break was over, I managed to put quite a large "posse" together for the following year, we waited through winter, christmas, spring and finally summer was upon us, we kept in touch, and as Bank Holiday weekend approached we prepared with sandwiches, cans of coke, cigarettes (smuggled from our parents) even a couple of bottles of beer. Seven of us set out, each of us with a "Red-Rover ticket" (all day travel pass, equal to today's Oyster Card) we headed to West London.........

Of course now we all know of Mas, Bacchanal, Carnival at Notting Hill, West London. Since those early days all my family and friends have been to see the sights and splendour that it has become. Few of us remember the humble beginnings and the troubles that came in the ignorant years. Every year, carnival grows and attracts more and more visitors, the majority of them come to Party, Party, Party as always.

Many things have kept me from attending carnival each and every year (the list is too long to mention), I have been there as often as I could and have enjoyed myself every single time.....NEVER HAD A BAD CARNIVAL !!! My only regret is that I never owned a camera, what magical pictures I could have captured in those early days of carnival.

Carnival is still a part of my life.


Wish everybody a safe journey and a Happy Carnival 2014!!!
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Re: Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

Postby dan i dubdub » Sat Aug 23, 2014 8:40 am


I was 15 when I first went and it blew me away. My first experience of sound systems - I remember standing in the middle of a street at the point where one sound merged into the other on the opposite side of the street, proper sound clash. Aswad in Meanwhile Gardens, fantastic food and happy people everywhere. Will be there tomorrow once again, looking forward!
bring love spread peace

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Re: Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

Postby Living Bate » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:55 am

gotta say i was a bit disappointed this year....

have Channel One lowered the power on their system?......I noticed they were further back up the street and it was difficult to get close, but I could hardly hear what they were playing…….probably partly because the hi’s were cranked right up on Lord Ambassador………..Solution were the best but even they sounded a bit muddy and slightly lacking……

the toilet situation seems to get worse every year too……..with that many people there just aren’t enough toilets put on……people pissing everywhere from very early on Sunday…..
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Re: Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

Postby dan i dubdub » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:03 am

I think new sound limits were part of the deal that had to be made to get a license this year by Channel One and others. Had to go through Channel One on Sunday - crazy crush, never again! Love the selection at Solution, especially with Jah Observer guesting, but they needed some stacks on the other side of the street to balance the sound. Lord Ambassador was brash and full on, great stuff (jus too many autotuned vocals for me).

Nasty Rockers easily had the best of the warmup sessions, with Gaffa Blue dropping a serious history lesson, much like I saw him do last year too. Then they switched music style to run a tribute to Robert Allen, a key member of the sound who passed this year. Basically they ran his 'Rice and Peas' show from 2-3pm just like he did on the radio, which I thought was a lovely and fitting way to pay tribute to the man. King Tubby's also had a good warmup session (altho I really don't check for their style later in the day) and have a great looking and sounding system. Likewise Volcano (not a sound whose music I check for much) had their system switched to 'full on' all day.

So glad it is still running and still in the streets and hasn't been parcelled up and stuck into a park. More than 30 years since I first went and it still has the key ingredients that I love.
bring love spread peace

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Re: Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

Postby message_music » Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:09 am

Aba played amazin on the Sunday. ..... pure 90s selection and flashin alot of dubs..... man im still hyped from it !!!!

Channel one werent playing on the Monday which I thought was a little odd given all the pillava they went through to play.

Carnival is great... alot to do and always fun.
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Re: Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

Postby richmrpa » Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:09 pm

Channel One were playing from 4pm on Monday (from the back a the van, out of the rain)
Love to all
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Re: Notting Hill Carnival is upon us again...

Postby mikus » Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:45 pm

message_music wrote:Aba played amazin on the Sunday. ..... pure 90s selection and flashin alot of dubs..... man im still hyped from it !!!!

echo that - pure upliftment

for the first time got to Aba well before 1pm, sound was still being set up and tested, stayed rooted to the spot till that last tune played - no toilet break, no food, nothing! If Aba can stay on the spot so can I :D He's always on form, but I was particularly feeling it this year. I think Delroy Dyer's Mama Say got the six-play treatment!

In case any of the Shanti-ites family come to read this, one request, its getting really squashed out there in the crowd - this year was particularly bad, maybe because of more people out on Sunday because of Mondays rain, but even last year was the same - the only thing i can think that might help is if theres any chance the stacks could be moved back a bit further to make more room for us?

Most of the day I either took refuge behind a stack or right next to it, but out in the sea of people it could get a bit grim at times...

If there's anything that could be done to help....
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