16 August 2017 City in the spotlight

Notting Hill Carnival will take place on the 27th and 28th of August this year, with the more chilled Family Day on Sunday, and the grand finale happening on Monday.

Held annually since 1959, the Notting Hill Carnival is one of the most famous and celebrated parties in the world, a free celebration of the capital's Caribbean communities, their culture and traditions taking place across west London’s Notting Hill, Ladbroke Grove & Westbourne Grove.

Seeing as the carnival is such an iconic event, we thought we’d take a look at a bit of its history and the story of Caribbean music in the UK. 


The Music

Caribbean music became more widespread in the UK in the 50s as large scale immigration from the Caribbean islands grew following the end of World War II. However, it was not until 1969 that reggae artists began to really gain mainstream popularity and receive significant airplay, with artists like Dave and Ansell Collins, Ken Boothe and John Holt having hits.

One of the most influential labels, Trojan Records, was founded in 1967, bringing Jamaican recordings such as Jimmy Cliff's "Wonderful World, Beautiful People" to the UK. The first Jamaican artists to take the number one spot in the UK were Desmond Dekker and the Aces with “Israelites” in 1969.

Caribbean music spread out from reggae and ska to include new forms of roots and dub popular with the UK's black working-class youth throughout the 70s. It preached overcoming class inequality – a message which resonated with the working class.


The Carnival

The first Carnival events were arranged in 1959 by Claudia Jones as a sign of racial unity after the Notting Hill Race Riots of 1958. Since then, the festival has grown massively, with over 2 million participants every year!

There are five parts of carnival: masquerade, sound systems, steel pan bands, calypso and and soca, and this year’s celebration will see around 40 static sound systems, ten steel pan bands, 70 performing stage and loads of Caribbean food - there will be close to 300 food stalls on the streets!

There are loads of different sound systems – some will specialise in dub, or MCs, singers at the mic; many will focus on getting the best tone quality and volume; some will play old-school tunes, covering ska, dub and roots; others will play only new music – the options are many! For more detail on what sound systems you can expect to see at the festival, check out this guide.

It is guaranteed to be one epic party so get involved now!


If you’re in town for the festivities, book your cheap hotel room at easyHotel now –with easyHotel London Paddington, easyHotel London Earl’s Court and easyHotel London South Kensington all well with in walking distance of the festival areas-  book your room now and save your money for the party! 






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