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.
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 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!
With so many incredible festivals having taken place in Manchester over the summer (see here for examples), you might think things would start slowing down with the cooling of the temperature and the arrival of Autumn…Well, think again as September and October are packed with loads of fun events and festivals to welcome in the new season and reassure people that winter ain’t that bad.
We recently took a look at some of the best music and dance festivals on offer this August in London, and now it’s Manchester’s turn. This Northern town is famous for its eclectic and fresh music scene, as well as for its crazy, all-night long parties – and what better recipe could you have for the perfect festival? The month will see all a hugely diverse and exciting range of genres, artists and venues in its different festivals, from the smooth croons of the Manchester Soul festival through to the electric beats of Creamfields.
We knew Birmingham was on the cusp of big change when we finally arrived at its new train station. Yes, when Grand Central opened in 2015 and transformed an embarrassing old New Street station into somewhere visitors wouldn't mind spending more than ten minutes in, we knew things were getting better for the UK’s second city. I also wanted to take the family to the Balti capital of the UK… but more of that later.