My Day At the Notting Hill Carnival
Today’s post comes from Elexu intern Hernan who talks about his first visit to the Carnival. Elexu loves events that showcase culture and creativity; we recommend all of the Elexu community check it out next year.
As a native Spaniard this was my first time at the Carnival, I was curious about what could I find. Would it be as good as I heard? Would it be a bluff? Would the beer be as expensive as I was told? Would I die under thousands of dancing shoes?
Let´s just say mission accomplished (except for the whole dying under a thousand shoes..I was only injured under a few hundred).
The Notting Hill Carnival (or as I was told to refer to it, “the Carnival”…because its cool) has been held every year since 1965, attracting around a million people in the past years, making it one of the largest street festivals in the world and the perfect place to be on a weekend if you don´t have to fold shirts in a retail store, serve food in McDonalds or attend to some other job which doesn´t respect your bank holidays.
I went there on Monday “the real wild day” according to my English friends. Within 10 minutes I was invited to dance with some Hare Krishna’s, they had a board with their song lyrics so you could follow along and complete strangers were dancing around in a circle trying to stay in rhythm. Complete chaos and joy.
The good mood was floating in the air, mixing with the smell of barbecue and the noise of different music waiting for us at the end of all those endless crowded roads, and even the English summer weather was willing to collaborate, and for once (don´t get used to it) it was August and it didn´t rain. That’s what I call organization.
If there is something that I wasn´t expecting was probably the fact of having little concerts every three off licenses, which was really cool and kept us dancing from beat to beat like a bee from flower to flower, until our steps brought us to the BIG stuff. Which means a haemorrhage of dancing, happy and noisy people boiling in one of the main streets as well as themed party trucks driving around fuelling the chaos of the street party. I´m not really sure what one of the trucks performers were singing, but they asked if there was someone from Jamaica and the entire street raised their hands. I can swear that in that moment I was definitely from Jamaica (Say “beer can” and you sound like you’re saying bacon in a Jamaican accent…go on try it).
It was a great time! Perhaps not really for that lady with the video camera, threatening with calling the police to all the people who used her house´s walls as a bathroom. However there was happiness in the air, slapping you in the face and making you smile even if you didn´t want to. For the few streets I travelled down all the good you can find in this city was on display shinning like a rare flower that you can find only in very special occasions. It could sound cheesy, but if you were there you would understand what I mean.
And yes, it was as awesome as expected. And yes, I´m coming back next year.