Club Tip CMU Approved

Approved: Notting Hill Carnival 2014

By | Published on Friday 22 August 2014

Notting Hill Carnival

It’s Notting Hill Carnival weekend, which gets a special place in my calendar year-on-year. The huge West London street party is one of London’s top events and, as usual, it takes place over this upcoming August Bank Holiday weekend, on Sunday and Monday.

Carnival’s music policy is that of cross pollination of many genres. The traditional calypso, soca and reggae, and the steel bands, are excellent, as is the costumery. And the food and drink of the Caribbean is also a major part – the roti and jerk chicken or saltfish and ackee with rice n peas, to soak up the Caribbean rums and notorious Guinness punch.

But Carnival doesn’t just focus on steel bands and tradition. A musical melting pot, it also covers strains as diverse as jungle, ragga, hip hop, house, broken beat, dubstep and blues. Strewn around Notting Hill over the weekend, it’s worth checking in advance what static soundsystems are going to be in action before setting off to sample the variety of sonic treats.

Soundsystems well worth checking out this year are CMC/Matrix and 4 Play, playing drum n bass and garage, King Tubby v Saxon for the reggae vibes, Latin Rave Street Jam, Rap Attack and Channel One. I also love TKO for soul, and Gaz’s Rocking Blues is down to add a slice of something different to the mix.

Sunday is traditionally children’s day, and it does get a bit more lively on the Monday all round Notting Hill. Do get a map and plan where you’ll be heading before setting out. It can be mobbed at times, so keep an eye out for your crew, and remember that mobile reception can be tricky due to overloaded networks. Some streets end up ‘one way’ with the crowds, so go with the flow rather than upstream, and moving across the float route can take a while as you can get hemmed in while you wait for the parade to pass.

Time Out still does an online map, which is handy for knowing the location of the soundsystems and the float route (and a printable one too, which is probably going to be more help once you’re in the thick of it), but the official website info seems somewhat sparse. Also many tube stations are exit only during the day – so pay attention to this and give plenty of time for your journeys.

As well as the daytime festivities, the weekend will also see some superb Carnival-related bashes.

Friday sees Tru Playaz Carnaval Party at Fabric, with a ’21 years of jungle’ night, featuring DJ Hype, Goldie, Fabio & Grooverider, Bryan Gee B2B Jumping Jack Frost, Kenny Ken, Randall, Brockie.

Saturday at Pacha sees Groove Odyssey taking over, with UK legend Joey Negro and his bag of soulful Disco house, alongside New York big hitter Mr V, London lads Bobby & Steve, Groove Assassin and Steve Harrington, which promises to be a mini carnival by itself.

Sunday has a few afterparty choices. My main two are Swamp 81 taking over Heaven under the arches of Charing Cross with Zed Bias and Loefah, and Jungle Mania Carnival Special on at Old Kent Road’s Coronet.

Closing things off on Monday, Benji B takes his Deviation sessions to The Paradise in Kensal Rise with DJ Zinc and Toddla T.

Let’s hope the sun shines on West London, it just makes it so much more enjoyable. Viva Carnival Siempre!