Notting Hill Carnival 2019

It’s been one whole week since the UK’s biggest summer street party!

We had the pleasure of attending Notting Hill Carnival 2019 and it truly didn’t disappoint. As the sun shone brightly over the bank holiday weekend with temperature highs of 31 degrees, we experienced yet another bank holiday weekend full of music, dancing and general good vibes celebrating Caribbean communities. Once again, the streets of London were flooded with dancers in colourful costumes, loud feel-good music, and beautifully decorated floats. This year there were 36 Mas bands, 6 Brazilian bands, 14 steel bands and many more live stage acts.

We interviewed three carnival-goers to hear their side of the story

DJ Stylah & owner of Mas band ‘Gyal Farm Carnival’

@djstylah & @gyalfarmpr

Gyal farm Mas Band 2019

What impact do you think a cultural event like Notting Hill carnival has on our social landscape?

I think that Carnival has a great impact on the social landscape! For me, being a dj on the track, I’m looking from a birds eye view. When I play music which mentions countries and that one should wave the flag of their country, the amount of different flags, ages, races, social backgrounds that you see, everyone’s just in one space together. There’s no division. You’ve got judges, doctors, nurses, local gang members, just everyone. Everyone is there in the name of unity and in the name of music. So I think it has a massive impact.

 What does it feel like to celebrate cultural difference?

It feels good to celebrate cultural difference! I’m the kind of person who likes learning about other cultures and I’m very much into my own culture too. I’m of Jamaican heritage and Carribean background, but I’m very much aware of where my great-great-grandparents are from which is Sierra Leone. So culture means a lot to me and it feels good to celebrate it because it’s not often we get to celebrate ‘our’ culture in England. It also feels good to see other people celebrating it and uniting. and everyone’s just having fun and good times. I think it’s really important and it never needs to stop. Carnival needs to be here forever!

What does Notting Hill Carnival mean to you?

I’ve been going there every year since I was a baby, so Carnival means a lot to me. My grandparents were actually involved when the first Carnival started up. They told me about when they used to walk around with pots and pans, and how Carnival used to be, and how it started. It started on the back of the Notting Hill Race Riots. I just think we’ve got a duty to continue that culture and tradition and let it live on. I think it’s really important because it’s the one time in the year we can all come together and just have a good time in one space with no restrictions. Although it’s becoming very restricted now and they’re doing a lot, I just think it’s so important to keep Carnival going. It means a lot to me and I would never want to miss it. Ever.

Oscar Popo


Oscar Popo member of Ucom Mas Band

What impact do you think a cultural event like Notting Hill carnival has on our social landscape?

I think that there is a positive impact on our social landscape. With carnival happening every year, more and more people attend from all ages. Not only that it brings people from different ages, but it also allows many nationalities to unite in the streets of Notting Hill which not only helps socially but helps the economy financially as well.

 What does it feel like to celebrate cultural difference?

It’s an extraordinary feeling. It gives you a sense of freedom and helps you get lost in the 2 days experience. Setting aside the outside world (i.e worries, problems, work etc) and just enjoying the moment.

What does Notting Hill Carnival mean to you?

Carnival means a lot to me. As a born Caribbean, it gives me a feeling like I’m back home (In the Caribbean). It also gives me the chance to be with people who are also from the Caribbean.

Stephanie Velinor


Stephanie Velinor Notting Hill Carnival 2017

What impact do you think a cultural event like Notting Hill carnival has on our social landscape?

I think that it makes a positive impact in the community. It’s a time we can celebrate all of our cultures together!

 What does it feel like to celebrate cultural difference?

It’s great! I love being from the Caribbean and I love celebrating that fact.

What does Notting Hill Carnival mean to you?

Carnival is life!! I love it.

Looking to the past

First Notting Hill Carnival 1959

The living conditions in the Notting Hill area was far from ideal with social and racial tensions rising. This culminated in ‘The Race Riots’, one of Britain’s first race riots. In an effort to bridge the cultural divide, Claudia Jones, a Trinidadian political activist organised the first Notting Hill Carnival. It took place in 1959 and was held indoors at St Pancras Town Hall 5 months after the riots. Notting Hill Carnival is so much more than the music and costumes, it is a melting pot of different cultures.

Looking to the future

In remembrance of the Grenfell tower victims, Notting Hill Carnival held a 72 second silence (1 second for each life lost) at 3pm on both the 25th and 26th of August. Notting Hill Carnival continued to be as vibrant as ever this year and will continue to do so over the coming years. We already can’t wait for the next one!

Check out the official website for Notting Hill Carnival here:

Also, find several Grenfell charities below:

Grenfell United:

Grenfell Foundation:

Support For Grenfell Community Hub: