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It’s been a pretty rainy week so far here in West London…but I have no doubt that the sun will start shining come Sunday, just in time for the 2015 Notting Hill Carnival – right?

As the final week of August rolls around once again, it’s time to start preparing for the Notting Hill Carnival which takes this weekend! As ever, the Sunday (30th August) will be Children’s Day whilst the Main Parade will take place on the Monday (31st August). Of course, eager revellers will descend on the area on both days!

Notting Hill Carnival 2013
On Westbourne Grove

Events on each day will start around 10am, with parades finishing by about 7pm and sound systems stopping their music at 8.30pm. However, there’ll be plenty of after-parties in the area’s many bars, pubs and clubs so you’ll have no problem continuing the party until the early hours.

This year, there will be 38 sound systems pumping out the tunes in the Carnival zone, and of course plenty of the usual stalls selling tasty treats (jerk chicken – of course!) and refreshing drinks.

There’s even an official app to accompany the Carnival this year! By and large, its most useful feature is the map which will help you locate particular sound systems, as well as showing your nearby food and drink stalls (although these are everywhere) and toilets (less everywhere, but certainly no less essential!).

Do remember that the Carnival area will be very busy, as always (an estimated 700,000 people attend over the two days, each year) so take care and be aware that certain points in the Carnival zone can get very crowded indeed. Do also plan your route into (and out of) the zone as most of the Underground stations in and around Notting Hill will either be completely shut, or operating special entry/exit/interchange rules. The Transport for London guide to the Carnival is the best place to check for closures, and is also useful to help you plan alternative routes.

Rain or shine, this year’s Carnival will once again establish a proper party atmosphere to the streets of W10 and W11 – with plenty of elaborate, colourful costumes; exciting parades; top music; excellent parties; a festival mood and much more!

Useful links for the 2015 Notting Hill Carnival

  • Time Out have – as ever – an excellent guide to the Carnival, with plenty of info about the Carnival itself and a full listing of warm-up and after parties. They also look at the history of the Carnival, and there’s even useful tips on what to wear! It’s also worth picking up a copy of the free Time Out magazine (distributed on Tuesdays) if you can.
  • RBKC Council also have a useful guide to the Carnival for local residents (PDF), which details things like road closures, parking restrictions and what happens for the post-Carnival clean-up
  • The Notting Hill Carnival website provides information from the Carnival Enterprises Trust
  • It’s Notting Hill Carnival Time Again Okay, this is our post from last year – but there’s some useful Carnival-going tips on there that are worth a peruse!

2015 Notting Hill Carnival
Sunday 30th & Monday 31st August 2015

Where has the last year gone? I certainly remember last year’s Carnival as if it were yesterday…but yet it’s already Carnival time once again!

That’s right, this Sunday and Monday – 24th and 25th August – Notting Hill’s streets will be packed to the brim with the revellers, soundsystems, jerk chicken stalls, Red Stripe sellers…and the Carnival procession too! And then, of course, once each day is done and dusted, it’s time for the legendary Carnival after-parties to get going…

Notting Hill Carnival 2013
Last year’s Carnival

Time Out, as ever, has a great guide to the Carnival which you can see here – there’s the route map, Carnival tips to help those that have never been and an essential guide to Carnival after-parties…as well as warm-up parties! The print edition of the magazine also has a six-page guide, including a feature on the steel bands of the event, a look at the parade’s colourful costumes and other useful tips that will come in handy to those attending. Given that Time Out’s free, it’s well worth picking up a copy. (Try local newsagents which should still have some lying around.)

VisitLondon also has useful and fun section on the Notting Hill Carnival – including a very useful area map that not only shows the procession route, but also displays helpful Underground information. There’s also more on their Notting Hill Carnival pages, which also include information on Notting Hill and Portobello Road in general.

The Evening Standard has a great line-up of Carnival parties that are taking place over the whole Bank Holiday weekend if you really want to get into the Carnival spirit.

Rinse’s Rough But Sweet Soundsystem

Celebrating twenty years since their first transmission as a pirate radio station on this very August Bank Holiday weekend, Rinse will be hosting a Carnival soundsystem for the very first time. In partnership with London streetwear brand Boxfresh – who themselves are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year – the Rough But Sweet Soundsystem will be on the corner of Hazelwood Crescent and Bosworth Road, W10. Rinse has grown from a small set set of friends sharing tracks inspired them into a radio station that transmits innovative music; the soundsystem will be live on Rinse and is the first of a programme of birthday celebrations that will culminate in Rinse – Late at Tate Britain.

Notting Hill Carnival - Rinse

The Rough But Sweet line-up – featuring everything from grime to basement and bass to soul  – includes Katy B, Chase & Status, Tinashe, Route 94, Skream, Bicep, Becky Hill, Metalheadz, Ms Dynamite, P Money and many, many more – head down (or tune in!) to celebrate with Rinse.

For a sneak preview and to get you in the mood, check out this amazing track by Katy B, who’s released this just in time for Carnival: https://soundcloud.com/katyb/littleredlight

Top Notting Hill Carnival Tips

Don’t bother trying with any of the Underground stations actually in the area – they’ll either be closed, operating a one-way system or insanely over-crowded. Try Bayswater (Circle & District) or Holland Park which aren’t too far a walk away. Many roads (e.g. Westbourne Grove) will be closed, so it’s easy to get around. TFL have a useful page on transport to and from the Carnival.

Yes…Carnival will be crowded. Ridiculously so in some places. (e.g. The junction of Great Western Road and Westbourne Park Road is always something of a major bottleneck.) If you see a massive crush of people – no doubt trying to push past each other in all directions – consider stepping back and trying to find another route around, especially if you get a little nervous with large crowds.

THE SOUNDSYSTEMS ARE LOUD. Don’t stand too close to them, because your ears will be ringing for days on end. I SAID, YOUR EARS WILL BE…oh, forget it.

Everyone and his mate will be selling soft drinks/cans of Red Stripe/bottled water from front steps, street corners etc. They’re fine to buy from! But it’s probably an idea to bring your own water along, at least to start with.

If you want to get the vibe of the Carnival but don’t mind which day you go on, DEFINITELY go to Carnival on Sunday (officially, Children’s Day). It’s a bit less crowded, the soundsystems will still be in full swing, and you can pretty much experience everything. Plus, the kids really are very cute with their amazing costumes!

DON’T drink too much. Please. I’ve seen many a reveller passed out in some doorway by mid-afternoon (!). Yes, it’s a bank holiday. Yes, it’s fun. But then you’ll just be making some nice St John’s Ambulance people tend to a drunken fool. And doorways aren’t exactly comfy!

On a related note…you’ll need the loo at some point, yeah? There are some toilets and urinals set up on site, and you’ll also see local residents offering their own loo facilities (for a charge!). But bear in mind the whole ‘loo situation’ is a bit like a festival.

See you all at Carnival!

This summer in Notting Hill, Perform Drama School will be running a number of exciting Peter Pan workshops for kids aged 4 to 8 years old!

Perform - Peter Pan Theatre Workshops

Each workshop lasts five days, and the course will see kids embark on a magical trip to Neverland with Peter Pan, Wendy, John and Michael, helping rescue Tinkerbell from the dastardly Captain Hook.

The workshops are run by Perform Drama School’s energetic and young team of actors, musicians and dancers that inspire and encourage the young participants with funky dance steps and quick-witted improvisations. Each workshop also features colourful costumes, original songs and live music; at the end of each week, the youngsters put on a fantastic show that will delight family and friends!

Perform - Peter Pan Theatre Workshops

The workshops takes place in St Peter’s Hall, 59A Portobello Road, W11 3DB and will be running on 28th July to 1st August (2:30pm – 4:30pm daily) and 18th to 22nd August (2:30pm to 4:30pm daily). For more details on the workshops, or to book a place online, please see perform.org.uk/classes/holiday-courses/peter-pan.html.

As well as running free drama workshops at primary schools in the local area, this autumn Perform will also be running a special set of ‘Outer Space’ themed courses. More on these can be found at perform.org.uk/classes/weekly-classes/perform-48s/themes/outer-space.html.

Peter Pan Workshops with Perform Drama School
2.30pm to 4.30pm, 28th July – 1st August and 18th to 22nd August 2014
St Peter’s Hall
59A Portobello Road
W11 3DB

www.perform.org.uk

This year’s InTransit arts and culture festival in Kensington and Chelsea kicks off on Friday 18th July (running until the 27th July) – and what a better way to celebrate than at the official launch party, hosted by Shotgun Weddings!

Taking place in Acklam Village under the Westway on Portobello Road, this quirky wedding themed club night will see a night full of laughter, glamour and love! Come down to be a guest at the wedding…where you might even be in with a chance of being married off to someone else!

Shotgun Weddings

That’s right – two beautiful strangers will be (illegally and unofficially) married on the hour, every hour, celebrating in style with a full wedding package – that’s with a tiara and veil, bridesmaids, cake, mother of the bride, a trophy, free drink and wedding presents.

Will it be you racing up the aisle, or will you be present at the “wedding” of your nearest and dearest? Either way, put your best frock on and experience a proper wedding party – with cake, confetti, champagne, a best man speech and weird uncle Alvis: the in-house marriage counsellor and borderline alcoholic.

Come join Shotgun Weddings this Friday to celebrate a wedding spectacular, and the launch of the InTransit Festival!

Tickets for the night cost £12 in advance (£10 concessions), or £15 on the door. Tickets can be booked in advance online at www.shotgunweddings.org.uk.

Shotgun Weddings
8.30pm – 12.30am, Friday 18th July 2014
Salvage City at Acklam Village
3 Acklam Road
W10 5TY
www.shotgunweddings.org.uk