Notting Hill Carnival 2009 Gears Up

Carnival Mas White

Notting Hill Carnival 2009 gears up to be a spectacular event Hundreds of thousands of revellers from across the world will come together to celebrate the Notting Hill Carnival this Bank Holiday weekend.

Scores of elaborately dressed masquerade artists in larger than life costumes will join steelpan bands to perform along the 3.5 mile route in Europe’s biggest cultural celebration.

Almost 40 static sound systems will each offer up their own selection of music including traditional soca or calypso as well as reggae, hip-hop jazz, soul, house and garage to entertain the crowds.

Hundreds of exotic food and drink stalls will also provide a variety of tastes from around the globe including the authentic flavours of the Caribbean, China, Thailand and Nigeria.

A key change to this year’s event will see the carnival procession kick off at the earlier time of 9.00am and end at 6:30pm on both days and organisers are advising people to turn up early to avoid missing any of the show.

In addition to its significant cultural and social contribution Carnival plays a key economic role in the capital with the latest figures showing that it generates more than £90million for London’s economy and supports the equivalent of 3,000 full-time jobs. *

Chris Boothman, London Notting Hill Carnival’s lead director, said: “Notting Hill Carnival is essentially an event that is designed to bring people of different backgrounds together in celebration of Caribbean culture. The event has huge international appeal and plays a crucial role in celebrating London’s diversity and attracting visitors to our great capital city.

“Carnival gives revellers of all ages and backgrounds the chance to come together and celebrate three days of unique, free, and fun-filled entertainment and this year promises to be a spectacular event that is unrivalled anywhere in Europe and globally second only to the Rio Carnival in Brazil.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: “Notting Hill Carnival is the summer celebration that attracts visitors from across the globe to London for the ultimate free street party. This year I encourage you all to arrive early to enjoy the colourful floats and the sounds of the mas bands and steel pans.

“The historic event highlights the best of Caribbean culture and the contribution that Caribbean Londoners have made. It illustrates the energy and colour of our great city, which is woven into the fabric of London life.

“There really is no better place to sample delicious Caribbean food and enjoy the dazzling colours of the costume parade. I hope everyone has a truly wonderful time at the carnival this year.”

The Carnival Board works with local authorities and the Metropolitan Police to ensure revellers and local residents can enjoy the festivities in safety.

Chief Inspector Jo Edwards, from the Metropolitan Police Service, said: “Carnival is a wonderful, unique and vibrant event, which is of great importance to London. Our job is to make sure we do all we can to keep the thousands of people who go as safe as can be.

“Given the huge number of people who take part in Carnival crime rates are low, and our policing style last year made sure that less people were a victim of crime. We will be working with the full support of the organisers and the community to ensure that success continues this year.”

The Carnival’s official charity this year is The Prostate Cancer Charity, which will have a strong presence at Carnival to raise awareness of the disease.

Suresh Rambaran, The Prostate Cancer Charity’s Support and Specialist Information Nurse, said: “The Charity has had a presence at the Carnival for the past few years and we are delighted to be the official charity this year.

“There is nowhere on earth that compares to the atmosphere of the Notting Hill Carnival – it is so vibrant and colourful and we can’t wait to be there again and join in all of the celebrations.

“It is also the ideal opportunity to get out into the community and spread the word that African Caribbean men are three times more likely to develop prostate cancer than white men. It’s going to be a great weekend and for the Charity, it will be the greatest Carnival yet.”

Notting Hill Carnival was established in 1964 and covers a three and half mile route around west London, taking in Westbourne Grove, Ladbroke Grove and Kensal Road.

The Carnival’s official charity for 2009 is The Prostate Cancer Charity, which will have a strong presence at Carnival to raise awareness of the disease