Notting Hill Carnival will be held online this year, with a full line-up of music and entertainment taking place over the course of the bank holiday weekend.
In May, organisers for the annual celebration rooted in Caribbean culture announced that, for the first time in its 54 years, the event would not go ahead as planned in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The replacement digital event, Notting Hill Carnival: Access All Areas, will take place from 29th – 31st August, and will be streamed across four channels. Registration for the free event is available via Notting Hill Carnival’s website.
Throughout the weekend, there will be sets broadcast from over 40 legendary sound systems including Rampage Sound, Arts-A-Light, Disya Jeneration, King Tubby’s and Carnival’s only all-female sound system, Seduction City Sound. There will also be sets celebrating the sounds of Calypso, Soca and steelpan.
Spotify, which is an official partner for the online event, has curated a microsite, which will host much of the weekend’s entertainment. A number of special playlists have been curated for the occasion by artists including Jamaican dancehall artist, Spice, The Marleys, and reggae’s rising star Koffee.
BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Ace and Capital Xtra’s Remel London will host the main stage channel, while Ras Kwame and Capital Xtra DJs Shayna Marie and Yinka will host the sound system channel.
The official “afterparty” for the online event will be broadcast on 1Xtra between 11pm and 2am on Sunday night (30th), with DJs and special guests playing “Dancehall, Soca, Hip-Hop, UKG and all Carnival sounds”.
The event, which is normally held in Notting Hill, Westbourne Park and Kensington, and welcomes over 2 million people each year, will kick off with a live countdown on the largest screen at London’s Piccadilly Circus, featuring exclusive video footage from Carnivals through the years.
In an official statement, Executive Director of Notting Hill Carnival Matthew Phillip said: ““This year we faced the ultimate challenge of being unable to gather on the streets to celebrate our Carnival. But, now, more than ever, it’s important to keep the spirit of Notting Hill Carnival alive… Carnival is such an important part of people’s lives and key celebration of the multiculturalism of the UK, and we have a responsibility to our community and pioneers to honour that. We also have a responsibility to protect the black community and our elders by respecting social distancing and taking Carnival away from the streets for this year. So this is a fantastic solution for 2020.”
While you wait for next week’s online celebrations, why not revisit Don Letts’ 10 favourite Notting Hill Carnival tunes here.
(Image via Notting Hill Carnival Village Trust)