For the first time in its 54-year history, the legendary festival will be off the streets and on our screens...
For many people based in London, the last weekend in August is synonymous with rum, sequins and a whole lot of street dancing.
Because for the last 54 years, Notting Hill Carnival has swept joy across the streets of west London each August bank holiday.
A gloriously vibrant celebration of the city’s Afican-Carribean communities, the two-day festival welcomes revellers from all over to experience elaborate costumes, Caribbean cuisine and reggae beats.
And this year, Europe’s biggest street party is (of course) going digital.
After Notting Hill Carnival joined the extensive list of key calendar events to be postponed this summer, it’s been announced that it will be still be taking place from 29th – 31st August – but with an entirely digital line up.
Hosted by radio presenters DJ Ace and Remel London, the festival is set to be broadcast globally over four channels. The digital event will include a whole host of music performances from steel bands and calypso and soca dancers, as well as interviews with people behind the event and cookery shows.
This year’s online celebrations will be kicking off from the UK’s biggest screen in Piccadilly Circus, and in the week building up to the event, official partner Samsung is set to release a series of mini-films, including an exclusive trailer that captures the essence of what this year’s carnival is all about.
Revealing that it didn’t feel right to ‘not do anything’ to honour the carnival this year, Michael Phillip, executive director of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, told the Evening Standard: ‘We wanted to celebrate carnival and the people behind it. With it being digital, now it is an ‘around the world experience – it is going global.’
Speaking about the logistics of running a digital carnival, he said: ‘Lockdown has meant that we have all fast-forwarded in terms of technology. It is something we should have been embracing before, online and broadcasting. This is a new kind of carnival. It was always going to adapt and we are going to be embracing it. It is an opportunity to open people up to the carnival and give people a peak behind the curtain.’
While it’s expected that the Digital Notting Hill Carnival will replace the street festival for just this year, Mr Phillip has indicated that some elements of this year’s on-screen programme will remain for future events to come.
Viewers can tune in anytime from 6pm on Saturday 29th August. With dancing, music and cookery shows having been filmed secretly for the event over the past month, there’s a lot to be excited about – so don’t hang up that feather boa just yet…
Details on how to register to view the channels and the full line up can be found at NHCarnival.org.