Over two million people expectedly enjoyed the sights and sounds of this year’s Notting Hill Carnival, the largest street festival in Europe, which was first held in 1964 by the Afro-Caribbean community; and the revellers were not disappointed with the parade of giant floats through the streets of London.
During the bank holiday weekend, the streets came alive to steel bands, colourful floats and costumed performers, as members of the public flooded into the area to join in the celebrations.
Revellers flocked to the first day of the carnival, as the event kicked off in bright sunshine, following earlier fears that the event would be hampered by the rains; thousands of youngsters took part in the children’s day of the carnival (on Sunday, 25 August, 2013), which traditionally starts the event.
The second day for a feast of Caribbean culture, food, music and dance, now in its 49th year, was spiced with the participation of Nigeria, as Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA), under the leadership of ace Nollywood actor, Sam Dede, put up a very strong showing with a beautiful float designed by Yibo Koko.
Monday is traditionally the day of the carnival attended only by adults, with many attending a party hosted by Red Bull Music, with acts including Disclosure and David Rodigan; but it was not to be as thousands of children still trooped in to partake in the revelry.
Festival-goers danced to giant sound systems set up on street corners, while procession performers wore multi-coloured costumes, played steel drums and danced behind trucks, which marshalled out a variety of music: from reggae to dancehall, and calypso to dub.
The carnival procession started at 09.00am on Great Western Road, and one of the first groups to take to the streets was the charity Kinetika Bloco, whose dancers wore pink, green and white costumes while a brass band played songs from The Clash’s Rock the Casbah to Daft Punk’s Get Lucky.
Performers danced through the West London streets in bright and colourful costumes, with big baselines and whistles filling the air, just as the giant floats of the parade made their way around several locations, starting at Westbourne Park Underground station, going up Kensal Road, along Ladbroke Grove and down Westbourne Grove.
The Rivers State Float took off from Woodfield Road, behind Harrow Road Old Police Station, where it was positioned, down Elkstone, Great Western Road, Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove, and down Ladbroke Grove, with Sam Dede, Columbus Irisoanga, Basorge Tariah Jnr., Bobby Ogoloma, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture & Tourism, Dr. Nnabuine Imegwu, RSTDA Board Chairman, Chief Emeka Woke (former chairman of Emohua Local Government Council), and Okrika Local Government Council Chairman, Barr. Tamuno Williams, among others, fully costumed and dancing to variety of music.
With “Fascinating Nigeria” branded T-shirts and face caps, courtesy the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), the Executive Secretary, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, the Acting Director/SA-ES, Mr. Ebi Campbell, and the Acting Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie, as well as a delegation from Ogun State Ministry of Culture & Tourism, led by Mrs. Yewande Amusan, among others, joined the parade.
More interesting was the involvement of Nigerians in the UK, who followed the float, dancing their hearts out, to the extent that those in charge of crowd control had a hard time maintaining order, in a parade that lasted more than ten (10) hours.
With the Notting Hill Carnival 2013 experience, it could be submitted that organisers of various carnivals and festivals in Nigeria have a lot to learn, to ensure that such events do not take place without enough sensitization; because the massive participation of the people makes the difference.
© Nico news