The Notting Hill Carnival is among the most iconic and famous festivals in the UK, and indeed the world, taking place in August of every year. Unfortunately, this year’s event has been cancelled. However, that’s not going to stop us from paying homage to such a wonderful event.
While there will be no street parade this year, there’s always a bit of a buzz around the period right here at Moon Bingo too, with many of our players talking about the carnival as well as putting their bingo play on pause to enjoy the festivities down the years.
There’s a long and incredible history associated with the festival, so to whet your appetite ahead of the smaller and safer celebrations this year from home, here are some quite incredible facts about it….
In a typical year, two million people attend
While this year there will be no official attendance for the Notting Hill Carnival, with many of the events going online, around two million people visit the carnival during a normal year, and it’s supported by a staggering 40,000 volunteers and 9,000 police.
The Carnival is the equivalent of 11 Glastonburys
Due to the size, it’s the second biggest carnival in the world, behind only Rio in Brazil and it’s the equivalent size of 11 Glastonbury Festivals when it comes to the numbers it brings.
It’s a huge boost to London’s economy
The carnival costs around £6million in policing, but it actually brings in around £93million into the capital’s economy, as people flock from far and wide to enjoy the festivities.
But it’s actually Londoners who celebrate it most
While many will come from overseas and other UK cities, tourists are actually in a minority at the festival, with only a fifth of people in the crowd being tourists.
It’s inspired by the Canboulay processions
The festival celebrations are deeply rooted in the Windrush generation and are inspired by the 18th century Canboulay processions in Trinidad.
There are 70 stages
It’s hard not to be impressed by the 70 stages that feature across the carnival, which often includes as many as 10 steel pan bands and around 40 sound systems. It’s hard to avoid the music and feel-good vibes.
It started as a relatively scary parade
While today many of the costumes in the parade are rather sexy and sparkly, the early costumes were inspired by West African mythology and would often be rather scary. Today they are bursting with colour and joy though.
The number of costumes is breathtaking
And speaking of costumes, you’ll find around 15,000 different costumes each year, all of which are made by hand. It’s believed this equates to around one million hours of costume production, 30 million sequins, and 15,000 feather plumes.
The route is three and a half miles long
Monday’s festival parade is the main event of the weekend usually, kicking off at 10am and being a rather rowdy day along its three and a half mile route. Along the route you’ll find nearly 300 food stalls and it’s believed that over five tons of chicken are served each year.