We should have been gearing up for the Notting Hill Carnival this week. The annual event was to run over the streets of west London this Bank Holiday weekend. But like so much that is joyous and inclusive, it had to be cancelled through coronavirus concerns.
Families can still get into the carnival spirit, however. Try these activities to bring Notting Hill Carnival to your own home.
Watch The Digital Carnival
Although the streets will be free of exotic costumes and pulsing rhythms, the carnival is very much going ahead in a digital form.
Four channels -- Culture, Parade, Sound Systems and Main Stage -- will carry the festival from 29 August. Across the platforms, you’ll find a mix of calypso, soca, steel bands, sound systems, food and drink shows and much more. The three-day virtual event will be hosted by DJ Ace and Remel London
To get the streams, you’ll need to register for free in advance. Spotify is supporting the carnival with its own playlists and a series of podcasts dipping into the carnival’s long history.
The channels will begin broadcasts from midday on Saturday 29 August, so get the family ready…
How To Get Into The Mood
It would never do to simply watch the carnival streamed onto your screen. The Notting Hill Carnival is all about taking part, dressing up, dancing along and sampling the street food. Here are some ideas to recreate the vibe in your living room.
Get a costume: One of the joys of the parade is the exotic, colourful costumes. Grab a heap of card, crepe paper, feathers, glitter, stickers and other staples of the craft basket and put together outfits for the kids. At the very least, a vibrant mask or head-gear is de rigueur. You could try making one of these animal face masks, for starters.
Face paints: You’re not properly dressed for Carnival without some form of face paint, make-up or glitter. Be as creative as you like, and check out our face-painting tips here.
Get musical: The live streams will be kicking out plenty of noise, but make things even LOUDER by giving the kids their own instruments to bang and twang. We’ve got a detailed guide to making everything from washboards to maracas to kazoos. Or try this very simple DIY drum.
Get cooking: Notting Hill Carnival is a feast for all the senses, and that includes smell and taste. The carnival will be streaming plenty of food ideas for inspiration. But you can also look up recipes for jerk chicken or jackfruit, rotis, Jamaican patties and other foods from the Caribbean.
Have fun: There are no rules to enjoying the Notting Hill Carnival. Do whatever puts you and the kids in the happiest, danciest mood. If that involves ignoring all the above, then that’s cool too. Oh, and remember to warn the neighbours if you’re going to be *very* loud.
Notting Hill Carnival runs 29-31 August 2020.
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