Each August bank holiday since 1966, London somehow becomes even more of a sensory overload than it usually is. We are of course talking about our annual Notting Hill Carnival. The streets are filled with colour and glitter, and glorious wiggles and wonks spurt out of phat bassy speakers in a huge celebration of London’s Caribbean heritage. At least it did, until that pandemic came along.
Last month to everyone’s disappointment, it was decided by Notting Hill Carnival organisers that Europe’s largest street festival won’t be filling the streets of Kensington for the second year in a row. Luckily, however, the 2021 carnival will be here in other guises: a series of ticketed events raising money for the Carnival Trust Fund to support the musicians affected by the cancellation, as well as a bunch of virtual events run by Spotify, who are supporting the Carnival for the second year running.
On the one hand: yes it's a big commercial partnership, but on the other, it does seem like a good opportunity to learn more about the culture and history of Carnival if you can’t make it down to the events IRL. Named Carnival Sounds 2021, Spotify will be sharing playlists curated by the official sound systems of the carnival, podcasts covering a whole host of topics relating to Black culture in the UK, and guest takeovers of their dancehall, reggae, soca and Afrobeat playlists.
Spotify’s virtual Carnival Sounds experience will run from August 23.
Take a look at what else is going on in London this August with our packed events guide.