Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Notting Hill Carnival - festival and riots

Notting Hill Carnival, purported to be the largest street festival in Europe, is one of the event marked on every revellers' calender. Last weekend saw the festival attended by nearly 850,000, a record number for the street party.

However, as per previous years, the Carnival was mired by presence of street thugs who were determined to spoil it for everyone else. Arrest were made after a mob hurled bricks and bottles at police, which created a standoff. 500 were arrested and weapons that include knives, a Taser gun, CS spray and a baseball bat were confiscated.

I missed the Carnival in 2007 as we went on a road trip to Wales. After hearing all the horror stories on the news upon our return, I was somewhat glad that we didn't make it there. To me, Notting Hill Carnival reminds me of the Chinggay Festival back in Singapore, only bigger, louder and wilder.

I guess age must be catching up as I would preferred to give it a miss and laze around in the countryside, which we did of course. That, I will be posting about another day.

I'm sure most if not all those who have attended the Carnival have enjoyed it quite a bit. How about this? Email your photos (preferably with you in it) to SingaporeanInLondon@yahoo.com with Subject titled "Notting Hill Carnival" and it'll be published on this Sunday's post.

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Fëanor said...

CK: no, no, you're not getting older at all. It's only tourists that go to the Notting Hill Festival. And thuggish spoilsports. Plus the whole area becomes a total puke-infestation. Highly avoidable. I'd much rather have a kebab or four at Mohsen, an Iranian restaurant on Warwich Road. Yum.

jenn_US said...

wow this looks nice. we have festivals like this back in my homeland, Philippines. :)

eastcoastlife said...

Almost 1 million people attending it! Must be very congested and hard to find your way around with so many people!

If I'm there, I would probably attend. :)

C K said...

Kebab sounds great! Hmm... looks like someone is a regular patron of the Iranian restaurant. Will be checking it out when I'm in the vicinity.

I am still thinking about whether to brave the crowds and attend the Carnival next year... well, see how it goes. Perhaps I'll be there real early and leave sometime in the afternoon before the riot police sets in.

C K said...

Oh, I'm sure you have. Filipinos are known to be great party lovers! Are there any particular festivals that you were referring to?

C K said...

I guess it's one of those events where you'll be better of watching the televised version instead of cramming with hundreds of thousands like minded people.

Hmm... my couch beckons...

Dutchie said...

ck, just read ur respond in OS re blog limbo. Thanks for taking the time to do that :)

Rotterdam hosts similar carnival every summer. The bevy of ladies r descendants from former dutch colonies in the tropics. It was my first experience with snacks from a handful of my Suriname friends. They r a very warm people, generous n very outgoing.

I dont like being in a crowd. Try leaving the stadium after a pop concert or a game ! Or, shaking hundreds of hands after a wedding dinner in a restaurant ! Well, u get my drift ;-P

Nomadic Matt said...

I think 500 out 850,000 people is a pretty good number for an event like that......

I've heard great things. I'd still go!!

C K said...

Chanced upon your post on OS so I thought I'll post a reply to that. :)

I think some of us have got this phobia of being stuck in crowds. Coming from a tiny island with one of the highest population density, one can't really blame us.

Hmm... it seems that you have first hand experience wrt the wedding. I was too zonked out in mine to care. lol

The carnivals at Rotterdam sounds like fun. Hey, do you keep a blog?

C K said...

@normadic matt,
Agreed. 500 out of over 800,000 is indeed a small percentage. But I would hate to stumble into a gang fight.... I tend to have such luck.

Having said that, those who went did have good things to say about it. However, they did also mention that it gets a bit chaotic towards the end of the day. So you might want to leave halfway through...

LadyBanana said...

My daughter was caught right in the middle of the bottle throwing and 2 of her friends were hit.. not good..

C K said...

ouch, that must have hurt. Guess that they'll probably give the next Carnival a wide berth, or would they?

Looks like they have my luck and should probably stay away.

Dutchie said...

ck, I seemed to be chasing after the illusive time, ergo, there's none left to start my own blog :(

There r times when I felt the need to raise certain social issues n see what comes out of it. There r always people who will surprised n delight u with their witty answers :) So here's cheers to all bloggers n commentators !