Notting Hill Carnival: The history behind London's annual celebration of Caribbean culture

This year marks the first time Notting Hill Carnival is being held virtually since it began more than half a century ago

Saturday 22 August 2020 09:43

This year, for the first time in the event’s 54-year history, Notting Hill Carnival is holding a virtual parade because of the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on large crowds, with live music performances and entertainment being made available online throughout the August bank holiday weekend.

The street festival – which is the largest in Europe – is known for its extravagant parade and joyful music, with hundreds of thousands of visitors joining in the celebration of Caribbean culture year after year.

Although the first outdoor festival in Notting Hill took place in 1966, the origins of the carnival can be traced back to the 1950s, when an indoor Caribbean carnival was organised shortly after the racially-motivated 1958 Notting Hill riots.

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