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Notting Hill Carnival 2020: When is it and how can you watch the first ever virtual event?

Event to go ahead online this bank holiday weekend

Sarah Young
Saturday 29 August 2020 07:56 BST
Notting Hill Carnival goes online for 2020

Notting Hill Carnival will be returning this August bank holiday weekend but not quite as we know it.

For the first time in 54 years, the two-day festival has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic with organisers stating that “everyone’s health has to come first”.

But, the good news is that Notting Hill Carnival LTD is hosting an online event in its place, and you’re invited.

The street festival – which is the largest in Europe – is known for its extravagant parade and joyful music, and typically draws huge crowds to the streets of West London with an estimated two million visitors attending in recent years.

And, while the celebrations will be slightly different this time around, there will still be plenty of live music performances and entertainment for revellers to enjoy.

Here’s everything you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival 2020.

When is Notting Hill Carnival taking place?

Traditionally, Notting Hill Carnival happens over the course of the August bank holiday and this year is no different with the digital event taking place from Saturday 29 to Monday 31 August.

The event was kick started with a countdown on the big screen at Piccadilly Circus (NHCarnival)

On Friday, the event was kick started with a countdown on the big screen at Piccadilly Circus.

The screen showed an exclusive preview of the weekend’s first virtual event while a troupe of Caribbean Soca dancers dressed head to toe in carnival costume entertained morning commuters.

How can I watch it?

People will be able to stream a variety of live and pre-recorded events online across four channels on the Notting Hill Carnival website from Saturday.

After registering online via website Let’s GoDo for free, you can access all the content online over the weekend through the four channels, which cover Culture, Parade, Sound Systems and the Main Stage.

What is the line-up across the four channels?

Channel one: Culture

Starting on Saturday at 6pm, this channel will feature performances from a variety of steel bands pre-recorded at The Royal Albert Hall and The Theatre Royal Haymarket, from Ebony Steelband, Endurance Steelband, Mangrove Steelband and more.

From 9pm to midnight, you can also watch performances as part of the A.C.A.S.A Calypso and Groovy Soca Monarch competition, during which viewers can vote for their favourite via the NHC app.

On Sunday and Monday from 9am to 12pm, Aurie Styla and Claire Clottey will host interviews and chats with those who have been involved in carnival since its early days.

Viewers can also expect a Soca workout, carnival poetry and a digital cook-along and cocktail making session at 10am.

Channel two: Parade

Channel two is dedicated to the parade which usually takes place at Notting Hill Carnival complete with decorative floats and elaborate costumes.

On Sunday and Monday from 12pm to 8pm, you can expect to see performances from Mas bands, Steelbands and Brazilian bands.

As per tradition, Sunday will be children’s day, with the channel focusing on the young performers taking part, before adults take over on Monday.

The winners of Saturday’s A.C.A.S.A Calypso and Groovy Soca Monarch competition will be announced on this channel and their performances will be replayed.

Channel three: Sound systems

On Sunday and Monday, channel three will bring the sounds visitors are used to hearing played on the streets to their own homes between 12pm and 8pm.

Capital Xtra DJs Ras Kwame and Shayna Marie will host the show from 12pm to 4pm and BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Nadia Jae and Reece Parkinson taking over from 4pm to 8pm.

Channel four: Main stage

On Sunday, channel four will host a series of performances from international artists from countries around the world, including Jamaica, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica and Grenada.

Streaming from 8pm to 11pm the event will be hosted by DJ Ace and Remel London. At the same time on Monday, UK artists will take over the slot.

How else can I get involved?

Over the course of the bank holiday weekend, Spotify will be dedicating its music streaming platform to carnival-inspired sounds.

There will be a series of playlist takeovers from key ambassadors, over 40 of the official sound systems and on the road DJs, covering Dub, Reggae and Soca through to Soulful House.

The platform will also have a series of podcasts available, exploring the rich history of the event hosted by key creators and to match the sound with visuals, renowned photographer Ekua King will be presenting an exclusive portrait and film gallery.

You can also buy Carnival 2020 merchandise and a commemorative magazine via the event’s website.

For more information about Notting Hill Carnival 2020 you can visit

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