Through a haze of barbecuing jerk chicken and with the booming bass of one sound system blending into the next, west London came alive once more this weekend.
The August bank holiday means one thing for many: the Notting Hill Carnival – a two-day celebration of Caribbean culture with the power to bring all communities together for music, dance and good food.
And this year marked a significant milestone.
It’s 75 years since the Empire Windrush docked in Essex bringing hundreds from the West Indies to fill post-war labour shortages.
Among those in the crowd was Aama Sade, whose family came here from the Caribbean.
“It’s about the steel pan, it’s about all of us being able to celebrate in the way we do,” she said.
“Carnival started because of rioting, because of racial tension.
“From Windrush, how we started, to the achievement of that.”
Image: Aama Sade attended Notting Hill Carnival The Caribbean influence is certainly clear in the hundreds of food stalls with curried goat, ackee and saltfish also on the menu.
Police presence and arrests
To maintain order during the festivities, 12,500 officers were deployed by the Metropolitan Police to patrol the carnival, and while the force said the mood was “good natured” throughout the day, several arrests have been made.
There have been 24 arrests so far for a range of offences including possession of weapons, drugs, being drunk and disorderly and sexual assault.
The police also said some may have “regrettably” travelled to the carnival with knives.
In a step declared as “precautionary”, the Met has issued at Section 60 order meaning officers have additional search powers until 2am.
“Officers will continue to use their powers respectfully and sensitively as they have been doing throughout the event so far,” the force said.
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The carnival is also marking 50 years since “mas bands” were introduced – short for “masquerade”.
They’re at the heart of carnival, parading through the streets with vibrant costumes, masks and thumping sounds.
Image: It’s Aliyah first-ever carnival It’s four-year-old Aliyah’s first ever carnival. She’s been rehearsing hard ready to parade through the streets in her orange and turquoise feathered wings and jewelled make-up.
“It’s amazing for me to see her enjoying all this music all the people, the food and feeling at home,” said her mother Anastacia.
The event in 1973 also marked the first use of sound systems.
Now the pumping bass reverberating around the residential roads, and the dancing in the streets that accompanies them, is as much a part of the event as the parade.
As many as two million people are expected to come along over the weekend.
Day one is billed as a family day – it’s all about the children.
On Monday, the adults will party even harder.