Forget the SW4 hype. W11 is where it's at for August bank holiday.
A funfair of colour, dance, music and costumes is set to explode into West London's streets with Europes biggest carnival on the horizon. The iconic and notorious festival is a community bond of Afro-Caribbean cool where culture and traditions collide to create one of the most thumping street parties to hit the UK. Shake your tail feathers, beat some drums and shimmy your way through the end of August. Notting Hill Carnival is coming - and here's what you need to know.
1. Meet your friends first
Don't go it alone, you're not strong enough. Designated meeting spots that always fail: "see that colourful flag?"..."by the toilets"..."near that guy with the afro". You don't need us to tell you it'll be carnival carnage, feathers everywhere, drums throwing off your balance and most likely zero signal, but we just did. Our advice to you: show some solidarity and hold hands god damn it. NEVER BREAK THE CHAIN.
2. Get the cash
Finding a cash machine that works at any festival in London is like finding shade under Kendrick Lamar's Money Tree. And as much as we love money trees (they're the best), sadly they are few and far between, like cashpoints in Notting Hill. Be a smart cookie and fill your wallet with ones beforehand. Besides, cash is always a useful bargaining tool when the inevitable golden seal is broken and you're left with no option but to invade a strangers home. Don't doubt your own desperation, it will happen and you will need cash as a pay off.
3. Whistles and horns
In the words of DesignMyNight, 'don't think, just do'. This isn't the time for holding back; blow your horn and toot your whistle ALL. DAY. LONG. Nuff said. This guys knows what's up.
4. Eat Caribbean
If you're going to Notting Hill Carnival and you eat anything other than Caribbean food, then shame on you. You'll be made to strip naked and walked through the street party with a nun ringing a bell behind you shouting shame. True story. If you don't fancy Cersei's pain then we highly recommend digging into the truck loads of authentic exotic foods. We can already taste the Jerk Chicken. Save some change from your toilet bartering to actually buy some food though.
5. Don't miss the Sound Systems
Get a wiggle on at one of the many Sound Systems at the carnival - there's over 30 of the suckers to check out. Now, don't dawdle there's the Good Times stage which is said to be one heaving, dancing mess of fun feelings where you'll have the time of your life. Don't forget the all important after parties as well so you can keep the carnival spirit pumping.