‘We start planning from the day after’: Meet the team who work tirelessly all year long to create Notting Hill Carnival
We spoke to the Notting Hill Carnvial Board to understand just how much planning goes into Europe’s largest festival
Interview by Thomas Kingsley for My London with Linett Kamala – 11 March 2020
Notting Hill Carnival is one of the largest street parties in the world. For two days in August two and a half million people descend on Notting Hill to celebrate the very best of West Indian culture.
What came from a place of discrimination and tension within London’s 1960s Caribbean community is now a celebration that attracts visitors from across the globe.
For many carnival goers, though, those last two days in August are all the carnival they think about.
The same can’t be said for Linett Kamala and her team who oversee planning of the Notting Hill Carnival all year round, as she told me. As early as the very next day after the event ends, the planning starts again for the following year.
“The planning is continuous,” Linett said.
“I wear three hats – the carnival board director hat, carnival themed street art coordinator hat, also my sound system member hat.
“From the sound system point of view there’s a lot of debriefing straight after carnival. There’s a lot of stuff we process.
“Then the board has an immediate post carnival meeting from the next day to plan how we can improve for next year.”
‘Carnival is a constant thread that holds people together’
As a carnival director and pioneer of static sound system group, Disya Jeneration, who perform live music sets at the event, the planning and organising is non stop for Linett.
Notting Hill Carnival is unique in the sense that it’s a free event led by the community and hosts millions of people looking to party. Linett said: “Carnival is largely supported by volunteers and it’s a free event also so we have to figure out how to fund it which is a challenge.
” There’s time that has to be put in. I teach, I run an arts company, I do workshops and we have to put aside the time to plan carnival as well.”
Along with that comes attending shows to check out up and coming DJs, meet new collaborators and continuous planning on the carnival board.
It doesn’t stop at Linett, however, dancers performing on the float, for example the Brazilian Band, are currently rehearsing for carnival with some six months to go. Additionally, some groups even perform year round at other events and carnivals – one being the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival happening next week.