News / Europe

Europe's 'Biggest Street Festival' Rocks London

Europe's "Biggest Street Festival" Rocks Londoni
|| 0:00:00
X
August 29, 2012 1:48 AM
During a summer dominated by the 2012 Olympics, Europe's largest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, gave London revellers another thing to smile about on Sunday and Monday. As Selah Hennessy reports, the carnival is an important cultural event -- led by London's West Indian community.

Europe's "Biggest Street Festival" Rocks London

Selah Hennessy
LONDON — During a summer dominated by the Olympics, Europe's largest street festival, the Notting Hill Carnival, gave London revelers another thing to smile about Sunday and Monday. The carnival is an important cultural event led by the West Indian community in London.

About 1 million people poured onto the streets of west London during the two days of the Notting Hill Carnival.  Swamped on all sides by massive crowds, hundreds of groups took part in the parade, dancing to the beat of pounding music that pumped through loudspeakers.   

Their costumes ranged from the colorful and extravagant to the surprising and surreal.  The members of a group called "Chocolate Nation" arrived splattered head to foot in melted chocolate.

VOA accompanied one band, called Jamboulay Carnival Arts, along the route.  It is run by Francesca Bailey, who said getting ready for Carnival takes her the whole year.

She has to raise the money, around $10,000, to run workshops, build a float, and get the costumes ready.  But she says she does it to keep her culture alive.

"We do it every year because for us it is a very cultural thing, and it is important that we continue with our culture.  Carnival is something that began many years ago in Trinidad and Tobago, and it was based on the emancipation of slavery and it has over the years, it has progressed and evolved.  So, it is nice to see that it has come to Britain and really evolved over the years," Bailey said.

The first day of the carnival, Sunday, is dubbed "Family Day" and is especially for young people.

One of Bailey's sons, 17-year-old Bami Bailey, has been coming to the Carnival with his mother since he was a small child.  He told VOA it has been an important relief from his day-to-day life.

"A lot of us "black kids," shall I say, we live in London ... we live in not poverty, but we live in the bad, terrible areas.  And just a place full of crime and stuff like that.  And carnival is a place where you are always happy, you get a good feeling and everything," Bailey said.

Notting Hill Carnival originated about five decades ago, in part to improve race relations in London.  It is led by the West Indian community, but also incorporates communities from all over the world.  

Participants raise money from various organizations, including local councils, and much of the work is done voluntarily.

Tailor Thomas Benjamin, who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago, has been volunteering his services for the past 10 years, helping to make costumes for the Carnival.  He says he does it to help young people.

"If we are able to reach children before they are exposed to negative things then you save one child from going to jail, you save one child from being in the grave.  The minute the youth, he reaches 14, 15, 16, if he does not have a Carnival background, if he did not have something positive to turn to, then most of the time it is a dead-end situation," Benjamin said.

He says it is an important diversion for young people in his borough, Hackney, one of a number of London neighborhoods that was rocked by riots last year; vehicles and buildings were set on fire and shops across the city were looted.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid