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Erin D. Somerville

Annual two‐day street festival in London's Notting Hill celebrating Britain's West Indian community. The Notting Hill Carnival takes place on the Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday weekend and is the biggest street festival in Europe, with audiences numbering over 2 million.

The five disciplines of the Carnival include: mass bands, or costumed processions and floats; calypso, political commentary set to music originating from Trinidad; soca, a fusion of soul music and calypso; steelpan, a traditional Trinidadian instrument; and static sound systems, originally from Jamaica and most often playing reggae music. The Notting Hill Carnival is greatly influenced by Trinidadian carnivals, which originated when slaves were permitted to dance, play musical instruments, and wear costumes impersonating their masters during traditional European carnivals held on Caribbean plantations.

Debate surrounds the founder of the Notting Hill Carnival. The local community leader Rhaune Laslett was long credited with creating the ...