London

Notting Hill Carnival: Crowds brave blazing heat

Notting Hill Carnival 2019 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The scorching heat did not put off thousands of revellers who attended this year's carnival

The blazing sunshine of the hottest Bank Holiday Monday on record provided the perfect backdrop for the vibrancy of Notting Hill Carnival.

The leafy trees across the west London suburb provided shade for thousands of revellers to enjoy the booming sounds of the parade as it went by.

Image caption Rochelle Watson (left) and Serena Watson said they felt like movie stars for the day

Serena Thomas, a performer on the Tears Mass float, said although it was hot, the weather was bearable. Drinks were provided on the float all day and if the heat got too much, she said they could all step off and have a breather.

When she did just that to grab some lunch, she said she became quite the star attraction and was immediately swamped with requests for photographs.

"This is the only time I approve of people taking my picture," she said, while her friend Rochelle Watson added: "The whole day is a movie, it doesn't feel real."

Image caption Sarah Steele (second from right) attends carnival every year with her family

For Sarah Steele, carnival is a family affair. She has been brought up attending the event and her family have now secured the perfect spot to watch the parade: underneath a shady tree and in front of a house owned by people they've now become friendly with.

"If you follow the floats, it's a different vibe," she said. "If you pick your spot you get to see all the costumes and sound systems and there's no pushing or shoving."

Plus you do not have to cart around a big ice box full of refreshing drinks.

Image caption Robert David-Grant said he loved watching the parade

Robert David-Grant said he had been attending carnival for 30-odd years.

"It's a time when everyone can be themselves and just have fun," he said.

On Sunday, there were nearly 100 arrests associated with the carnival but Mr David-Grant said he did not think it was an unsafe place to be.

"The police do a great job and just want everyone to have a great time," he added.

DJ Corey Scott and Cheryl Barnwell are in charge of Virgo International, one of the roughly 35 official sound systems, which play a variety of Caribbean music styles, from dancehall to bashment and reggae.

They have been at carnival since Sunday morning where they spent five hours putting together their sound system, which comprises of 50 speakers, 36 of which are subwoofers which enhance the base.

Image caption DJ Corey Scott and Cheryl Barnwell have been attending carnival for nearly 40 years

Based on a street corner, they can have up to 1,000 revellers dancing to their booming beats, the vibrations of which are so loud they reach all the way up to your throat.

"We play music which represents all the Caribbean islands," said DJ Scott. "Carnival is all about London's diversity and for people to enjoy themselves."

Image caption Kesensa Mordi (right) and her friends said they have fun chatting to people who want to use their toilet

And if it all gets a bit too much, revellers could always head to 16-year-old Kesensa Mordi's family home.

They were offering the opportunity to avoid the long queues at the portable toilets and instead use theirs.

It has proved to be a popular enterprise, as there have been queues down their steps and around on to the street.

"We've had a lot, probably hundreds of people," she said, adding that they had helped people who had lost their friends charge their phones, offered some a shoulder to cry on, bread for those that need sobering up and even lent a man a hairbrush so he could style his hair.

"Carnival is all about bringing people together and by offering our toilet, we're offering people a nicer experience."

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