[MAGAZINE] NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL BY VINCENT CHAPTERS
Carnival; two days in London when everybody comes together. all different walks of life, race, class, shape, size – whatever separates people day to day is put aside for the vibe. girls wining with police, people smoking, drinking, bumping into people they haven’t seen in years, meeting new people… it’s a special time in London when the city really gets to express itself.
Every year after the music has stopped and the crushed cans of red stripe have been swept away, the media produces the carnival crime stats in attempt to get it shut down. The stats are always taken out of context. Last year there were 454 reported arrests out of the estimated 2 million attendees. Baring in mind that this is the first year the unofficial party sponsor of carnival – laughing gas balloons – were outlawed, this was inevitably going to lead to more arrests. At Glastonbury festival the same year, which has an attendance of 135,000, the number of arrests were 75 which was considered a success.
Based on percentages, if carnival had the same crime rate we’d be expecting 750 arrests and be happy with it. It costs the police £7 million to staff the event, but carnival generates £93 million for London. You can’t put a price on vibes.