Yesterday, the spirit of Carnival charged through West London’s Emslie Horniman Pleasance Park, as the packed crowds danced to the Red Bull Music Academy Sound System, back at Notting Hill after a two-year hiatus. Carnival veteran MC Serocee compared the day, which kicked off with warm up slots from dancehall connoisseur Lil C and UKG’s Conducta.
With a sizzling live set, the often outspoken but always glamorous Stefflon Don grabbed the crowd from the off, with her signature blend of rap and dancehall. Keeping levels high, afro wave pioneer Afro B stepped up next, before rap trailblazers Belly Squad whipped the W10 masses into a frenzy, including live renditions of the London trio’s recent anthems ‘Lifestyle’ and ‘Banana’.
Mixpak bossman Dre Skull followed, delivering a seamless set of the newest sounds in bashment and reggaeton, paving the way perfectly for an onslaught of dancehall hysteria when the Jamacian carnival queen, Spice, took the stage. A previously unannounced headline slot from Drake-collaborator Wizkid had the now heaving crowd singing in unison, and primed for a rapturous closing set from afrobeats provocateur P Montana.
Also getting in the carnival spirit, well-known faces in the crowd included supermodels Jourdan Dunn and Neelam Gill, popstar Ella Eyre, Doctor Who actress Pearl Mackie, Rizzle Kicks star Jordon Stephens as well as well known television presenters Maya Jama, Becca Dudley and Radio 1’s Yasmin Evans.
Red Bull Music Academy returned to Carnival on Monday, linking up with one of the UK’s most prominent and respected steel bands, Mangrove, on a bespoke carnival float. Trinidadian soca stars Bunji Garlin, Fay-Ann Lyons and Olatunji flew in to perform on-board, with additional performances from The Heatwave, DJ Puffy, Jus Now and Hipsters Don’t Dance, plus PAs from Mangrove’s soca artists Soca Jonny, Sunshine & Nadiva and Jo Money.