Carnival Curfew

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 112 months ago
Carnival Curfew

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Image by Daniel_C_C
After last year's violence, during which some fifty officers were injured, Kensington & Chelsea council have slapped a 9pm curfew on this year's Notting Hill Carnival. They've also ordered a cut to the number of vehicles, and brought the judging time for the floats on Bank Holiday Monday forward to 6.30pm.

The Carnival, despite being trouble-free for most, does tend to attract a fair amount of crime, and the situation in 2008 was the worst yet, with a record number of arrests . A council report identified "profound organisational failure" on the Carnival's part, including a lack of steward training. Instead of demanding that these issues be rectified, K&C have decided instead to order the streets cleared and the party over by dusk. Do they think that people will simply turn away and go home quietly when Sancho Panza's Soundsytem is unplugged mid-set?

In further fun-smothering attempts, the council also told organisers to turn the volume down, lest they breach the 140db noise level and irritate the neighbours. May we suggest that folk who live on the Carnival route are probably accustomed to, even excited by, the annual al fresco gig? It's not like they can claim to be surprised — the event's been going on for over forty years.

London has already lost Rise and Stokefest this year; while the changes to the Notting Hill Carnival seem borne out of safety concerns, there's a danger that Europe's biggest street festival is now also seen as a nuisance rather than a source of pride.

Last Updated 06 May 2009