Born in reaction to one of the country's worst ever race riots, the Notting Hill Carnival is now one of Europe's biggest street events.
Returning for another instalment, tens of thousands of revellers will descend on West London for the now traditional float procession. A spectacular display of Caribbean culture filtered through a uniquely British lens, the carnival continues to grow with countless soundsystem shakedowns in every alleyway of Notting Hill.
In all honesty, the highlights are almost too numerous to mention. Every facet of bass culture is represented, from roots reggae to digital dancehall, grime to dubstep, jungle to straight up dub exploration. It's a smorgasbord of sub-low, a conglomerate of stomach churning, bass bin smashing riddims.
Ahead of this weekend's festivities, Clash decided to piece together some of the finest parties. Limiting ourselves to five, no doubt you'll have your own recommendation - if so, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.
Carnival Special @ Fire
Running through the streets of West London, the spirit of Notting Hill carnival can be felt across the city. South London's Fire has been hosting a series of free parties all summer, matching stunning value for money with a knack for squeezing fantastic performances out of high profile artists. Tonight (August 23rd) the club will witness a special set from Hyperdub boss Kode9 - no mean producer in his own right, the label lynchpin will get behind the decks to provide something typically unexpected. Elsewhere on the line up, New York Transit Authority will limber up the crowd, while Mad Decent cohort Smutlee will also be on hand to pull down the curtain on the working week. Full information HERE.
RBMA (words by Errol Anderson)
Where Portobello Road greets Acklam Road, a posse of bass music wielders is queuing up to provide the BGM for your jerk chicken-infested afternoon. The Red Bull Music Academy soundsystem rolls into Notting Hill next Monday (August 25th) with David Rodigan’s Ram Jam playing ringmaster to a circus of awe-inspiring acts from 12 – 7PM. User-friendly house flirters, Disclosure, will be brushing shoulders with garage royalty in MJ Cole and Wookie while Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley, Stephen 'Ragga' Marley and Wayne Marshall appease your reggae cravings. All while some amicable police officer gets a booty shake from some carnival goer with an elastic waist.
Toddla T Sound
Well, it wouldn't be Notting Hill carnival without Toddla T, would it? The Sheffield maverick takes his rig to Alderson Street and Kensal Road on Monday (August 26th) for an eclectic shakedown. Joining Toddla T will be Anna Mac, Robbo Ranx (with Stylo G on the mic), Breach, Roses Gabor and more. From bashment to digital dancehall, jungle to grime this looks to be one of the carnival's most buoyantly eclectic hotspots.
Swamp 81 (words by Errol Anderson)
Don’t you love it when a pair of beautiful entities comes together to form something even more beautiful? Sunday (August 25th) hosts such a delicacy as Swamp 81 take the reigns at Heaven nightclub in Charing Cross. Since forming in 2012, Loefah’s Swamp 81 has etched techno, dubstep and all sorts of other low frequency experiences into their chromosomes. Once the lights go down on the daytime carnival fiesta, it’ll be them and infamous promoters, Dollop, joining hands in musical matrimony to birth all sorts of divine noise. That means that the brooding garage and electronica of Zed Bias will bleed into Boddika, Pinch, Mala, Jackmaster Boddika and label head, Loefah right up until 6AM. It may also make getting up too early the next day a struggle; win some, lose some.
Channel One Soundsystem
At heart, reggae is a system music - something designed to be heard through enormous speakers, optimised for maximum bass weight. Choosing their location at Westbourne Park Road for its ability to seemingly lock sound in all around you, the Channel One team deliver the finest in dub reggae sounds. Ably marshalled by Mikey Dread, this is serious stuff: if you're used to lightweight, Tesco compilation style reggae then prepare to have those Althea and Donna B-sides blasted right out of your consciousness.
Notting Hill Carnival runs between August 25th - 26th.
Get the best of Clash on your iPhone - download the app here