Notting Hill Carnival returns as mayor praises ‘celebration of London’s diversity’

Revellers massed on Sunday morning for the opening of the festival which has become one of the biggest in the world.

London’s mayor said in a statement to mark the occassion: “I’m delighted that Notting Hill Carnival will be returning to the streets of west London this weekend.

“This community-led celebration of Caribbean history and culture has become one of the world’s biggest street festivals and part of the very fabric of this city.

“I urge everyone planning to attend Carnival to arrive early to make the most of this wonderful celebration of our capital’s diversity.”

On Sunday morning, large crowds gathered for J’Ouvert celebrations, where revellers sprayed coloured paints and powders on each other to kick off the festivities.

On Saturday evening more than 1,000 people gathered to watch the Panorama steelband competition.

Revellers flocked to Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park, in west London, to watch a curtain-raiser featuring five steel bands – Mangrove, Croydon Steel Orchestra, Ebony, Metronomes, and Pan Nation.

Defending champions Mangrove have won for three years in a row, and member Joelle Gardiner, 34, said: “It is hard to put into words how good it would feel to win tonight.”

“I have been coming to carnival ever since I was six or seven, watching people play until I was at the age where I could get involved as well.”

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