Over a million people will attend the Notting Hill Carnival by the time it’s over today. The annual event dates back to 1964–or 1966,depending on your sources–when the Swingin’ Sixties culture was centered in London. Either way you know the era: 1965 was Austin Powers’ favorite year, we’re pretty sure. The West London streets shake off the dog days of August and erupt into revelry that reminds a visitor a little more of Carnival in Brazil than of the straight-backed, humorless Beefeaters that “guard” the Tower of London. Every year, prim London unbuttons its button-down self for the Notting Hill Carnival.
This year it’s been raining, but that hasn’t dampened the fun. It’s the biggest street festival in all of Europe. 60 bands will play. In years past Eddie Grant, Jamiroquai, Wyclef Jean, Courtney Pine and Burning Spear have played the gig.