Notting Hill Carnival weekend is upon us, and I, for one, am very excited! The fever is in the air and the events have started. For those of you who are veteran masqueraders – I might see you on the road! Those of you going as revellers – have fun and be safe! And for those of you who will be playing mas for the first time – you’re gonna love it!
This will be my 8th time on the road, so I’m going to let you know what to have and do in preparation for the day – purely based on my experiences.
Collect your costume in good time: Obviously that’s not necessarily up to you, but if you’re with an organised band, your costume will be ready early enough for you o try it on at home and know what extras you might want to get to jazz it up more, if need be.
Plan your route to your band’s base: It’s not secret that travelling to West London on that day isn’t straight-forward, due to all the road and station closures, so plan ahead, and do the same for your route home. If you can arrange for someone to pick you up from somewhere at the end of the day, you’ll be SO thankful.
Carry a small bag for essential items: I usually have a small bag on me for my phone, camera, cash and lip balm. A handbag you can strap around you, or a pouch around your waist. Avoid taking too many valuables. Also, I don’t carry my whole purse, just a few ££s in case I want to buy something from one of the stalls.
Pack a flag of the country you’re repping: It’s always nice to see others who are from where you are. I love finding/meeting fellow Ghanaians, mostly because the Carnival is predominantly a Caribbean celebration.
Wear as much of your costume under your clothes: To avoid having to get naked in an inconvenient or public place, I always wear my bra and shorts under the t-shirt & jeans/leggings I’m wearing while making my way there in the morning. That way all I have to do is strip when the time comes. You should bring a bag to keep the things you won’t be needing on the road, like your outer wearm make-up, etc, and you should be able to leave them safely at your band’s base.
Stay safe: I believe that being a part of a carnival band is the safest way to attend, so always make sure you don’t venture too far from them if you decide to go walkies. If you’re with friends and you become separated, you should probably agree on a meeting place. I’d say the best place is back with your band, because you will be with familiar people, and you’ll probably need to be with them to head back to base and collect your belongings, or get on the coach (if you came with one).
Lastly: HAVE FUN AND DANCE LIKE NO ONE IS WATCHING!!!!!!
Have I forgotten anything?