London’s Notting Hill Carnival, the largest street festival in Europe, which normally attracts 2.5 million visitors over two days, is going digital for the first time in its 54-year history after the coronavirus pandemic forced cancellation of the physical event.
Four channels, hosted by LetsGoDo.com, will stream performances and entertainment over Aug. 29-31, the last holiday weekend in the U.K. until Christmas. BBC Radio 1xtra’s DJ Ace and Capital Xtra’s Remel London will host the digital event on the carnival’s main stage channel. Capital Xtra’s Shayna Marie and Yinka will present on the sound system channel along with musician Ras Kwame. Presenters also include BBC Radio London’s Aurie Styla and Claire Clottey, as well as DJ Martin Jay. Audiences will be able to access the festivities at nhcarnival.org.
Music streaming platform Spotify is setting up a carnival microsite at Spotify.com/carnival, where audiences can access the likes of Koffee, The Marleys, and Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock.
The carnival will launch with a countdown on a Samsung screen, the U.K.’s biggest, at Piccadilly Circus, featuring 8K content. In the week building up to the carnival, official partner Samsung will release a series of mini-films, including a trailer that aims to capture the essence of this year’s virtual celebrations. Talent featured in the films include chef Levi Roots, Samba drumming troupe Batala, Soca dancers featuring carnival costumes of designer Melissa Simon-Hartman, who has designed costumes for Beyoncè’s “Black is King” visual album, and dancer Elisangela Mahogany.
“As an organization, we want to connect with and educate a wider and younger demographic to learn about the culture and history of Notting Hill Carnival,” said Matthew Phillip, executive director of Notting Hill Carnival. “Spotify’s engagement with the artists and the playlists that they have created is the perfect platform for so many to start that journey of learning and appreciating what an incredibly important event Notting Hill Carnival is.
“Not having Notting Hill Carnival on the street this year was an incredibly sad but vital decision that was unavoidable for the safety of millions that attend,” Phillip added. “We wanted to ensure that the vibrancy, sounds and culture was still given an opportunity to flourish in 2020. Samsung’s countdown to the largest event in Europe on the largest screen in the U.K. is the perfect way to celebrate a unique year for this great event.”