Yesterday was children’s day at the carnival. So as with most years we always choose Sunday to go down, get the kids to check out the madness of people dancing in the streets and eat jerk chicken and drink a bit of rum punch (me, not kids!!)
This year they witnessed the Panorama steel band competition on Kensal Road on Saturday to see all the majesty of carnival without enduring the crowds.
I’ve always loved going to carnival and the kids enjoyed it up until we got caught up in the gridlock on Portobello Road at around 4.30pm yesterday. Usually by this time we would have been in and out of the carnival; but it took us a good half an hour just to walk from Powis Square to Goldborne Road yesterday. The resulting crush was frightening, especially for my nine year old daughter who became hysterical because she couldn’t get out and people were crushing her on all sides. I tried to make light of it, but even I was feeling a bit scared. What’s happened with the cordoning off of certain roads means it creates unfortunate bottle necks…. and with thousands on people all wanting to walk down the same street and a sound system at the other end, there is no let out!
The gridlock didn’t last long, however I’m hoping that my daughter’s experience doesn’t stay with her forever. I love carnival, but I feel the police need to gauge when and where to let people down the cordoned off streets to stop these gridlocks….in this case we were lucky but it could have been disastrous. There are mobile and static cctv cameras everywhere. The police have to co-ordinate the security and know when there is a real cause of danger and therefore let people move freely down some side streets. This would make the carnival experience more enjoyable, especially on kids Sunday which is supposed to attract families as well as seasoned carnival goers.
However even after all that I still love the fact that we can party in the streets, some residents can charge £2 for toilets in their homes and random people try to sell you those bloody annoying whistles everywhere! I did however buy my daughter a whistle on the way back home, just to cheer her up….well it was made out of ‘loom bands’!