Cultural Celebration Economic Boost

THE NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL (NHC) ANALYSIS 2

Festivals portray cultural, historical aspects of communities. Festivals are known to provide an economic boost and act as a catalyst which increases community spirit and pride. A recent study highlights festivals as one of the main tourist attraction for both the foreigners and the locals. Examples of such global celebrations include; The New Orleans Mardi Gras, Toronto International Carnival, New York’s Labor Day Parade and the Notting Hill Carnival. In this case study, we will consider NHC as our reference.

NHC began merely from a local cultural celebration of the Caribbean heritage and culture. The NHC is well known as the biggest festival in Europe. It takes place every year during the two days of the August bank holiday. The Notting Hill Carnival festival was first held in 1966 to celebrate the traditions of and Caribbean culture. During this event, 500 people attended the festival. Since then, the attendance to the festival has been shooting yearly. The folklore says that the festival was an event that allowed the Caribbean community to come together and oppose the adverse conditions that they were subjected to in their own motherland. The NHC roots from the one-day ‘holiday’ that the enslaved Africans were given off from working in the Massa’s plantation were given. Today the NHC attracts over people from different walks in the world, and it has, therefore, become a significant tourist spectacle which generates a substantial amount of income for the locals. Although the event is highly regarded, the global event faces the challenge of overpopulation and underfunding. Since the event has its roots based on the poor people and the black people, no one wants to be held liable for the challenges. As an event manager, I will focus on the foreseeable positive aspects impacts of the event which make the event still relevant. I will also discuss some of the challenges that the event faces as a result of poor management and organization of the event.

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NHC allows the Caribbean’s to celebrate their culture and showcase themselves. There is a mutual beneficial relationship between tourism and culture which helps to improve the attractiveness of a region, place or country. Under the leadership of Leslie Palmer, who hailed from Trinidad, Notting Hill Carnival saw an attendance of over 500, 000 people. To attract the younger generation Palmer introduced a sound system which played pure Jamaican reggae music. Tourism provides opportunities for a state to preserve and strengthen the cultural heritage. Historical events are meant to benefit the local community, and they are concerned with seasonal activities and key calendar memories. There has been significant growth over the last decade in the number of attendance as a result of culture been used as a tool to promote destinations. (What is popularly known as destination market mix strategy). With the high number of tourists visiting NHC from all over, a lot of revenue is generated, and it can be used to boost other sectors of the economy. The revenue collected is as a result of the visitors purchasing local goods and services. With this in mind, it is thus easy to understand why event tourism is key to the growth and development of cities.

The NHC has a significant effect on the locals. Involvement of the local community plays an important role in the sustainability and popularization of the event. It also plays a huge role in customer satisfaction. The host is responsible for developing cultural experiences for the tourist as they take part in the experiences. The hosts also help define the atmosphere and the sense of place. There is voluminous information that suggests that the local community acquire economic benefit from event tourism. For instance, by accommodating the tourist in restaurants and selling goods to them. The local community also plays a vital role in developing tourism through hallmark, cultural events, and sporting (Tompsett, 2005)

Besides the positive aspects of the event, there are very many concerns that have been raised. A lot of complaints have been reported concerning the noise and property destruction that occurs during the event.

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The above results show that NHC causes disruption to the local community and complaints are often raised. The complaints are normally monitored by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC) who are often proactive in trying to reduce the disruptions from the static sound systems (Raj, 2015).

After continued property destruction, the police presence was increased and so did the violence increase. The young generation in attendance of the event reacted violently to the police presence. Their reaction was deeply rooted in the racial tensions that existed during the time. In 1976 black youths attacked over 1500 policemen in patrol with bottles and stones. It was inevitable that issues would arise as a result of the presence of the heavily armed police officers. Following the incidence, the local council wrote a report to have the event banned (Ali-Knight, 2009)

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The table above shows that the number of police present in the NHC has been increasing significantly for the last five years. Each year police officers provide criminal reports that occur during the event with over 279 people been arrested. This highlights the presence of some negativity on the host community and NHC (Raj, 2015).

Apart from safety issues, the event also faces the challenge of underfunding of the event by the local government. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council (RBKC) has failed in the funding of the event. The funds realized to cover the event are now consider to the high levels of attendance. According to Raj 2015, £100,000 of funding is available from RBKC every year to coordinate and plan the event in a bid to promote a safer Carnival. However, RBKC is considering doubling its funding to the festival. In the previous years, there have been calls by the organizing committee requesting more funds for the event. This is the case because the event runs majorly under the funding of volunteers. Currently, there are talks been held between the organizers and local authorities concerning the issue of increased funding

In conclusion, we can deduce that the Notting Hill Carnival (NHC) festival has huge economic, social and cultural benefits. Socially, the event enhances people’s lives, promotes community pride and encourages community ownership & participation. In terms of culture, the event provides the Caribbean’s with an opportunity to showcase themselves and their culture. The festival also educates different cultures and brings them together. The festival also plays a great role in boosting the economy.

The challenges faced by NHC are mainly due to poor organization practices. A lot can be achieved if the festival is well run and managed. The festival creates a very good avenue for the youth empowerment and can also be used as a source of revenues generated for the local authorities. I call for cohesion between the state, the local government, and the locals in solving the issues surrounding the event to make it a success. The organizing committee should work relentlessly to ensure that the event is funded adequately and the peace and order is restored

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References

  • Ali-Knight, J 2009, International Perspectives of Festivals and Events, Advances in Tourism Research Series, Routledge, Oxford, viewed 12 April 2019, .
  • Raj, R 2015, ‘Carnival: Community Cohesion, Neighborhood Identity or Political Challenge’, Journal of Hospitality & Tourism, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 27–47, viewed 12 April 2019,
  • Tompsett, AR 2005, ‘“London is the Place for Me”: Performance and Identity in Notting Hill Carnival’, Theatre History Studies, vol. 25, pp. 43–60, viewed 12 April 2019,

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