If you've ever been to Notting Hill Carnival, you'll know that there are very few parties quite like it. The parade always falls on August bank holiday weekend which is Saturday 24th to Monday 26th August this year. Up to two million people are expected to come from all over to brighten the streets of Kensington, jamboree-style.
From the reggae, meringue, calypso, rumba, and zouk music, to the hundreds of Caribbean food stalls, colourful carnival parade, and late night after parties, one thing's for sure: everyone's out to have a good time.
That includes customers at Workspace buildings right at the center of the action: Grand Union Studios, Canalot Studios and Westbourne Studios. One such customer is Greg Weir, Founding Partner at community radio platform Portobello Radio based at Westbourne Studios who has had his own sound system at the Carnival since 1996.
In 2005, the radio formed and its mission since has been to bring listeners the real sound of London culture, says Greg. "We celebrate the rich cultural diversity that the Portobello area has to offer, serving as a hub for the community, streaming its events, news, views and developments."
This means being at the community's heart is key. Westbourne Studios has provided Greg and his team with the space to host weekly chat shows. But he also takes advantage of being able to travel the streets via numerous outside broadcasting units. "We simply take our kit and go," says Greg. "Wherever it's happening – be that a local venue, nightclub, or art gallery – that's where we broadcast."
"We’re very lucky that we’re in an area with immense cultural heritage. It means we’ve got a wealth of talent, a wealth of background that we can tap into to tell people's stories," he says. "Each year, we look to make our sound system at Notting Hill Carnival complimentary to the Caribbean community, the culture of the area and the other sound systems."
A few streets away from Portobello Radio, Kate Hyatt, the Co-owner of Canalot Studio's café has watched the carnival for the last 58 years, without missing a single year. Friends since childhood, Kate and Joe now run The Canal Deli and Bar together on their home turf and the Carnival has become an annual celebration in their life.
"We were both born here so we witnessed the Carnival when it first arrived to the area," says Kate. "I was 5 years old and I remember them making their way down with brass instruments and singing and dancing in the streets. Everybody was looking out of their windows thinking 'what's this?'"
In the last 10 years, the Carnival has started right outside Canalot Studios and it begins on the Saturday night - "not the Sunday like everybody thinks," says Kate.
"The roads around here are closed off and steel bands come down to play their biggest tunes. It's a big competition and there's a panel that sits outside on built-up scaffolding to judge the acts," she says. "It's a fantastic chance for the whole community to join in the fun."
For more information on this year's carnival, head to nhcarnival.org, and don't forget to tune in to Portobello Radio for the latest news.
If you want a taste of Canalot Studios' café, head to their Burger Thursdays every week in the centre's outdoor space in Ladbroke Grove.
Want to hear more from the music companies making up West London's vibrant, community at Westbourne Studios? Read Pete Hutchinson's story and find out what it's like to run a classic vinyl label, The Electric Recording Co.
If you want to view our range of office spaces and become part the creative community at Westbourne Studios, Grand Union Studios or Canalot Studios call 0203 411 0601 today or find out more about the office space available in West London here.