Only Ebony and Nostalgia, plus a couple of iron bands – that was the sad reality that greeted the thousand or so revellers at 6am waiting expectantly for some steelpan to accompany the important business of getting covered in powder and paint along Ladbroke Grove.
For an early-rising hard core of carnivalists, Jouvert IS Carnival. In the mysterious, rather magical atmosphere of dawn, and with few barriers, spectators or police in evidence, the old, primal spirit of Carnival seems most alive and most free.
Usually, we have had a choice of three or four truck-mounted bands – Ebony, of course, and London All Stars and Real Steel have been regular performers. The variety of music and styles of playing adds to the interest; each band has its appeal and each gathers a crowd chipping behind and alongside it.
This year, though, the only truck that turned the corner from Kensal Road (at 6.30am) bore a somewhat lacklustre Ebony, which left a lot of the crowd with nowhere to go and little to do. As the sun rose higher in the sky it was down to the iron bands to keep the heart of Jouvert pumping.
No doubt to the relief of the police, Jouvert ended earlier than normal at 8.30am. It may have been short but it was still sweet…