Grey skies couldn’t dull the carnival atmosphere in the Thameside town of Kingston on Sunday 4 September.
Setting off from the imposing Guildhall, a soca truck set the pace for masqueraders drawn from Paddington Arts Elimu, Dragons, Genesis, Burrokeets UK and Bajan Revellers, Following on behind were brightly costumed Bolivians, the inevitable couple of samba dancers, a capoeira group, Dhol Squad drummers, Miss Surrey in a flower-bedecked bicycle cart, two stiltwalkers, Indian and Chinese community associations and Tribo drummers.
The carnival made a 40-minute circuit of the town centre, preceded by an entire mas band of mayors and aldermen sporting more gold chains than Mr T. Most participants ended their activities at the Guildhall, but a hard core – from Burrokeets, of course – continued the fete in a side street. A fire engine was parked nearby, just in case things got too hot!
In town, two stages showcased local talent ranging from Hindu devotional music to punk. A stack of speakers near Kingston’s iconic Bentalls store thundered out old school reggae, and the Market Place took on a character fractionally closer to the town’s Caribbean namesake with stalls selling sugar cane, rice and peas and curry goat.
After the madness of Notting Hill this was an easygoing las lap – though probably quite exciting enough for genteel Kingston. Those who found it all too much could retreat to the Green Zone in the churchyard where nice Surrey folk were on hand to discuss jam-making and the welfare of bees.
So next year, Mr DJ, we expect to hear Kurt Allen’s Dust Dem! Then watch for the stampede in K-Town…