Music, News|Hamda Salwe|2018-08-22T16:53:08

UK Rap’s Sound System Guide to Notting Hill Carnival

Carnival is coming! This bank holiday weekend (Sunday August 26th – Monday August 27th) will see over two million people descend upon West London for two days of music and madness with Notting Hill Carnival. It’s Europe’s largest street festival and one of the countries most significant cultural events, definitely not one to miss.

One of the biggest rookie mistake to avoid is not planning ahead so you can get the best out of London’s biggest party, and we’re going to make your planning a little bit easier with a run down of our favorite Carnival sound systems.

While Carnival started out as a celebration of Caribean culture, through London’s diversity you can now hear a wealth of genres like Afrobeats, Garage, Grime, Jungle and of course UK Rap. So here’s an essential guide with our top five recommended sound systems especially for all the Rap lovers out there.


Year after year, Rampage has been the place to be with the very best surprise guests who’ve included Sean Paul, Tinie Tempah, Buju Banton, Ms Dynamite and Wiley.  The notorious sound system is the perfect place to hear a mix of current reining UK Rap hits along with a little Grime, Garage and  bashment bangers.

Check out the video of some of the madness that went down last year!

Location (Google Maps): Colville Gardens

Casa Bacardi

Get ready because Casa Bacardi will be taking over Powis Square on Monday with rum cocktails and a massive line-up with the best of Britain and international acts. For the time being their star-studded bill is being kept under wraps, but you sure can take our word for it – this will be massive!

Location (Google Maps): Powis Square

Rough But Sweet

Founded in 1989, Rough But Sweet is the one to hit up for a diverse mix of Reggae, R&B, Dancehall and current hits. Every year they’ve got something extra exciting in store and have run previous partnerships with Rinse FM, Alizé and Boiler Room.

Check out the madness that went down last year!

Location (Google Maps): Hazelwood Crescent

Red Bull – RBMA Stage

Be prepared to scream “I’m drinking rum and Red Bull” at the top of your lungs as on Sunday Red Bull will be bringing Dre Skull, Afro B, Trillary Banks and many more to their own massive sound system. Maleek Berry and Hoodcelebrity are also on the bill along with a top secret headliner.

Check out this video from Linkup TV of how things went down!

Location: Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park

Different Strokes

Going strong since the 90s, this is an unmissable one for the hardcore dancers. Different Strokes gives you a real diverse fix of Jungle, Dancehall, Drum and Bass, Reggae, RnB, House and Hip Hop. This year they’ve got Kiss FM’s DJ Pioneer, XO Man and many more on the line-up. Over the past two years the stage was taken over by Shy Fx Party On The Moon bringing together some of the biggest artists in modern urban music. This stage gets so crowded on Monday they have to close the road – so get there early!

Check out this clip of Jaguar Skills from 2016.

Location: St Luke’s Road

For more on Notting Hill Carnival, you can also check out our top twelve tips right here.

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