For attendees of this years Notting Hill Carnival, many may have noticed the absence of 2 key sound systems that were heralded as some of the best to fill the capitals streets with some of the worlds earliest and more modern music during the second day of the biggest free party in the UK.
This year, carnival bands and sound systems like The Bajan Revellers, Cocoyea, Solution Sound System and Aba Shanti could all be found in their usual spots, however 2 of the main players, Norman Jay’s Good Times and Sancho Panza were both absent from the street corners they usually occupy, where in past years they have attracted thousands of revellers with their music radiating from the Good Times bus and speaker stacks that surround their own areas. This absence is due to redevelopment projects on both sites with the Victorian School, which Sancho Ponza staged their parties in front of, being ripped down as well a luxury flat development taking over the space where the Good Times bus usually rolls into.
This redevelopment on some of the carnival sites echoes that of the closure of many great London nightclubs like The End, Velvet Rooms and Turnmills, where the first ever 24 hour licence was given in the UK. The Notting Hill Carnival currently attracts over 1 million people to the capital for the three-day-long celebration of culture, arts, music, food and so much more. As the population forever grows however, and the government continues to allow redevelopment projects on sites such as these, who is to say whether a decline in places like these won’t continue?
On a brighter note, Norman Jay MBE has spoken about the removal of Good Times from Notting Hill Carnival, saying “we’ve known about this eventually happening to our site for quite a while and explored every alternative so that we could be able to play this year”. This knowledge has given Norman the encouragement to host the first ever Good Times In The Park, which is due to take place on Saturday the 13th and Sunday the 14th of September at Wormwood Scrubs Park in London. This 2 day event will take the energy and liveliness that could be seen from the Good Times Sound System at The Notting Hill Carnival and expand it into a generous helping of music, with guests from all styles of music due to appear at the festival, these include Chaka Kahn, Groove Armada, The Good Times Collective, Carl Craig, The Cuban Brothers, The Brand New Heavies, Ms Dynamite, Jazzie B, Seb Fontaine and many more. View full lineup here.
Although there are forces that thrive off conspiring against musical tradition, with some becoming successful, these celebrations will always appeal to the millions of people who enjoy coming together and dancing in the streets, fields and clubs of the UK. Whether it is at The Notting Hill Carnival or countless festivals and independent events around the country, we will still have plenty a chance to dance for years to come.
Words by Josh Plews
Images courtesy of Good Times In The Park