Carnival regulars describe why it means so much, as Covid keeps it off streets for second year in a row

When asked when he first attended Notting Hill carnival, Steve Clarke initially has to pause. Before he was born, he answers while laughing, as his mum went to the festivities while pregnant with him. “Carnival is in my blood.”

Clarke, 52, grew up in Ladbroke Grove and spent much of his childhood standing on the balcony watching the bombastic procession go past. He joined the parade as a participant in a mas band aged 16. His favourite memory is of when he first put on his costume for the carnival band United Colours of Mas (UCOM), co-founded by Paul O’Donoghue and Richard Gallimore. He felt at home and part of a multicultural family.

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