Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Monday, 31 August 2009 18:00 UK

Crowds celebrate annual carnival

A dancer in costume leads a dancing group at carnival
About 1.5 million people are expected to attend carnival over the two days

Hundreds of thousands of revellers have danced through west London on the final day of the Notting Hill Carnival.

Elaborately dressed masquerade artists made their way through the 3.5-mile route in west London, alongside steel-pan bands and food stalls.

More than 200,000 people attended the carnival on Sunday for the children's parade. Figures were expected to be at least double that on Monday.

Police said partygoers were behaving themselves and arrests were down.

Miss Dynamite

Alongside the steel-pan bands, revellers were able to to enjoy music including traditional soca or calypso, reggae, hip-hop, jazz, soul, house and garage coming from almost 40 static sound systems.

Nobody's holding back it's pretty lively, everyone's enjoying the sun and having a cracking time
Carnival reveller Gina Lyons

Gina Lyons, 24, from Brisbane, Australia, said: "Nobody's holding back it's pretty lively, everyone's enjoying the sun and having a cracking time."

But 55-year-old Carlton Johnson, an engineer from Bermondsey, south London, said this year's carnival had not lived up to expectations.

He said: "It's not as good as before, there's doesn't seem to be as many floats coming through, but you can see everyone getting along and I'm sure it will improve."

By 1600 BST on Monday police said there had been 83 arrests so far, compared with about 123 by that time last year.

On Sunday, police held 64 people mainly for drugs offences. Last year there were 108 arrests on the opening day.

Stop and search techniques were also used to root out trouble before it started.

A surprise appearance by Miss Dynamite at the carnival on Monday had to be cancelled because of crowd safety fears.

"It's great that carnival can attract top talent," said a Kensington and Chelsea council spokesman, but we need more time to make sure that such an event can pass off safely.

Michael Williams, one of the directors of London Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, said the participants have changed over the years.

"Carnival is very Caribbean in its origin and still in its organisation. The participants are now not majority Caribbean by any stretch of the imagination... it looks like London."

Dancers at the Notting Hill Carnival
The carnival is billed as Europe's biggest street party

Organisers estimated that 150,000 feather plumes, 30 million sequins, and 100 litres of decorative body paint would have been be used by performers over the two days.

More rigorous noise monitoring took place at the carnival this year on both days with 100 officials, working for local councils and the police, ensuring music did not exceed noise levels of 135 decibels.

Levels have reached 140 decibels in previous years.

Thousands of Metropolitan Police officers were on duty at the carnival.

Seven suspected pit-bull terrier-type dogs were seized by police working for the Dangerous Dogs Unit.

The event is billed Europe's biggest street party.


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