Sunday 28th August, 2016. The day started in a kids' playground, surrounded by a bunch of smiling faces. A car reversed in with a loud soundsystem playing soca music, filling the area with a vibrant energy and preparing revelers for a day of care-free fun; flags got waving and hips began to move. Everyone was collecting their horns and whistles getting ready for the festivities, and when the time came, they were guided to a truck that had been transformed into a carriage of carnival vibes courtesy of Crep Protect, Complex UK, Captain Morgan and adidas. The atmosphere was thick with jerk drum smoke and heavy soca basslines; even with the sporadic light showers, it only cooled everyone down so they could turn up the heat with dancehall dance routines, whistle blowing, and interacting with people bubbling around the float.
The bright yellow and black float was buzzing with familiar faces: BMX athlete Ryan Taylor spent most of the day laughing with DJ Melody Kane, rapper and actor Ashley Thomas (aka Bashy) was celebrating with Crep Protect honcho J2K and BBC 1Xtra host Yasmine Evans—and everywhere you looked, people were smiling. Carnival vibes were felt by everyone. Some were even compelled to jump off the float and dance alongside it, but that's what happens when the festive spirit takes you. It was the perfect way to celebrate fifty years of Notting Hill Carnival—the story continues in pictures below.