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Notting Hill Carnival: Fans furious as soundsystems may be forced out after 32 years

Channel One Sound System attracts thousands but may not be able to play this year's Carnival after neighbours objected to its licence

Mikey Dread may not be able to spin his reggae tunes this Carnival. Pic: Nick Caro

Soundsystems which have been playing at Notting Hill Carnival for over 30 years may not be able to this year after residents objected.

Channel One Sound System is one of six based in the Westminster side of the Notting Hill Carnival and Westminster Council have told them and two others - Sir Lloyd and Killawatt - they have to apply for a permanent, premises licence if they are to play at Europe’s biggest street festival at the end of August.

Previously, all soundsystems have had a temporary licence, but the council said the law changed in 2012 and if there is a crowd of more than 499 then a permanent licence is needed. Channel One attracts thousands each year.

Mikey Dread has run the reggae soundsystem on the corner of Westbourne Park Road and Leamington Road Villas for 20 years and was elsewhere in the carnival for 12 years before.

He said: “We understand if the law has changed and we’re happy to abide by it but the council only told us in April we’d have to apply. If they’d said to us in October or November then we would have dealt with it but I think they knew what they were doing.

 

“Residents have objected to the application which we don’t understand because we’ve been in the same place for 20 years and there’s been no problem, we play reggae and everybody’s very peaceful. There are never any police in our area because they’re not needed, it’s very chilled out.

“Now we’re worried we might not be able to play because it’s in less than a month.”

Eleven residents, including a councillor, the Met police and the director of public health have objected to the licence application.

But over 7,500 people have signed a petition supporting Channel One, with many accusing the area’s residents of eroding the ‘ essence of Notting Hill Carniva l’, with one supporter and Westminster resident, Laura Woods, saying: “Local residents are aware of Notting Hill Carnival as something which has been going on for over 30 years, if they don’t like it they shouldn’t move to the area.”

Hoards of followers come to Carnival to groove to Channel One's tunes. Pic: Nick Caro

Leith Penny, the council’s city management boss, said: “The decision that three soundsystems hoping to return to the Notting Hill Carnival should apply for a premises licence was taken on a very simple basis: it’s the best way to provide reassurance to both the public who want to enjoy the music and the residents who live in Notting Hill.

"It would be inappropriate to comment further as the council has yet to consider the applications. However, everyone can be assured that any decisions will take into account the interests of those attending the Carnival, those working there and people who live in Notting Hill.”

Find the petition here .

 

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