Iwer George

Notting Hill Carnival (NHC) is back on the road, the digital road that is. In the sixty years of the iconic London Carnival’s existence, it has faced many challenges and hurdles but nothing like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second greatest Carnival on Earth will go on albeit online over a three day period starting Saturday. The theme of the event is “Notting Hill Carnival 2020: Access All Areas.”

Among the T&T soca artists taking to the digital stage at the Carnival are Olatunji, Patrice Roberts, Nessa Preppy, Adana and Swappi.

Guardian Media spoke to young soca performer Nailah Blackman and 2020 Power Soca Monarch Neil Iwer George who will also be singing at the virtual event.

Blackman, who performed yesterday said, “We look at technology in the Caribbean as an option, whereas around world it’s utilised a lot more. It’s really great that we still have the opportunity to connect with our fans.

“Last year I was on top of a truck performing for a mas band at Notting Hill on the road and on a stage around the world.

“Due to the pandemic we no longer have the opportunities and circumstances, but we can make lemonade when life gives you lemons.

“There is so much room for expansion, NHC is very diverse, not only just Caribbean cultures will be showcased, by going virtual, more music genres and artists will reach more people worldwide.”

She said she had a very busy schedule online, last night she performed at Germany’s virtual Berlin Carnival, followed by today’s gig in London and she will be performing at New York Carnival’s Virtual Brass Fest with and Kes the band, Farmer Nappy and Iwer George on September 4.

Neil Iwer George, who will be the closing act for the virtual show said online events like NHC was part of the new world order, industry stakeholders had to adapt to the new normal.

He said the virtual route was a good opportunity to standardise the entertainment industry but also to innovate and reach a global market.

George advised that it might be a good time for artists to consider consolidating, working and supporting one another because no one person should make it in the new world order shaped by COVID-19.