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Seani B goes back to his roots at Notting Hill Carnival

FESTIVAL FEVER: Seani B commands the Red Bull stage in the middle of Horniman’s Pleasance in Kensal Road

THERE IS nothing like going back to your roots to make you rediscover why you do something. That is what Carnival does for me.

No disrespect to any other festival promoter, but you can’t beat the raw vibes of music blazing in the streets with hundreds of thousands of revellers congested into one area, with just a few things on their mind – rum, wining and party!

Unlike last year I wasn’t sharing my Carnival time with the Leeds and Reading Festival. Notting Hill was the only thing on my mind.

I knew this year was going to be great as so many DJs and artists had flown into the UK for this massive weekend party.

The Caribbean had been emptied of a lot of its talent as it was here.

Watching the weather report it didn’t look like the Sunday was going be a pretty one, and it wasn’t! Raining cats and dogs was the expression I had told my special guest Tosh Alexander who was rolling around the streets with me.

Hitting Harrow Road I meet up with more special guests that was part of my entourage. Time to use local knowledge to get Tony Matterhorn and Spragga Benz to the Red Bull stage and hopefully out of the rain!

Redbull had their stage in the middle of Horniman’s Pleasance in Kensal Road with a line up that any festival stage would be proud of. A trio of hot UK female dancehall artists were backstage – Lisa Mercedez, Trillary Banks and Alicai Harley.

I spun my head and there was Shenseea, Dre Skull and Team Salut. The headliner was meant to be Popcaan but travel issues rained on that parade (pun intended). But I knew that lastminute.com came into effect and that man that gave the ladies Bruk off yuh back was heading to town – Konshens came to the rescue.

Even though the rain persisted all day it did not dampen the vibes. The staging was excellent and I used that to full effect.

SMOKE
My laptop decided to have a hissy fit but Sir DJ Corey was at hand to save the day (big up Corey) to drop the shells whilst I took front stage.

With every big forward we got a gush of smoke from the smoke machine. But the yellow flair with my yellow matching T-shirt got a lot of love on Instagram.

We had the park doing every dance possible from Signal the Plane, Flairy (assisted by Tosh) Genna Bounce, Candy Dance and the Palance, no stone was left unturned.

Could we possibly create even more vibes? Of course! Tosh hit the stage to perform her track Bubble that has been growing everyday in the dancehall circles and then Spragga Benz to close my first set of Carnival 2018.

Carnival Monday saw the day begin with the legends that are Rampage. Spragga and the UK’s General Levy, who had just finished shooting their video to their track Are You Ready? at the set when I arrived.

I love the Rampage set up – we are elevated a few storeys above the crowd with a perfect view of the whole road that holds around 15,000 people at one time.

When I’m in Carnival I like to keep it cultural to what the event is so my playlist was reggae, dancehall and soca. I can’t ever leave out my Dominican roots.

I think it’s important, no matter where we are, to we rep the foundation of the music. The Rampage boys appreciate when the vibes get changed as it’s a means of crowd control, too.

You can’t listen to grime all day long. Honestly, you can’t.


TOP TEAM: Seani B was joined by Tosh Alexander for the festivities

As always the line up at the Rampage sound is always a good indication of who’s hot on the road. Once again the Rampage team never fail to deliver this with their line up of UK heavy hitters and the foreigners that are visiting. I saw Protoje hanging around backstage but I couldn’t hang around to see if he was performing as I had another sound to get to.

Navigating through Portobello Road was the easiest route to get to Saxon who are always on the corner of St Lawrence Terrace and Chesterton Road.

On arrival the corner was bubbling with a more mature crowd. I saw many faces that I grew up with so I knew what I was in for, but it turned out to be a lot more.

Muscle Head was behind the control tower controlling the bass, mids and tweeters. Victor was dropping the classics with Allan Brando showing master crowd control. Saxon was NOICE. I turned around and saw Agent Sasco entering the backstage and knew something special was about to happen. He handed me over his USB with tracks and tracklist, it was game on!

The Saxon corner was giving forward after forward for Agent Sasco who was going through his hits of the last decade. For his last tune he asked for Lotto Boyzz’ Unfinished Business riddim.

At this point I turned and saw Spragga who hands me his tracks. I said: “Spragga jump out on this riddim as it’s a different version of showtime.”

Thankfully he agreed to join Sasco and what we witnessed was carnival history. The two DJs were lyrically sparring tune fi tune on the Saxon stage. Victor V had to mix the riddims as I was in fear of my laptop dropping due to the ferocious rocking of the stage so I held on to that.

I’m glad that I ended my Carnival at a bonafide soundsystem that is a huge part of the culture and why I do what I do. With so much corporate backing of Carnival this felt refreshing to be part of as it is who I truly am and how I grew up knowing Carnival. No box ticking on this corner.

After the sounds get lock arff you got to have the customary wander around Ladbroke Grove until yuh foot get tired and you gotta do that long walk home. Roll on 2019! Time for some sleep now...

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