On August 26th and 27th, The Notting Hill Carnival returns to London for the 48th straight year. Working with Red Stripe, the legendary photographer Pennie Smith has shot portraits of the creators of the Carnival, the talented souls who make it all happen to bring one of the world’s most famous events to life. These folks are ‘the Makers,’ the ones who you may or may not notice as your senses are overloaded with the aroma of jerk chicken, and the pulsating music of the Caribbean. These ‘Makers’ are there though, and this is about them.

MICK JOHNSON, POLICE COMMANDER. MAKER OF CARNIVAL SINCE 1980.

Mick is Carnival’s longest serving copper. He’s witnessed an amazing and intense 32 years of Carnival’s sights, sounds and steel drums. His passion for the community is so strong, he describes it as “a part of, not apart from”. Raise a glass to Mick if you see him, for it’s his last ever Carnival.

BERT CLEMENT, TFL STATION SUPERVISOR. MAKER OF CARNIVAL SINCE 1993.

Caribbean born Bert is as passionate about Carnival now as when he first started working at Westbourne Park station nearly two decades ago. Mild-mannered Bert describes Carnival as “Life. Where people come together to live.” And the party starts when he opens up a special staircase only used during Carnival.

LIONEL MCCALMAN, NOSTAGLIA STEEL BAND LEADER. MAKER OF CARNIVAL SINCE 1988.

Lionel leads the Nostalgia Steel Band, the UK’s original ‘traditional’ steel band founded in 1964, and Carnival regulars since 1969. To Lionel, Carnival is all about coming together to celebrate different cultures in a “two-day fantasy where people can step out of reality.” And if Lionel looks familiar, it’s because he was leading the band at the Olympic Opening Ceremony.

ROSARIA GRACIA, DANCER/CHOREOGRAPHER. MAKER OF CARNIVAL SINCE 2000.

Whilst Spaniard Rosario has samba-ed, rumba-ed and foxtrotted her way around the world, Carnival will always hold a special place in her heart. The light and love, cultural diversity, and playfulness are what Rosario loves most about Carnival. “Nothing is weird. It’s where the weird becomes the norm.”

NORMAN JAY MBE, DJ. MAKER OF CARNIVAL SINCE 1982.

This year marks an amazing 31st Carnival for the legendary DJ and his famous ‘Good Times’ sound system. “It’s the most important gig for me because it’s a shared cultural experience where everyone is welcome.” Laid-back and modest despite enormous worldwide success, ‘Good Times’ has become a mini-carnival itself, attracting an estimated 15,000 revelers a day. Total legend.

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