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Gaz's Rockin' Carnival Tip: Pick Your Spot & Stay There

Author: Jonty Skrufff (
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Revellers visiting this year's Notting Hill Carnival should choose where they're going to party in advance, according to Gaz's Rockin' Blues mainman Gaz Mayall.

"Pick an area that you know is great, and get there early- I'd advise getting there before most people arrive, say late morning, early afternoon," Gaz told Skrufff this week.

"By 1 or 2 o'clock, you need to be within a few blocks of wherever you plan to make your carnival spot, otherwise, you'll end up being shunted around and not allowed to go here or there- being crushed in a crowd really spoils the enjoyment," he pointed out.

With over a million people expected to cram into Notting Hill's constricted streets on Sunday and Monday, his advice makes sense, and the Skrufff team also recommend you pick Gaz's rig (on the junction of Talbot Road and Ledbury Road, directly outside the Globe) over clubbers' favourites' Sancho Panza and Good Times. Both sound systems (which are very close to each other, off Kensal Road) are massively popular with clubbers and music industry types and considerably more packed than Gaz's Rockin Blues.

"We're trying to make better use of the space we've got, Good Times Norman Jay admitted in the latest issue of Jockey Slut.

"We can't extend it because we're reaching critical mass, you can't stop people coming to good, free parties."

The two day event in general marks one of the busiest weekends for London clubbing of the year, though according to Gaz Mayall has lost some of its magic compared to earlier years.

"Initially it was all about setting up speakers outside your front door and going for it," said Gaz.

"It would be a complete cacophony of flavours and music and I really liked it back then- there was something anarchical about it. Everyone overturned all the normal rules of trade descriptions and just turned up and did their own thing. It was brilliant.

I remember Joe Strummer used to live on Lancaster Road and that would be one of the places you'd always go to. You'd weave around the area from one friend's place to the next and at his place he'd have his speakers set up on his windowsill. Then to our horror, one year we found you couldn't even enter that street because the police had blocked it off; even he had trouble getting into his own flat. They carved up the area so you became stuck in one section or the other and that created even more bottlenecks. That was one of the reasons that problems with crowd control came along."

Gaz's Rockin' Blues is on the junction of Talbot Road and Ledbury Road and features DJs including The Legendary Duke Vin, Tommy Diamond and Count Cassavubu spinning ska, reggae and classic soul. It's also considerably less packed than clubbers' favourites Good Times and Sancho Panza, and attracts a far wider mix of people.

Sancho Panza (Middle Row) are headlined by Jimmy K Tel and Matt Brown, though superstar DJs are certain to guest (Sashas been a regular in recent years). Good Times (Southern Row) is hosted by Norman Jay and his brother Joey.