Notting Hill Carnival 2018
Parade Bands Terms & Conditions of Participation

Please make sure to read this document in full and scroll to the bottom of the page to register your agreement.


Carnival Village Trust (“CVT”) is a registered charity and London’s Development Agency for Carnival funded by the Arts Council England (“ACE”) and the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (“RBKC”) to develop and showcase Carnival Arts.

The Notting Hill Carnival (“the Carnival”) is the largest celebration of Caribbean culture in Europe, visited by over a million Londoners, visitors and tourists each year and making a significant contribution to London’s economy and its status as a culturally diverse global city. 

CVT has been funded to develop and manage a safe, sustainable and spectacular Notting Hill Carnival in 2018 and wishes to make this Carnival an exemplar of artistic excellence and community engagement by aiming to:

  • Protect and promote the heritage of the Carnival

  • Make performers, artists, audiences and communities of interest integral to the planning, management and delivery

  • Prioritise performance, participation and inclusivity

CVT has set up a wholly-owned subsidiary Notting Hill Carnival Ltd (“NHC”) to manage Carnival in 2018

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions are an Agreement between NHC and any individual or performing group wanting to participate in the Carnival and related events and who share these aims. 

Document Terms of Reference

“Agreement” refers to this Participation Agreement and any associated documents.

“Carnival” refers to the Notting Hill Carnival 2018.

“Footprint” refers to the area in which the Carnival takes place including the Parade route and all roads within the area.

“We/Us/Our” refers to Notting Hill Carnival Ltd.

“You/Your” refers to the individual or organisation entering into this Agreement.

1. Aims

These conditions are designed to assist Us — Notting Hill Carnival Ltd. – in discharging Our strategic aims, legal obligations, fiduciary duties and regulatory requirements in respect of the following:

We will facilitate a safe, sustainable and spectacular event

Management and delivery Our published Event Plan for 2018

Compliance with agreements and contractual commitments with the Strategic Partners, Regulatory Authorities, Emergency Services & Event Participants

2. Intellectual Property & Copyright

By entering into this agreement, you grant Us and Our accredited media partners a non-exclusive, non-expiring license to record and publish your artistic productions and performances by way of still photographs and/or audio-visual representation by any medium. If you wish to discontinue this license, you must notify Us in writing, and it will take 60 days to implement the copyright license discontinuation and notify all of Our media partners. 

3. General Preconditions for Registration

Persons or groups wishing to participate in the Carnival or any of its related events must register an expression of interest with Us. (Stage 1)

5pm on Monday 16th July 2018

Stage two of the registration process involves the signing of a copy of these terms and conditions on or before 5pm on Monday 16th July 2018

We do not charge an administration fee to participate in the Carnival. You should not be charged by any other organisation to participate in Carnival.

You will be required to provide Us with evidence of compliance with any terms, conditions or policies linked to participation, including music policy, numbers of performers and vehicle passes, Entry/Exit points and times, noise levels, costume policy and protocols along the route.

4. Risk Management, Health & Safety and Insurance Pre-Conditions

You take part in the Carnival at Your own risk. As part of this Agreement You are required to demonstrate, by way of a consent form or other means, that You have informed all individuals participating with Your band that they do so at their own risk.

You must complete and submit appropriate risk assessments to Us for participation in Carnival or any other event for which We are responsible.

Risk assessments shall include the following:

Equipment risk assessment - the use of equipment which carries risk e.g. generators, electrical equipment, steel pans, floats/vehicles, trucks etc.

Fire risk assessment - including fire resistance of materials used to decorate vehicles, smoking policy and provision of fire extinguishers/blankets.

Noise risk assessment- of relevance to any participants producing music or sound particularly amplified sound.

People risk assessment- the risk of activity to staff, volunteers band members, participants and the general public, particularly children and vulnerable persons where applicable. 

You must also supply to Us, in advance, a copy of Your insurance to cover Your participation in Carnival. Such insurance is to include: public liability insurance for a minimum of £5 million; employees liability cover where applicable to cover Your employees and volunteers; and vehicle insurance for all vehicles provided with a permit.

You are required to attend and participate in any Health and Safety and Communications briefing organised by Us or Our agents or contractors.

You and any of Your members or participants take part in Notting Hill Carnival at Your own risk.

During the event You and Your members and participants have an individual and collective responsibility to comply with all Health and Safety legislation and any guidance issued from time to time by Us including:

Section 62 Control of Pollution Act 1974 as amended by section 7of the Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act (loudspeakers shall not be operated in the streets between the hours of 9pm and 8am the following morning).

The Health and Safety at Work Regulations issued by the Health and Safety Executive.

The Event Safety Guide 1999 and guidance issued by the Health and Safety Executive.

The Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005, to ensure that workers hearing is protected from excessive noise.

We reserve the right to re-designate entry and exit points, start points, sites and times within the carnival foot print in consultation with relevant stakeholders.

We reserve the right to license, regulate or restrict any Notting Hill Carnival related competition.

We reserve the right to revise, amend or waive conditions of participation.

We retain the absolute right to refuse any application for registration and will not register a performance unit to participate in Notting Hill Carnival unless there is adherence and compliance with all of the above provisions and conditions of participation.

5. Vehicle- Passes and Information

We are restricted by the overall figure set out in any Traffic Management Order on the maximum number of passes to be allocated for the whole event. We therefore reserve the right to restrict the allocation of vehicle passes to Mas/Costumes and or Steel Bands as We think fit, having regard to such conditions as are reasonable in all circumstances.

You must carry out Your risk assessments based on the number of people participating within Your performance unit. Necessary controls must be put in place to mitigate any risks identified, ensuring the safety of Your performance unit and the people within it. You must take appropriate action to restrict the number of participants to ensure that the safety of Your members and the general public is maintained. 

Vehicle licences are primarily issued to enable appropriately sized Mas/Costume and or Steel Bands to get their music around the route. Passes are also required for any motorised or non-motorised support vehicles.

While Mas/Costume and or Steelband’s may also decorate any permitted vehicles to display branding and merchandising of their sponsors or donors, such recognition must be in proportion with the display relating to the name and theme of the band.

Vehicle passes will not be issued to facilitate the appearance of commercially branded vehicles except by prior consent.

All Vehicle passes are issued and must be used in accordance with Our Vehicle Passes Condition of Issue and Use.  If You are unclear or unsure about how You can use Your vehicle pass(es) You must seek guidance from Us prior to the event.

Vehicle passes will remain Our property and as such can only be used by the specified bands and are not transferable.

You will be held liable for the misuse of Your pass(es) and You may be barred from continued participation or registering for the Notting Hill Carnival the following year if your permits are misused.

MUST BE SUPPLIED BEFORE 5pm Friday 27th July 2018

You must provide Us with Vehicle registration numbers by 17.00pm Friday 27th July 2018.

You must provide Us with driver details and copies of driving licenses must be supplied by 17.00pm Friday 27th July 2018.

You shall ensure that drivers of vehicles must provide and carry a photo ID with them on the days they are driving or in control of any vehicle at the Notting Hill Carnival.

6. Route Conditions

You are required to be ready to move off from the designated start point at Your allocated time slot

You shall ensure that Your vehicles are parked to allow passing room for other Bands or emergency Vehicles.

You must at all times comply with reasonable instructions by designated stewards, the emergency services, public health officials or Our representatives. Instructions may include start, stop, turn down music etc. Any serious failure to comply with a reasonable request from a designated steward or Our representatives will result in action which may include termination of Your participation for the remainder of the Carnival or refusal of any application to participate in future Carnivals.

You are required to have a sufficient/proportionate number of stewards of Your own in order to protect Your members and to keep spectators out of the band, as outlined in Your risk assessment. Your stewards are expected to cooperate with Our appointed stewards and the police at all times.

You must also ensure the You have adequate numbers of Your own stewards in proportion to the number of people in Your band to protect public property from any damage or mis-use by members participating in Your band. You are required to keep moving whenever possible and to seek to keep the road as clear as possible and provide Your own team of Stewards/Banksmen to assist Your vehicles to turn corners safely.

You shall ensure that under no circumstances are oil-based paints and liquids used as part of Your arrangement on the route. You are responsible for any damage caused to property by any oil-based paints and liquids used by members of Your Band and for the cost of any special cleaning required to remove such oil-based paints or liquids from roads or property.

You must not tether any rope to the back of trucks as this can cause injury to participants and/or general public.

The sampling and distributing of products along the route are prohibited without Our advance approval. 

7. Key Entry and Closing Times

You shall ensure that all music trucks/floats/support vehicles are in the Carnival Footprint before 8:30am on each day. Vehicular Access into the Carnival Footprint from all the various entry points will be closed off by 8:30am. Due to security measures required for Carnival 2018 Your vehicles will not be allowed into the Carnival Footprint after 8:30am.

We accept no responsibility or liability for any financial loss if You are refused entry due to non-compliance. 

Your mobile sound systems must not play any amplified music within the Carnival Footprint before 9am.

You are required to turn off Your music at 20:30 hours or earlier if You are leaving the Footprint before that time. You must turn off Your music upon exiting the Footprint.

You should ensure that any participants dismount from the back of any trucks when You exit the Carnival Footprint.  There are a number of potential road traffic offences that may me committed should Your driver allow individuals to remain on the vehicle whilst it is driven on public roads.  You should be aware that You may be challenged by the police on exiting the Footprint if they consider that you may be committing an offence. 

8. Artistic Preconditions

You must abide by the artistic Costume and Music conditions in order to qualify to participate in the parade. These conditions are designed to ensure standards are maintained whilst supporting and fostering carnival traditions.

The Parade is restricted to approved performing units comprising steel pans, costumes and traditional carnival character depictions. Subject to the number of vehicles passes provided, live or amplified music may accompany a carnival band as part of the performance but there will be no overall increase in pass allocations.

9. Costume Policy

A band must have no fewer than 30 performers in carnival costumes in order to be registered as a costume band (20 for children’s costume bands). 

A carnival costume is a decorative robing of the human body. Unless stylised, official or replica uniforms of the military, emergency services, police or prescribed organisations will not be considered a carnival costume.

Performing Units are encouraged to limit the number of t-shirts used for marketing and promotion to give greater prominence to the visual spectacle of the costume. As a general guide, performing units should have no more than one third of the total number of the unit’s performers with promotional t-shirts. 

You must ensure that the designs and wording on Your t-shirts is not offensive to Carnival or the general public.

Steel bands may be accompanied by a t-shirt section for their steel band music only.

Carnival Sunday is primarily a day for Children’s Costume Bands to which priority will be given with regard to vehicle passes.  Authorised J’ouvert style bands and traditional carnival character depictions will be considered subject to tight review and approval for 2018 only subject to such conditions as are necessary to protect and keep the main focus on the Children’s Costume Bands.

In order to secure the information for competitions and to monitor compliance with the costume policy We require You to supply information in advance about Your theme, sections, costumes and reveller numbers prior to the release of vehicle passes.

10. Music Policy

The genre of music that We require to be played by those participating in the route parade is music that is recognised as “carnival music” primarily Calypso, Soca, Chutney, Zouk, Buyon, Steelpan, Samba.

You shall ensure that You do not permit or encourage any music promoting violence or containing offensive lyrics or any type of music that hypes up a crowd in an uncontrollable or dangerous manner.

You shall ensure that no music truck is set up along Kensal Road.

You must reduce Your volume in the area of Kensal Road as required from the time You enter Kensal Road. This area will be monitored for sound levels and You must reduce Your level of music in this area in order to assist in reducing the noise levels.

You may be required to turn off Your music for a short distance along Kensal Road up to Bosworth Road near to Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park. Stewards will be in place in this area to assist and You must turn down Your music in this area when requested to do so by Stewards, Our representatives or local authority environmental health officers.

You shall ensure that Your music truck(s) do not stop stationary alongside Kensal Road at a junction where a static sound system is located in order to avoid increased noise levels at these junctions.

It is Your responsibility to ensure that Your DJ(s) or person responsible for Your mobile music is aware of Our music policy and the conditions of participation as any breach of the conditions could affect Your participation in Carnival. You should agree in advance with Your DJ(s) or person responsible, the music that shall be played at the Carnival.

You must adhere to the music policy above throughout the Carnival period.

If You are found to have breached this music policy on the route, action will be taken, which may include termination of Your participation for the remainder of the Carnival or refusal of any application to participate in future Carnivals.

11. Competition Conditions

You will be judged as You are moving through the judging zones. You shall ensure that You move through the judging zone without stopping. Stopping for any longer than permitted by stewards will result in action which may include termination of Your participation for the remainder of the Carnival or refusal of any application to participate in future Carnivals.

We recognise three sizes in terms of Mas/Costume bands:

Small Bands: 30-69 people in costume (children 20-69)

Medium Bands: 70-149 people in costume

Large Bands: 150+ people in costume

We reserve the right to verify the number of people in costume at the judging point on the day for the purpose of any competition and for auditing the use of vehicle passes.

12. Supply and Distribution of Alcoholic Beverages.

The sale and supply of alcohol on floats, stationary or otherwise without a licence is illegal under the Licensing Act 2003 and could result in a substantial fine.

You can give away alcohol for free, but it must be clear that this is not included in any participation fee and is not a way of trying to encourage people to buy something or to participate. 

Charging for participation and providing a wristband or other identifier, which allows a person to be supplied with alcoholic drinks, is likely to be considered to be a sale. 

If you intend to provide alcoholic drinks, You are advised to take further independent advice. 

13. Dutty Mas Registration & Code of Conduct

Bands that have registered to perform Dutty Mas on Sunday will be issued regulations and an agreement to be read and signed in addition to signing and complying with the Parade Terms and Conditions in order to be cleared to operate on the route.

14. Sanctions

You are responsible for ensuring that all of your members and any collaborating partners comply with the conditions of participating and follow rules, guidance and good practice issued by us.

Where there is a flagrant breach of any of these conditions, particularly where such breaches are likely to result in danger, harm or the commission of a criminal offence, We reserve the right to take immediate corrective action including but not limited to the immediate suspension or revocation of passes and licences, removal from the performance area and suspension from participating in future Carnivals.