Carnival March: where to party

“The Greatest Show on Earth” is arriving. Carnival revellers can dust off their costumes because the profane party is about to begin. And here’s where it’s at… er, on these here shores.

Of course it would be awesome to fly to Brazil and enjoy carnival amid the tropical summer in Rio or Salvador, the cities with the most famous celebrations, but, for the most of us, it’s time to make do with some plans right here,  and check out some options in the beating heart of London.

On the tip of the tongue, Guanabara is looking forward to bring Rio’s Carnival spirit to town with a wide programme spanning six days of special events – complete with masks, face painting, happy hours and a street parade! – running from March 3th to 7th. The launch party, on Thursday, will gather beats from Rio and Salvador, with DJ Limão at the helm. On Friday 4th, the London School of Samba, one of Europe’s top samba schools, takes charge of the celebrations.

On Saturday night, the party continues with a masquerade ball and on Sunday, for those who like to hold their dance partner tight, it’s time for some forró! And the festivities are not done with yet… On Monday, Guanabara goes a touch more traditional with a party based on old Brazilian carnival classics from the 1920s, better known as “marchinhas de carnaval”. Check out their website for full details and for 50% off your food bill and drinks offers simply click here.

From Covent Garden, we shoot directly to Shoreditch, where the East side salutes carnival with lots of swing. Favela Chic’s parties kick start on Thursday (and for a soupçon of the way they kick started in Paris’ Favela last year click here), with the multi genre-crossing band Sunlight Square, and on Friday and Saturday the celebrations are at the mercy of DJ Gringo da Parada. Dress code? “Crazy Colourful Bizarre Beautiful”, and the best costume on Fri/Sat will win a Brazilian meal for 2 to use in 2011 (incl a pair of caipirinhas, Brazilian tapas and feijoadas for each winner)!

And ooh, check it out, Gringo da Parada has just sent us a vibrant Favela Carnaval top 5 playlist!:

1. Exaltacao a Mangueira/Clara Nunes; 2. Putaria/Sandrinho DJ-Mister Catra; 3. Duelling Banjos/Deliverance; 4. La Vem Salguiero/Os Originais do Samba; 5. 54-46 Was My Number (live)/Toots & The Maytals.

Blending celebration with informing the people, 6 Billion Ways at the Rich Mix on 5th March marks a day-long festival to raise awareness on local & global justice issues, poverty and climate change, and to round the whole thing off they’ve got Peyoti For President, Eri Okan & Movimientos’ DJ Cal Jader throwing a special Carnival afterparty!

News just in that the Far Out Showcase at Xoyo on March 9th, for anyone that was thinking of heading along, has been postponed, so keep an eye on their website for any developments there…

Flipping over to the West side how could we forget the Notting Hill Arts Club with a good ol’ Batmacumba knees up on Saturday 5th March, letting loose with an alternative carnival special with guest deejays Mais Um Gringo and Human Factor, joining the night’s perpetrator DJ Cliffy.

And all the way from South America to Germany and the city of Cologne, it’s pretty evident that carnival has also left footprints in Europe. Cologne’s parade attracts thousands of guests every year who celebrate and dance in the streets, all of them in fancy dress. And spreading a little of this atmosphere in London, it won’t be too different down at The Bavarian Beer House as they throw their Carnival Fancy Dress Party on March 5th (in both Old St and Tower Hill), and of course the best costume of the night will win a surprise prize.

So, what are you waiting for? The parties are poised, so get out there and make the most of the local repurcussions of the greatest celebration on earth!

By Bruna Gala

Top photo credit: Rosey Tricketts

Come on in… to Favela Chic

Photo credit: Rob Cummins

Photo credit: Rosey Tricketts

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