Articles Comments



By Elizabeth Pears—

CHANNEL ONE: Mikey Dread (right)

LEGENDARY SOUND system Channel One will play Notting Hill Carnival’s 50th anniversary after Westminster Council yesterday approved its licence application.

The veteran DJs, alongside the Sir Lloyd and Killerwatt sound systems, had been facing an uncertain future after residents objected to their set.

They were also told they would now need a permanent licence as opposed to a temporary one in order to play at the corner of Westbourne Park Road and Leamington Road Villas where they have had a residency for decades.

A total of 14 residents had complained of vandalism and people trespassing, urinating and defecating in people’s gardens.

But more than 8,000 reggae lovers rallied round Michael ‘Mikey Dread’ Bailey who set up the award-winning sound system with brother Jah T to talk about the sound system’s peaceful atmosphere.

At a licensing sub-committee on August 6, Westminster City Council granted all three sound systems a premises licence after agreeing measures to safeguard carnival-goers as well as staff and residents.

Councillor Nickie Aiken, who chaired the committee, thanked both Channel One and Sir Lloyd for working with Westminster City Council ahead of the meeting to agree almost all of the conditions in advance.

She made clear that the sound systems had been “a very important part of the bank holiday celebrations for decades” and that while some residents had lived there for decades “the vast majority had moved into the area knowing they have to accommodate the carnival.”

Aiken, the cabinet member for public protection, added: “What we have seen today is the operators, the council, the police and local residents all coming together to establish a legally guaranteed code of conduct for years to come.

“Everyone had a voice in the process and the new premises licences mean the spirit of the event can continue to flourish while there are safeguards in place to protect those coming to, working at, and living with the Carnival. It’s what Westminster City Council always wanted.”

The council had previously been forced to rubbish claims they are systematically trying to undermine Notting Hill Carnival by targeting the popular sound systems.

Bailey had raised concerns that the hearing was being held so close to carnival it made it difficult to know whether they would be playing at this year’s carnival on August 24 and 25.

Elaine Arthur who backed the petition to protect Channel One said: “The essence of Notting Hill Carnival is being eroded year after year. If protection is not given to key elements of carnival like Channel One Sound System, it will go the same way as Portobello Road. We’ve watched the charm and soul of Portobello slowly disappear as property prices go up and people who don’t value the richness and history of the area move in.”

Amanda Bradley, a Notting Hill resident, added: “Channel One is the best sound system, the crowd is always a happy one and I’ve been going since 2005… As a resident I embrace the spirit, I have so many happy memories from participating and it is criminal that channel one’s right to be on Leamington is being challenged by a few who clearly don’t get what carnival is about. Two days out of 365 is no big deal. Those of us who are lucky to live in W11 should be able to tolerate graciously this awesome music festival.”

Westminster Council told The Voice the same rules were applied to every event.

A spokesperson explained that a permanent licence was required because of a change in the law which ruled that static sound systems now need permanent licences if attract more than 500 people. Channel One attracts thousands of people.

Leith Penny, Westminster City Council Strategic Director of City Management, said: “Westminster City Council is wholeheartedly in favour of the Notting Hill Carnival…(But) following a number of issues last year – and with crowds as large as ever – we told the sound systems’ representatives last October that we wanted to adopt a different approach in 2014.

“We believe a premises licence guarantees a framework of safeguards and reassurance for those listening to and working on the sound systems, as well as people living in Notting Hill.”

Some of the agreed conditions include a limit on the level of sound (85db), sufficient stewards and industry-approved marshals with patrols to ensure revellers respect private property, improved safety barriers

Sound system staff have also been charged with clearing rubbish including at private properties after the event with the exception of hazardous material.

Written by


%d bloggers like this: