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How One U.K. DJ Is Bringing The Magic Of Carnival To Glastonbury

Toddla T explains why you should bypass the headliners to come and party with the Soca police.

June 22, 2016
How One U.K. DJ Is Bringing The Magic Of Carnival To Glastonbury Justin Tallis/Getty

Glastonbury headliners this year include Coldplay, Adele and Muse but, as anyone who has been more than once will tell you, the best bits of the festival are to be found in the wild outer reaches of the festival’s vast site. Toddla T knows this and is hosting the first ever Glastonbury Carnival on the Friday night of the festival at a small bar hidden away from the main stage. He’s tapped a line-up that includes MCs Section Boyz, Nadia Rose, Fekky, J Hus, and Lady Leshurr, as well as DJs Melé, The Heatwave, and Charlie Sloth, for a party that will run into the early hours of Saturday. Carnival, Britain’s biggest celebration of Caribbean music, culture, and food, first took place after the 1958 race riots in west London. Bringing the event to Glastonbury is about more than just getting a great line-up together: You need a big sound system, on-point dance moves, and a lighter to flash when a tune drops. The FADER spoke to Toddla T to find out his rules for a good Carnival, whether you’re in London’s Notting Hill or a field which is ordinarily home to sheep.

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Next friday.. Mad

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“My friends don’t give a fuck about Coldplay, but they know what daggering is, so we’re representing our culture.” —Toddla T
It’s All About The Sound System

“Carnival is way deeper than just playing records or just creating a lineup with popular DJs who are going to sell tickets. It is celebrating our culture in a very fun way. The thing that attracted me most about Carnival was the musical aspect. I don’t hear shit music at Carnival. It brings unity to people. It is not only me as a producer and a DJ but us as a country and a raving place, that’s why we do it. Melé is totally different from Section Boyz but there is a root in the middle. It’s all rooted in the sound system. That’s the same with Charlie Sloth and the hip-hop element. All of the music goes back to that ethos of being played loud, indoors or outdoors, it is all about the sonic and the sound. For me you can put any one of those artists together on that sound system and it could work.”

Forget The Headliners

"All of my mates who go to Glastonbury don’t give a flying fuck about who’s on the main stage. The beauty of both Glastonbury and Carnival is that you are really representing Britain in a day. My friends don’t give a fuck about Coldplay, but they know what daggering is, so we’re representing our culture.”

Grab An Airhorn

“We’re going to be selling out of airhorns. All you can hear at Carnival is whistling. I’ve had the same whistle for four or five years which is funny because I’m known for losing shit. I lost my keys one year, I lost my phone once too, but I’ve managed to hold on to that whistle. I’m going to bring loads of horns and loads of rags so we can wave them when the records drop.”

Stay On The Right Side Of The Law

“We have these dancers called the Soca Police, they pretend to be police but they are dancers. They arrest people for dancing too well. Bring yourself a hip flask of alcohol to loosen up with and climb into that atmosphere.”

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How One U.K. DJ Is Bringing The Magic Of Carnival To Glastonbury