Where Were You In ’94? – Saxon International At Notting Hill Carnival In 1994

In my limited experiences of sound system gatherings and street festivals, there was nothing I loved more than Notting Hill Carnival. It was on the calendar from January – you had to get down early for Jah Shaka, Aba Shanti and Channel One or there was no hope of getting near.

The after-parties were nearly always quality, capping off a long day, and reinvigorating a respect for decent sound systems inside of clubs for at least one weekend a year.

With another carnival now closed, too many good photos and reports of rainy day vibes all-round made us gutted to not be in the country once more. It also let’s us look from outside in a bit more, and back in to history.

Wanted to take a second to share an email from one of the crew sharing some words alongside some Saxon International goodness. Everything was better back in the day – before shoddy systems, paid stages and sponsorship – we all know that. Something we missed out on for the most part, but we dig the history and opinions as much as our own experience.

This is one man’s view who we respect, definitely worth reading. Totally unedited from how I received it late last week.

Keith – there is a good reason people feel Notting Carnival suffered an attempted murder. There is no better example than this ’94 episode from one of the world’s most influential sounds – the intro by the wannabe presenter wasn’t wrong.

Carnival has always been people led, but the music and intensity wasn’t predictable or strategic. Bad Boys and girls would take a day off to dance. And to video like this you would have to know people to have such permission.

Saxon’s power came from the graft, skills and neighbourhood notoriety, so to have them at Carnival was like something people had on their calendar from the start of the year.

When you think of dubplates KP, check the quality of the Bounty Killer and Beenie Man plates at the beginning, and this is ’94, where you have to really put some effort for your plates, and Saxon from the 80s had plates which make you want to cry at the quality.

And ’94 is pivotal because people were getting their heads around JUNGLISM (be it Drum N Bass). There was a big debate on the racist nature of the world Jungle, and Shut Up & Dance said they would punch anyone in their face heard saying it.

Saxon are all local touchable people KP. The DJ in striped shirt was in the laundrette with me the other day – LOL!

Just like Junior Sandy and others.

And why can Trevor Hughroy Currie get respect in the neighbourhood – cos he wears leather hats at Saxon asking for light – hahahahahaha

Carnival like times will always change, and is always people driven and great. But some sound systems need to bow their heads in shame, as I don’t think I can show examples lie this for them.

Plus in ’94+ you had more variety in music.

Now you know what tunes you are going to hear.

Saxon were a science lesson.

And for a bit more context, taken from the same year, here’s a wonderful article from Mixmag. asking Is Jungle Too Ruff?: http://www.mixmag.net/words/from-the-archives/classic-features/april-1994-is-jungle-too-ruff