Soca Massive

Learn about the Sound System that made an impact

By Notting Hill Carnival

Michael Olton (2020/2020)Notting Hill Carnival

Michael Olton 1
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Meet Soca Massive

My name is Soca Massive, I’ve been participating in Notting Hill Carnival since 1984. That’s approximately 36 years ago. The very first time I came on the road there was not a lot of sound systems on the road. There was only some small systems with some 20 foot vehicles and trucks and things. But, I came on the road for the first time with a 40 foot truck and a 30,000 watt PA system which was actually built for outdoors. This made a major impact in the Carnival, because people could actually hear me coming from about half a mile down the road.

Michael Olton 2 - What does Carnival mean to you?
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What does Carnival mean to you?

To me, Carnival means an expression. It’s an expression of your feelings. You can be what you want to be in Carnival. It’s a time where a beggar can be a king, a prince can dress up as a beggar. You can be whatever you want. It’s where you can actually rejoice, free up yourself. I mean you’ve been cooped up all year, you’ve been cooped up all year, here’s a time to let off steam, enjoy yourself, free up yourself. Notting Hill Carnival is one of the biggest street festivals in Europe. Where people can actually come and enjoy themselves. It’s enjoyment, it’s fun. That’s why it’s something that’s grown and if you’re in carnival, it’s something that you love. 

You don’t do this for money. It’s something that’s passionate. It has to be born within you, something that is in-grown. And I believe, especially when it comes to traditional Carnival. 

Soca Massive, Michael Olton (2019)Notting Hill Carnival

I specialise in a fancy sailor mas. This is a traditional character that we’ve brought from Trinidad and we have to keep the original traditional characters and costumes alive. We’ve brought this together and we’ve added a modern day twist to the fancy sailor mas. So again, not forgetting where you’ve come from. If you don’t know where you’ve come from them you won’t know where you’re going.

Michael Olton (2020/2020)Notting Hill Carnival

Michael Olton 3 - Hopes for Carnival
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What are your hopes for Carnival?

My hopes for carnival next year is that all the bands could get paid. Seriously, to get paid! We as band leaders have to be spending and spending money to put on one of the greatest shows in Europe. And we get nothing back in return. We bring in all the tourism, we bring in so much revenue to this event, and it’s time that we get rewarded for what we do. 

Michael Olton 3 - Hopes for Carnival
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At this moment, we do this for the love and we do it for the passion. When Carnival’s finished, I’m in debt, but everybody else is smiling! Give us some remuneration. Give us some more encouragement. Give us a building, give us a Mas camp, give us somewhere to put our costumes. Give us somewhere that we can show off what we’ve been doing. Give us a museum! Let us teach people how to bend wires, how to make costumes. How to play steel bands. We need these things.

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