I fell for Cowley Road quite hard when I first arrived here 20 years ago, and I’m still in love with the place, writes DJ Count Skylarkin.

I love the diversity, the restaurants, the pubs, the people. The community I found on Cowley Road in 1999 is the reason Carnival exists to this day. Squatters, Occupiers, Ravers and Reclaimers. Many have now been priced out of OX4. Some, tragically, are no longer with us. I’ll be thinking of them all on Sunday. Carnival’s continuation keeps that old rebel spirit alive.

See our full guide to this year's cosmic Cowley Road Carnival

Tips for Carnival: Arrive early and arrive hungry! The smell of jerk chicken wafting through my window when I wake up is almost as exciting as hearing the various rigs soundchecking.

Have a wander about early doors before the crowds get too big, then pick your spot once the procession’s done and get involved. There’s lots going on across the full length of the street and beyond. The problem you’ll have is fitting it all in before the frankly ludicrous 5pm curfew that the local police continue to insist on, despite clear evidence that this only leads to congestion and overcrowding when 50,000 people come together for such a brief period of time.

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Count Skylarkin. Pictures by Guy Henstock

On a more positive note, many places now put on excellent afterparties. I’ll be playing The Black Swan in the evening with a band called Kioko, who are one of the most energetic, exciting acts you’ll ever see.

There’s also great stuff happening at The Bullingdon, The Library, James Street Tavern, Port Mahon, The Hi-Lo, Cowley Retreat and more.

Read more: Cowley Road's indoor music festival reveals best line-up yet

But the main event for me is always about that 3 o’clock roadblock when I DJ outside The Bullingdon. I probably play close to 200 gigs every year but this is the one I think the most about, fret about, agonise about and (usually) enjoy the most.

Read more: Life's a Beach at this weekend's Cornbury Festival

This year my friends the Dub Smugglers are bringing their amazing, hand-built soundsystem down from Manchester, so we’re going to be sounding bigger and better than ever. I’m going to be playing tunes that are 50 years-old and others that are straight out of the pressing plant. If I nail it I’ll be buzzing for months. If I don’t, then at least I’ll be among friends – the best I’ve ever made.

Either way, I can’t wait.