Notting Hill Carnival Has Been Cancelled for the First Time in History

There will be no Notting Hill Carnival this year.

Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled for the time it’s in the event’s 54-year history. In a statement released May 7th, organisers cited concerns over the spread of COVID-19 “after lengthy consultations with our strategic partners and our advisory council”. Adding: “Notting Hill Carnival was founded to bring people together during trying times, and we intend to continue that legacy. We are working towards an alternate NHC 2020 that we hope will bring the carnival spirit to people from the safety of their homes, and make them feel connected and engaged.”

The carnival, which usually takes place over the August bank holiday, is one of the biggest cultural events in the UK that attracts more than a million people each year. Social distancing measures would be impossible to enforce and that local residents and carnival-goers would be at increased risk of contracting the virus. Organisers added: “We have no wish to place extra strain on our colleagues at St John Ambulance and the NHS. We want to take this opportunity to express our utmost respect, admiration and gratitude for their work.”

However, organisers announced that they were planning an alternative “celebration of Carnival culture and arts for the whole nation” to take place on the same weekend: “We hope [the celebration] will bring the Carnival spirit to people from the safety of their homes, and make them feel connected and engaged.”

Image of Notting Hill Carnival, London, 2000s © Giles Moberly

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