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Notting Hill Carnival 2021: Event will not take place on streets due to ‘ongoing uncertainty and Covid-19 risk’

·2-min read
Notting Hill Carnival 2021: Event will not take place on streets due to ‘ongoing uncertainty and Covid-19 risk’
 (PA)
(PA)

The organisers of the Notting Hill Carnival have announced the event on August 29 and 30 will not take place on the streets due to the “ongoing uncertainty and risk Covid-19 poses.”

In a statement released on Friday the board of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd said: “Everyone involved in the event desperately wants a return to the road where Carnival belongs but safety has to come first and with the latest cautious announcement on the government’s ‘roadmap’, this is the only way to ensure that.”

The delay to July 19 of step four of the roadmap, known as “freedom day”, including the easing of restrictions on social contact and large events, means there is “so much uncertainty” and makes “the risk of eventual cancellation a real possibility”, they said.

Carnival, which was forced online last year due to the pandemic, is normally attended by around two million people.

"This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make," the board said. “something which organiser Matthew Phillip had warned would be "devastating" for Europe's biggest street party.

Notting Hill Carnival, which was forced online last year due to the pandemic, is normally attended by around two million people.

In a statement, the board of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd said it had decided this year's event in London "will not be on the streets due to the ongoing uncertainty and risk Covid-19 poses".

"This has been an incredibly difficult decision to make," the statement added.“In making this decision, we have considered our responsibilities to deliver a safe, spectacular, successful and sustainable carnival.

“The conclusion is that with so much uncertainty, with time short for carnivalists to prepare and the risk of eventual cancellation a real possibility, we must refocus our efforts for 2021.”

Matthew Phillip, who is chief executive of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee in February: “It would be very difficult to hold Carnival in its traditional format on the streets with social distancing in place. It would be devastating for a second year in a row.”

The three-day spectacle of music, dancing, food and drink is rooted in Caribbean culture, and has also been influenced by the Windrush generation.

Second only to Brazil’s Rio carnival in size, the vibrant north London event aims to promote unity and bring people of all ages together.

It brings static sound systems, live performances, and stages primarily featuring reggae and punk bands to the streets. Notting Hill has played host to Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim and Busta Rhymes.

Last year, the first digital version of the event was hosted by radio presenters DJ Ace and Remel London, and was streamed on four channels over the August bank holiday weekend.

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