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notting hill carnival 2020 in piccadilly circus
Photograph: Notting Hill Carnival

Notting Hill Carnival 2020 will kick off on the big screens of Piccadilly Circus

The London festival returns in a new virtual form

By Time Out contributors

Thanks to the pandemic, a string of London’s usual blockbuster events have been cancelled this year. We’ve lost Wimbledon and the London Marathon, a load of music festivals and Pride. So we were sad, but not surprised, to hear that Notting Hill Carnival wouldn’t be going ahead in its usual form this August.

The festival – and its parades, floats, soca bands and soundsystems – has landed in London annually for nearly 55 years, but it would be impossible to run it in a safe and socially distanced way in 2020. 

Thankfully, all’s not lost. In fact, organisers just announced that the event is coming to central London this bank holiday weekend. But not in its physical form.

They’ve promised a three-day digital festival that will celebrate NHC’s history and feature performances, talks and films – with a focus on the food, dance, music and culture of carnival. You’ll be able to watch Notting Hill Carnival: Access All Areas everywhere – but it will launch with a special film being shown on the big screens in Piccadilly Circus at 7am on Friday (August 28) in collaboration with official partner Samsung.

The famous central London hub will host a countdown and video trailers for the digital festival throughout the day. Bring your virtual airhorns.

See the full digital line up for Notting Hill Carnival 2020. 

Shy FX, Toddla T and The Heatwave tell us their favourite Notting Hill Carnival memories.

Find out what else is happening in London this August bank holiday

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