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Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled for the first time ever

Written by
Alexandra Sims

It’s the sad news we've all been braced for: Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled for the first time ever. 

Organisers of the bank holiday parade, which is usually Europe’s largest street festival, had previously held off officially confirming its cancellation. However, today the board of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd announced the event, due to take place on Sunday August 30 and Monday August 31, will no longer be going ahead.

It’s the first time the event has been cancelled in its 54-year history. The organisers also confirmed Panorama, the annual steel band competition, will also be cancelled. 

However, they have suggested an alternative Carnival will be held this year, allowing people to get into the ‘Carnival spirit from the safety of their homes’. 

The full statement from the organisers said: ‘Like all events around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that Notting Hill Carnival has faced many challenges this year. After lengthy consultations with our strategic partners and our Advisory Council, the Board has taken the decision that this year’s Carnival will not take place on the streets of Notting Hill as it has done for over 50 years. This will also mean that Panorama, the annual steelband competition, will not take place. 

‘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.

‘This has not been an easy decision to make, but the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way in which it has unfolded means that this is the only safe option.  Everyone’s health has to come first. 

‘We also have no wish to place extra strain on our colleagues at St John Ambulance and the NHS. We, of course, work very closely with them for Carnival and want to take this opportunity to express our utmost respect, admiration and gratitude for their work.

 ‘We are still at the early stages of planning for Notting Hill Carnival 2020 in its temporary form. We will share more information on how it will take shape soon. We will now be working closely with our partners, the Carnival community and others to deliver a celebration of Carnival culture and arts for the whole nation over the August bank holiday weekend.

‘We look forward to welcoming you back to the streets of Notting Hill in 2021.’

This weekend, a live stream party is taking place hosted by one of Carnival’s best soundsystems. Crank it up in commiseration.

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