Somewhat unsurprisingly, Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled for the first time in its 54-year history.
The bank holiday parade is usually Europe’s largest street festival, and today the board of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd announced that the event will no longer be going ahead.
Due to take place on Sunday August 30 and Monday August 31, around two million attendees were expected.
The full statement from the organisers reads: “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.”