Notting Hill Carnival Has Been Cancelled Again. Now What?

Notting Hill Carnival Has Been Cancelled Again. Now What?
Notting Hill Carnival. Image: Shutterstock

For the second year running, Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled owing to the "ongoing uncertainty and risk" posed by COVID-19.

The carnival, which last took place in 2019, is an iconic part of Black British culture and, to date, is Europe's largest street party — attracting some two and a half million people each year.

The decision to cancel this year's event, which was due to take place 29-30 August, comes in the wake of the UK government's decision not to lift the nation's remaining coronavirus restrictions as originally planned on 21 June.

Image: Rob Schofield via the Londonist Flickr Pool

"Everyone involved in the event desperately wants a return to the road where Carnival belongs but safety has to come first", reads a statement Notting Carnival's organising body, released Friday 18 June.

"In making this decision, we have considered our responsibilities to deliver a safe, spectacular, successful and sustainable Carnival... Going forward, we will be working with Carnivalists toward the greatest ever Notting Hill Carnival for 2022."

Image: Shutterstock

Whilst the announcement is sure to disappoint many a would-be reveller, you won't necessarily have to wait till next year to experience a dose of Notting Hill Carnival culture.

In 2020, the Carnival went digital, with a range of live-streamed and pre-recorded performances, digital cookalongs, and talks. The Museum of London also released some striking black and white photographs of Carnivals' past, which you can view for free in person as part of its Dub London: Bassline of a City exhibition.

There's no word yet on what alternative events will take place this August, though Notting Carnival Ltd promises that they're working on a line-up that "will allow everyone to safely celebrate everything Notting Hill Carnival stands for".

Watch this space for further details.

Last Updated 22 June 2021