This year’s Notting Hill Carnival will not take place on the streets, with organisers putting “safety first”.
They said that with time short for participants to prepare, along with the risk of cancellation, they had decided to represent the fiesta in other ways.
The three-day street party, held in west London since 1966, usually attracts about two million people.
Last year, the first digital version of the event was hosted by radio presenters DJ Ace and Remel London.
It was streamed on four channels over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Executive director Matthew Phillip said the decision was not easy but was the responsible choice.
“We’ve been planning and weighing up the situation all year but we’ve come to the point where we want definites – and we are not definitely sure it would be safe to be on the streets at the end of August,” he said.
Mr Phillip was certain that the event would return though: “It’s not like carnival is the only thing canceled [since the pandemic], we’re part of a wider community. It will return to the streets because it means too much not to.
“As with last year we will make sure carnival will be celebrated – it’s not actually carnival because carnival is a street event and if it’s not on the street it’s not carnival – but it will be celebrated.”
There will be some smaller events in the run-up to the bank holiday where the number of spectators can be limited and controlled, and there will also be online offerings.
Notting Hill Carnival
- The event takes place on the August Bank Holiday in Notting Hill, Westbourne Park, and parts of Kensington
- The spectacle of music, dancing, food and drink is rooted in Caribbean culture and has been influenced by the Windrush generation
- Over the past 55 years, it has grown to become the second-biggest carnival in the world, after the one held in Rio de Janeiro
- The event aims to “promote unity and bring people of all ages together”
- The first festival was put on by Rhaune Laslett, who lived in Notting Hill and wanted to highlight and celebrate the diversity in her area
Emma Will from Kensington and Chelsea Council said that although the news was disappointing, the council “completely supports” the move.
“It is important that we look after the wellbeing of our residents and visitors.
“We are committed to supporting this celebration and making it as fun, magical, and as safe as possible. We will be working with relevant partners such as the Met, TfL, and more to ensure that this bank holiday weekend passes safely and the virtual carnival alternative is enjoyed.”
The decision to take the event off the street follows the government’s extension of Covid restrictions in England.
It had hoped to remove all legal limits on social contact from 21 June. That has been put back until 19 July.
Full details of the carnival’s alternative arrangements will be released nearer the time and the latest developments will be announced on social media and via its website.