With some 500,000 visitors each day, social distancing during the Notting Hill Carnival would be impossible, so this year Europe’s largest carnival will be cancelled.

Covid-19 and its fallouts:

Notting Hill Carnival cancelled this year

For the first time since the start in 1966, the Notting Hill Carnival will be cancelled this year.

The carnival, which normally attracts more than one million people to Notting Hill, is always held on the late summer bank holiday weekend (also called the August bank holiday weekend), which this year is falls on 29-31 August.

However, the arrangers are planning to “deliver a celebration of Carnival culture and arts for the whole nation over the August bank holiday weekend”, which sounds as if a TV programme about the carnival is being planned.

In a statement issued a couple of weeks ago, the arrangers (Notting Hill Carnival Ltd) write: “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 steel band competition, will not take place.

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.

The arrangers hope that 2021 will see the return of the carnival in Notting Hill.

First published 21/05/2020