A staple of the August bank holiday, Notting Hill Carnival has been cancelled again for 2021.
The thing about large-scale event cancellations at the moment is, even though you’re fully expecting them, it still hurts when the news comes through. Take Notting Hill carnival; though the fiesta of music and colour is usually found joyously wending its way through the streets of west London come August. Sadly, however 2021 will be the second year since its inception that Notting Hill remains silent – as the carnival has officially been cancelled for the second year running today.
The historic carnival’s organisers said it was “an incredibly difficult decision to make” but that safety had to come first, as well as the risk of a cancelation after the ending of lockdown restrictions were delayed to July 19 this week. It would have been the carnival’s 55th event. Last year was the first time Notting Hill carnival had ever been cancelled, having been a fixture of the London summer since 1966. Though a cancellation was sadly a possibility once again – for instance, the carnival isn’t exactly a prime spot for social distancing – it’s still a major blow to our summer plans.
In 2020, a digital version of Notting Hill Carnival was held in lieu of the cancelled festival, featured pre-recorded jams from steel bands, livestreamed sound systems and calypso dancers, and discussions of carnival culture. The three-day online event was hosted by BBC 1Xtra radio presenters Remel London and DJ Ace, and broadcast across the globe. A similar event hasn’t yet been confirmed for 2021, but plans to take the carnival “off the streets” indicates that organisers are plotting something Covid-safe and equally colourful. Fingers crossed for an epic return in 2022!
Also published on Medium.