In a statement published on Twitter, the carnival board said: “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, 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.”
“We have no wish to place extra strain on our colleagues at St. John Ambulance and the NHS,” the statement continued. “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.”
NHC PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT We have an update for you regarding NHC 2020. Please see our official statement from the NHC Board of Directors. pic.twitter.com/owjdchFcz1
— Notting Hill Carnival Ltd. (@NHCarnivalLDN) May 7, 2020
Organisers say they are “working towards an alternative” 2020 event that they hope will “bring the Carnival spirit to people from the safety of their homes, and make them feel connected and engaged”. The new event is in the early stages of planning, with more details expected to emerge 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 statement concluded: “We look forward to welcoming you back to the streets of Notting Hill in 2021.”
Notting Hill Carnival isn’t the first cancelled event to create an alternative celebration. In March, the BBC announced that it would broadcast a ‘celebration of Glastonbury’ this summer, as opposed to its usual coverage of the actual event. With social distancing measures still firmly in place, venues and organisers are finding creative ways of building community during lockdown, from virtual raves and sex parties to online museumtours and art classes.
Alternatively, if everyone could get their hands on this PPE rave suit, maybe we could all finally go back to the club.