Notting Hill Carnival organizers have chosen to take the event off the streets in its 55th year.
The move comes because postponing Freedom Day, due June 21, means social distancing measures are still in place – something organizer Matthew Phillip warned would be “devastating” to Europe’s biggest street festival.
The Notting Hill Carnival, forced online last year due to the pandemic, is typically attended by around two million people.
In a statement, the board of directors of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd said it had decided that this year’s event in London “will not take place on the streets due to the ongoing uncertainty and risk of Covid-19”.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision,” the statement said.
“Everyone involved in the event is desperate to get back on the streets that Carnival belongs on, but safety must come first and with the latest cautious announcement on the government roadmap, this is the only way to ensure this.
“In making this decision, we took our responsibility for a safe, spectacular, successful and sustainable carnival into account.
“The conclusion is that with so much uncertainty, with limited time for the preparations of the carnivalists and the risk of a possible cancellation, we have to realign our efforts to 2021.”
Mr. Phillip, who is the managing director of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, told MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee in February: “It would be very difficult to hold Carnival in its traditional format on the streets with social distancing. That would be devastating for the second year in a row. “
The three-day spectacle of music, dance, food and drink has its roots in Caribbean culture and was also influenced by the Windrush generation.
Second to Brazil’s Rio Carnival, the vibrant north London event aims to promote unity and bring people of all ages together.
It brings static sound systems, live performances, and stages that are mostly reggae and punk bands to the streets.
Notting Hill hosted Jay-Z, Lil ’Kim and Busta Rhymes.
Last year, the first digital version of the event was hosted by radio hosts DJ Ace and Remel London and streamed on four channels over the bank holiday weekend in August.