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London's Notting Hill Carnival cancelled over virus: Organizers

 

Agence France-Presse

London, United Kingdom  /  Sat, May 9, 2020  /  09:07 am
London's Notting Hill Carnival cancelled over virus: Organizers

Performers dance on the second day of the Notting Hill Carnival in west London on August 29, 2016. (AFP/Daniel Leal-Olivas)

London's Notting Hill Carnival, held annually over a long weekend in late August, has been cancelled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced on Thursday.

"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," they said in a statement.

"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."

The west London carnival traces its roots back to Caribbean music festivals in the 1950s after the first surge in arrivals from former British colonies post-World War II.

Read also: Notting Hill Carnival crowds defy London rain for annual celebration

Feathered dancers, steel bands and earth-shaking sound systems feature in the vibrant two-day celebration of British Caribbean culture.

Organisers Notting Hill Carnival Ltd. added they were planning "an alternate" event this year "that we hope will bring the Carnival spirit to people from the safety of their homes, and make them feel connected and engaged".

"We will share more information on how it will take shape soon," they said, adding they looked forward to welcoming revelers back to the streets of Notting Hill in 2021.

Britain, one of the world's worst-hit countries by the outbreak, is in the seventh week of a nationwide lockdown that is set to be eased only gradually in the coming months.

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