Notting Hill Carnival is as iconic to London as the red bus, Big Ben, and our unfailing optimism to think football is coming home at every major tournament.
So, we are buzzing to report that it WILL go ahead this year despite initial reports that it was on the cusp of being cancelled for the second year in a row.
Just a few weeks ago, organisers announced that the fiesta would not be going ahead on the streets this August bank holiday due to the ongoing uncertainty and risk Covid poses.
At the time, the cheeky team failed to mention that they had a plan B up their sleeves!
That plan B involves an extravaganza taking place through a series of ticketed events, in contrast to the regular street festival where you rock up without pre-booking.
For 2021 celebrations, punters are being invited to book performances hitting Opera Holland Park, a glorious open-air auditorium with picnic areas in Kensington.
The three-day programme, stretching across August 19-21, will see a variety of acts showcasing the best traditional and contemporary Caribbean musicians, celebrating the culture and heritage of the carnival through the musical genres of calypso and steelpan.
Better yet, the tickets will help fund the return of Notting Hill Carnival in 2022 so that the tradition can survive after the global pandemic.
While it may seem steep switching from a free to paying event, all tickets are being priced fairly at £10 a pop, and organisers are mindful of this leap.
Speaking about the decision, Matthew Phillip, CEO of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, said it will play an extremely important role in raising vital financial support to secure its future.
Matthew said: “Notting Hill Carnival belongs on the streets, but the pandemic presented too much uncertainty to plan for a safe event over the August bank holiday weekend.
“It also put bands in a difficult financial situation that had the potential to close them down, despite decades of history.”
He added: “It would be very difficult to hold carnival in its traditional format on the streets with social distancing in place. It would be devastating for a second year in a row.”
If you are struggling financially, or just want to join in festivities without committing to a ticket, there will be free events taking place at Notting Hill Carnival hub The Tabernacle too.
And it’s only 12 months until the 2022 street party…
To grab a ticket, click here: Carnival Culture in the Park.