Hackney Carnival will not be returning until next year, the council has announced.
The carnival, which normally take place in the autumn and celebrates Caribbean culture, has not run for three years due to Covid restrictions and them mourning Queen Elizabeth II’s death last year.
In a statement issued by the council, Councillor Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Culture, said a full Hackney Carnival will not return until 2024, and then every two years after. This is due to issues with budget after an expanding attendance to the carnival.
In a video posted on social media, he said: “In 2023 we’re delighted to once again be funding a whole host of organisations as they work with our population towards preparing to hit the streets again in 2024 for Hackney Carnival, and every two years after that.”
“Like everyone in Hackney, we love carnival…However, the growing audiences mean we need more infrastructure, event staff, security, and communications every year to deliver a safe and successful event.
…Rising costs and challenging inflationary pressures mean it simply isn’t possible to hold a live carnival event every 12 months, so this year we look forward to working with our carnival groups and wider cultural and hospitality sectors on a reduced programme to keep Hackney’s carnival traditions alive while we prepare for a full carnival event in 2024, and then every other year after that…”
Following the cancellation of the carnival in 2022 to observe the official 10-day mourning period for Queen Elizabeth II, Hackney Council worked with carnival groups to organise a replacement programme for the event.
It was “…a packed programme of carnival events”, taking place from 24 to 30 October last year where there was a livestream from Shoreditch Town Hall of Hackney’s carnival groups to residents.
However, this did not bring the community together as much as locals would have hoped.
Augustus Jordan, from Trinidad, said: “Might as well just say you don’t want Hackney Carnival anymore because these continuous excuses to cancel are getting tiring.”
Tiny Yearwood-Levy, who runs the Patonic Steel Orchestra, told East London Lines her steel band are “…absolutely gutted about the news.”
“My players and myself look forward to being on the road as it’s one of our main events and for them now to say that it’s cancelled and then will only be every two years, is disappointing and disheartening.”
The first carnival Hackney hosted was organised by African and Caribbean community centre, Centerprise, in 1973, which was known as the Hackney Mare de Gras in later stages of its running.
Carnival in the UK is a celebration of Black British culture, particularly a celebration of Caribbean heritage, which was introduced to the UK largely as part of the Windrush Generation. Since the UK’s first carnival, started by Rhaune Laslett in 1966 in Notting Hill to bring young children together in a time of racial divide to what would now be known as Notting Hill Carnival, carnival has become a necessary celebration for Black British culture.