St Pauls Carnival 2021 cancelled due to Covid pandemic

St Pauls Carnival in 2011.

One of Bristol’s major events will not be going ahead in 2021.

St Pauls Carnival, which usually takes place on the first Saturday in July, won't be happening this year.

The one-day celebration of African-Caribbean culture is a major undertaking and takes many months of careful planning.

Even though the current roadmap means England would no longer be in lockdown by then, organisers say it will not be feasible to run the event this year.

The carnival usually relies on several months of artistic preparation with the schools’ programme and community groups to create costumes and rehearse performances.

Thousands of people attend the African-Caribbean carnival

The event, which is attended by over 100,000 people and takes place in the streets of St Pauls, was cancelled in 2020 following consultation with Bristol City Council during the first lockdown.

Instead, a digital carnival was attended by over 250,000 people from around the world. A team from Carnival and local volunteers also organised socially-distanced food deliveries on what would have been Carnival day in 2020 to elders in the St Pauls community.

Executive director of St Pauls Carnival LaToyah McAllister-Jones said: “Like mostevents, it has been a challenging year though we have also seen some fantastic and creative collaborations throughout.

"We are tremendously proud of launching the UK’s first digital carnival in 2020. However, it was really concerning when a third lockdown was announced on January 4, 2021. We knew this would have serious repercussions on the event calendar for 2021.

“Large open access events like Carnival are not able to control the numbers that attend and without selling tickets, no way of knowing where those people come from or travel back to. Despite the fantastic rollout of the vaccination programme, there are still public health risks that we have to take into consideration.”

LaToyah McAllister-Jones.

“We are working with Bristol City Council and the wider events sector to understand whatmay be possible later in the year.

"However, against a backdrop of considerable uncertainty it is difficult to plan at the moment and we are very sorry that this will no doubt be a big disappointment for the community. As soon as we have clarity, we will update everyone again.

“Rest assured Carnival will return! Once restrictions have eased and we can be confident and secure in delivering carnival day alongside the community and schools’ programme we will start planning for what will be a much-needed celebration for everyone.”

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