Revellers have lined the streets for London’s New Year’s Day Parade to help welcome in 2023.
Entertainers from across the globe brought a colourful carnival of culture to the West End as the event moved from Piccadilly to Parliament Square for the first time since 2020 due to the pandemic.
The three-and-a-half-hour parade – dubbed by Toploader, one of the bands making an appearance, as the “perfect hangover cure” – features more than 8,000 performers in 70 performance groups.
Bob Bone, founder of the London’s New Year’s Day Parade, has helped turn it into an annual tradition since the inaugural parade in 1987.
This year’s event is filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, pearly kings and queens, dancers, drummers, cycling clubs and giant balloons.
Mr Bone said: “This year the parade is back to its brilliant best.
“We are delighted to see that so many performers have travelled from around the world.
“This is the first mass gathering of the parade since Covid. This is the first time since 2020 we have had a parade.
“It is amazing. It is what we do. It is what we love and it gives London this incredible opportunity to showcase itself to the world, to give the world a wave and say ‘come on over’.”
Apart from the 500,000 people who turn out to see the event in person, the parade is also watched on TV by more than 500,000,000 annually, according to the organisers.
There are about 20 nations represented among the acts – including an El Salvadorian band who travelled from the rain forest, plus performers from China, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and others from the US, UK and Europe.
Mr Bone said: “It is a hugely cosmopolitan carnival. It’s culture, colour and terrific fun.”
It has “raised billions for London and the UK as a whole” over the years, along with £2 million for London charities, the organisers said.