The event was forced online in 2020 due to restriction and in June it was announced that this year’s celebration – its 55th year – would also be taken off the streets.
Although restrictions have eased to allow large events, lockdown has had a huge impact on carnivalists, such as the sound systems and steel bands, and preparations were not in place to hold the 2021 celebration, organisers said.
The vibrant event usually sees around two million revellers take to the streets of west London and is second only to Brazil’s Rio carnival in size. It aims to promote unity and bring people of all ages together.
But this year there is a programme of online and smaller in-person events lined up. Here’s what you need to know about Notting Hill Carnival 2021...
When is Notting Hill Carnival?
The carnival is traditionally held over the August bank holiday weekend. In 2021 there are a number of smaller in person and online events planned for August 28, 29 and 30.
Where are the events and where are they being held?
Carnival usually brings static sound systems, live performances and stages featuring reggae and punk bands to the streets of Notting Hill. Previous star performers include Jay-Z, Lil’ Kim and Busta Rhymes.
This year carnival is running four online channels, which can be watched via the official app.
King Tubby’s, Rampage, on Channel 1, will be showcasing sound systems and streaming exclusive sets from midday until 8pm on Sunday and Monday.
Carnival organisers have teamed up with Spotify for a Carnival Sounds tab, which includes playlist takeovers, sound system love-ins and podcasts.
A series of ticketed events to raise money for the Carnival Trust Fund, which supports musicians impacted by the cancellation, are also taking place across London.
Panorama: A Celebration of Carnival Culture is set to take place in Emslie Horniman’s Pleasance Park from 6pm on August 28. The UK National Panorama Steelband Competition will bring together a medley of carnival elements all in one day.
Organisers have also launched a partnership with Deliveroo, which aims to help support food outlets, bands and singers that rely on the carnival for significant annual revenue.
In areas of Manchester and London the delivery giant will be selling large spiced beef or scotch bonnet-flavoured patties, a Jamaican delicacy.
The proceeds from the £5.66 patties, priced as a nod to the first iteration of the carnival in 1966, will go to those missing out on revenue from the event’s absence and help them stay afloat ahead of its return in 2022.
Opera Holland Park hosted Carnival Culture in the Park with shows across August 19, 20 and 21.
Will Notting Hill Carnival be back in 2022?
Matthew Phillip, executive director of Notting Hill Carnival Ltd, said cancelling Europe’s biggest street party has hit those involved hard – but he is “confident” it will return next year.
He said : “The impact of Notting Hill Carnival not being on the streets for two years has hit the street food vendors, bands and individuals who make it the spectacle it is hard, but it was important that we were not on the streets this year both for the safety of everyone but also the long-term future of Notting Hill Carnival itself.
He added: “We’re very confident about coming back next year although we are not 100 per cent back to normality. The situation is a lot different to what it was in 2020.”