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St Pauls Carnival announces plans for 2020 in response to Covid-19

24th March 2020

Categories: Latest News

St Pauls Carnival, Bristol’s iconic celebration of African-Caribbean culture, will be cancelled for 2020 in response to the unprecedented challenge posed by Covid-19.

Traditionally held on the first Saturday of July, this year’s celebration will not take place as originally planned on 4 July 2020. 

The board of St Pauls Carnival CIC has taken this decision in recognition of the need for social distancing and, in particular, the issues around mass gatherings. Without clarity around when an end to these measures can be assured, the organising team cannot continue to plan for a major public event and as always is prioritising public safety and the local community.  

Not wanting to cancel the whole carnival event for 2020 the team is now talking to partner organisations to consider the options and viability of staging a two-week series of fringe events and an adapted schools’ programme later this year.

A major part of the celebration is always the schools’ programme and with schools now closed, it is not practical or realistic that rehearsals, mas camps and costume preparations continue to go ahead. 

Commenting on behalf of the St Pauls Carnival CIC board, executive director LaToyah McAllister-Jones said: “Obviously we are hugely disappointed not to be able to stage Carnival as usual in July this year but it is absolutely the right decision in the current situation. As an organisation focused on community cohesion, we understand that city resources will need to focus on keeping all our communities safe and well during this period.”

“Once we get through this tough time we will all need to reconnect and engage with our neighbours, friends and family so we will try our best to create an adapted celebration at a later date.

“We’re currently working on a ‘digital carnival’ campaign which will bring some of the magic of the event to people at home over the next few months while they face isolation at home – we will announce more detail on this soon.

“We will also be coordinating with our volunteers to support city-wide efforts in assisting people in need in our community. We encourage our followers and supporters to sign up here if you are able to get involved and give some of your time to support your neighbours. During these challenging times we want to keep the Carnival spirit alive during the coming months as we all work together.”    

“We would like to thank all partner organisations for their ongoing support and understanding particularly St Monica Trust, Nisbets, Merchant Venturers, Total Produce, Bristol Music Trust and our key funders The Arts Council England and Bristol City Council.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol added: “I know our citizens, businesses and visitors will be disappointed about the decision but I’d like to thank the board for the steps they are taking to help maintain public safety during the pandemic. We will work with the sector to help its full recovery, and with the board to ensure a successful carnival in 2021.”

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