Ridley Road dropped from Hackney Carnival route over safety fears

The first in-person Hackney Carnival for years is expected to attract tens of thousands

The route for this summer’s Hackney Carnival parade has been announced and it excludes Ridley Road.

The iconic market street has often hosted the carnival’s sound system, and has in the past served as the parade’s starting point.

The last in-person parade in 2019 did not pass through Ridley Road, and this year, the mass of floats will again avoid it – this time because of safety concerns.

The parade will assemble at Mentmore Terrace and head up Mare Street, before making its way around the main roads of south Dalston and finishing at London Fields.

The exclusion of Ridley Road is a concern for local business owners, who expressed fears that it will impact trade.

Attempting to assure them, Cllr Kennedy, cabinet member for health, adult social care, voluntary sector and culture, said: “Carnival day is going to bring tens of thousands of residents and visitors out onto our streets and the council will help make sure that they bring their custom to you.

“The Ridley Road Market team is looking to repeat the success of the ‘Ridley Road Summer Market’ and they are working with the council’s economic development team and dedicated carnival team to license, promote and enable trading in association with this year’s carnival.”

Almost 100,000 attended Hackney Carnival in 2019, and this summer’s event is to be the first since then.

Covid restrictions, and last year’s period of national morning following the Queen’s death, prevented the usually annual carnival from going ahead.

Cllr Kennedy recalled the last time Ridley Road was the epicentre of the carnival celebrations, saying “it literally was a crush”.

“Ridley Road basically became the victim of the carnival’s success,” the Labour councillor for Hackney Wick continued.

“Concerns raised by the council and the police meant we had to reconsider starting the carnival on a long and narrow street where it is difficult to manage crowd control.”

The date of this year’s Hackney Carnival is yet to be announced.

Update: this article was amended on 8 March 2024 to clarify that Ridley Road was not part of the route for the last in-person carnival in 2019.