‘Explosion of colour’: Hackney Carnival to make its long-awaited return on 22 September

The last in-person carnival in 2019 attracted 100,000 people. Photograph: Hackney Council

The first in-person Hackney Carnival in five years is to take place on Sunday 22 September, the council has announced.

The event was held virtually for two years during the Covid pandemic, and was set to take place in 2022 before it was cancelled in the wake of the Queen’s death.

The council then revealed last year that the carnival would return in autumn 2024, but that rising costs meant it would move to a biennial schedule rather than taking place every year.

This year’s event is being billed as a “family-friendly” carnival.

The emphasis on families comes after Town Hall culture chief Cllr Chris Kennedy last week touched on safety fears as he discussed this year’s carnival route.

Ridley Road has again been excluded, and Cllr Kennedy said the famous market street was a “victim of the carnival’s success”.

Around 100,000 people attended in 2019, and tens of thousands are expected to descend upon the borough this September.

Pax Nindi returns as artistic director, and he will lead a parade that is expected to feature several popular carnival groups who have had to bide their time during the five-year hiatus.

Nindi said: “Hackney Carnival holds a special place in my heart, and I’m delighted to be at the helm once more.

“The overwhelming community support is a testament to the carnival’s significance in our lives. 2019 was a triumph, and 2024 promises to be an explosion of colour, culture, and togetherness.

“Hackney Carnival is for everyone, transcending boundaries of colour, race, and creed, and I’m honoured to be leading the way working with our amazing carnival groups.”

The daytime parade will showcase eye-catching floats and vibrant, colourful costumes that celebrate the diversity of carnival culture.

Work is also underway to create a line-up for the day, as well as opportunities for young people and their families to get involved in summer workshops.

Local residents will be able to perform on stage, make costumes, run a stall, attend a workshop, or volunteer on the day of the event.

People can register their interest by completing this form before Sunday 7 April.

Mayor of Hackney Caroline Woodley said: “I’m so happy that we’ve been able to bring Hackney’s family-friendly Carnival back to the borough’s streets this September.

“The return of carnival is a chance for residents to come together to celebrate and showcase the creativity and talent that makes our diverse borough so special.

“For anybody who has yet to experience Hackney Carnival, now is your chance!”

Cllr Kennedy added: “Carnival is for everyone and like all Hackney residents we can’t wait to enjoy the family-focused communal celebration once again.

Hackney Carnival has always been about community. It will be great to see people from all cultures and all walks of life celebrate together the true meaning of carnival in its original spirit.”

Any market traders interested in running a stall on 22 September must fill out this form.