Summer 2024: Hackney Carnival Is Returning For The First Time In 5 Years
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Summer 2024: Hackney Carnival Is Returning For The First Time In 5 Years

Carnival isn't just for west London...

Covid messed with a lot of things, from derailing concerts and tours to postponing film and TV production to the point of cancellation. In 2024, though, most things have returned to normal – or should we say ‘normal’. One London community event that sadly never made a comeback is Hackney Carnival, an annual celebration of the borough’s diverse community – until now. Here’s everything you need to know about Hackney Carnival 2024.

Everything You Need To Know About Hackney Carnival 2024

Three women dressed in extravagant costumes at Hackney Carnival

© Sean Pollock/Hackney Council

What Is Hackney Carnival?

Hackney Carnival is a street parade celebrating the London borough’s diverse community and creative talents. It dates back to the 1970s, when the first rendition of what would later become Hackney Carnival took place in De Beauvoir, organised by the African and Caribbean community centre, Centerprise. Then called the ‘Street Carnival Theatre’, the carnival has also been known as the Hackney Mare de Gras and Hackney One Carnival before becoming simply ‘Hackney Carnival’ in 2017.

In 2019, Hackney Carnival took place on Sunday 8 September from 11am–7pm, attracting more than 80,000 people with eye-catching costumes, energetic dance performances, and live music from around the world. Little did visitors know, it would be the last time they partied at Hackney Carnival for five whole years.

This year, the famous street parade will finally return, featuring vibrant floats and colourful costumes galore. Elsewhere, expect musical performances, stalls and plenty of street food.

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

Women looking down from a parade float

© Sean Pollock/Hackney Council

When?

22 September 2024. Now set to take place every two years, the following Hackney Carnival will take place in 2026.

Where?

Hackney Carnival is a borough-wide affair, with the parade beginning at Mentmore Terrace and heading up Mare Street before making its way through South Dalston and finishing at London Fields.

As in 2019, Ridley Road will not be included in the parade route due to safety concerns.

How?

Anyone can visit Hackney Carnival – and it’s expected to be a busy one. If you’d like to attend, you can watch the parade from 11am, or head straight to London Fields where plenty of the action will be taking place.

Get Involved

If you’d like to be a part of the big bonanza, you can fill in this form, which is recruiting everyone from volunteers to musical acts to a limited number of floats.

A woman in a pink carnival costume

© Sean Pollock/Hackney Council

Why Was Hackney Carnival 2022 Cancelled?

It’s not only Covid that has derailed Hackney Carnival: the 2022 edition was cancelled to observe the official 10-day mourning period following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. At the time, Mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville and Cllr Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Culture, issued a public apology ‘regretfully [announcing] the cancellation of Hackney Carnival […] to observe the loss of [our] longest-serving monarch’.

‘We’ll be looking at whether it is feasible to hold Carnival at a later date, this year, or if we can showcase the artists’ work in another way,’ they added. ‘We know many people will feel extremely disappointed, and we are sorry for the sadness and upset this will cause.’

Why Didn’t Hackney Carnival Take Place In 2023?

In March 2023, Councillor Chris Kennedy, Cabinet Member for Culture, confirmed Hackney Carnival would not be taking place due to ‘rising costs and challenging inflationary pressures’, announcing the celebration would take place every other year from 2024 onwards.

‘The budget for carnival has almost doubled each year due to its increasing scale and popularity,’ Kennedy said at the time. ‘Rising costs and challenging inflationary pressures mean it simply isn’t possible to hold a live carnival event every 12 months, so this year we look forward to working with our carnival groups and wider cultural and hospitality sectors on a reduced programme to keep Hackney’s carnival traditions alive while we prepare for a full carnival event in 2024, and then every other year after that.’