UPDATED: Kingston Carnival cancelled

Last ditch talks to save Kingston Carnival

Last ditch talks to save Kingston Carnival

First published in News
Last updated
This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

The 2014 Kingston Carnival has been cancelled amid safety concerns over the number of people expected to turn up. 

Kingston Council has scrapped the borough’s largest multicultural street parade, now in its 15th year and due to take place on September 7, despite last-ditch talks to save it.

Organisers Kingston Race and Equalities Council (KREC) only announced last week that former Specials frontman Neville Staple would headline a show in Market Place.

The alcohol-free festival has been hit with several setbacks this year, including changes to policing strategy which means officers would not supervise road closures during the carnival.

Instead KREC was to pay an estimated £10,000 for security and an external events management company to make comprehensive noise control, crowd control and stewarding plans for the first time.

This Is Local London: Neville Staple

Neville Staple

It is understood KREC director John Azah and Kingston Council leader Kevin Davis met to discuss the carnival’s future today. 

Mr Azah said: "We have announced Neville Staple so they have got worried. They are worried we have booked good acts."

Coun Davis said: "I have gathered it is a security issue.

"There was going to be a big act that was going to close the Market Place for the public. It was not announced until last week. Big music events cannot be in the Market Place at the same time as all the other food bits.

"We need to find a new location for it."

Liberal Democrat Councillor Liz Green, leader of the opposition, said: "It would be a huge loss to the borough. It is awful.

"I thoroughly enjoy going to the carnival. I would move anything possible for the carnival to go ahead. When you lose it one year it never comes back."

Last year reggae DJ David Rodigan headlined the event which attracted up to 700 carnival-goers and was also attended by 14 London mayors as well as the High Commissioner of Jamaica, Aloun Ndombet-Asamba.

This year Kingston Carnival’s noon procession was due to host colourful floats, Brazilian percussion bands and Bollywood dancers through the town centre.

But Jon Tolley, manager of Banquet Records, which booked the headline act, said some sort of show may still go on

He said: "I’m sure the Neville Staple gig will go ahead in some way.

"It’s a free gig and we’ve announced it already.

"As such it will go on at some point that day, but right now I’m not stressed about it.

"It’s just a shame about the carnival, which is an amazing event with a real important ethic."

Comments (6)

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3:33pm Thu 7 Aug 14

&anotherthing says...

and when the rest of London was rioting, did anyone ask why not Kingston.....? A little credit minimum should have been given to the likes of KREC who have worked hard on community cohesion with very little thanks for so many years.
Someone should revoke this silly decision immediately....
The police and the borough can make this Carnival happen, but are obviously choosing not to. It was too busy last year for some of the event, but any problems are not insurmountable.

If the market place isn't suitable now for public gatherings to celebrate the wonderful diversity of the town it appears that there never will be a time. The police have powers to cope with the event but instead will stay inside their multiple vehicles parked illegally across the borough or inside a cosy new station counting the number cells they can fill across the SW of London and wringing their hands of the number of police staff have been lost thanks to the Mayor of London. So much for partnership working........
and when the rest of London was rioting, did anyone ask why not Kingston.....? A little credit minimum should have been given to the likes of KREC who have worked hard on community cohesion with very little thanks for so many years. Someone should revoke this silly decision immediately.... The police and the borough can make this Carnival happen, but are obviously choosing not to. It was too busy last year for some of the event, but any problems are not insurmountable. If the market place isn't suitable now for public gatherings to celebrate the wonderful diversity of the town it appears that there never will be a time. The police have powers to cope with the event but instead will stay inside their multiple vehicles parked illegally across the borough or inside a cosy new station counting the number cells they can fill across the SW of London and wringing their hands of the number of police staff have been lost thanks to the Mayor of London. So much for partnership working........ &anotherthing
  • Score: 17

5:02pm Thu 7 Aug 14

Happy59 says...

Well what do you expect from a Tory council.
Well what do you expect from a Tory council. Happy59
  • Score: 18

6:13pm Thu 7 Aug 14

concernedofkingston says...

This is sad news. I'm older than I would care to admit and I remember seeing the Specials several times in the 80's so I was really looking forward to seeing Neville rock the new ancient market. But I suppose that is the problem really because if I had been intending to go there would have probably been very big crowds of other like minded people turning up from all around, So I think the Council are probably right to try to ensure that nothing unfortunate happens to any carnival goers or shoppers because of the crowds that would assemble in quite a small area. Having said that it would probably pass of without any incidents but then this would lead to pressure for an even bigger carnival next year. I think I'll just have to use my bus pass and join in the fun at Notting Hill which is a wonderful alternative spectacle the area and is so much better suited to large events. On balance I'm sure it was a difficult decision but well done to the Council.
This is sad news. I'm older than I would care to admit and I remember seeing the Specials several times in the 80's so I was really looking forward to seeing Neville rock the new ancient market. But I suppose that is the problem really because if I had been intending to go there would have probably been very big crowds of other like minded people turning up from all around, So I think the Council are probably right to try to ensure that nothing unfortunate happens to any carnival goers or shoppers because of the crowds that would assemble in quite a small area. Having said that it would probably pass of without any incidents but then this would lead to pressure for an even bigger carnival next year. I think I'll just have to use my bus pass and join in the fun at Notting Hill which is a wonderful alternative spectacle the area and is so much better suited to large events. On balance I'm sure it was a difficult decision but well done to the Council. concernedofkingston
  • Score: -18

7:25am Fri 8 Aug 14

&anotherthing says...

If this was because of genuine safety concerns I might have to agree with you, but this weekend to attract crowds to Kingston bikes will race through the town centre encouraged by the Council. Yet people walking and dancing is somehow meant to me more dangerous. Unless there is the will to help communities celebrate visibly in Kingston and support from everyone to make it happen all the goodwill of building the event organically for 15 years could be lost. The Specials wonderful though they were in the 80s could be relocated as Banquet Records have already suggested. This decision needs to be reversed.
If this was because of genuine safety concerns I might have to agree with you, but this weekend to attract crowds to Kingston bikes will race through the town centre encouraged by the Council. Yet people walking and dancing is somehow meant to me more dangerous. Unless there is the will to help communities celebrate visibly in Kingston and support from everyone to make it happen all the goodwill of building the event organically for 15 years could be lost. The Specials wonderful though they were in the 80s could be relocated as Banquet Records have already suggested. This decision needs to be reversed. &anotherthing
  • Score: 21

7:52am Fri 8 Aug 14

Imigrante says...

Too much "health and safety"......
Too much "health and safety"...... Imigrante
  • Score: -2

3:02pm Fri 8 Aug 14

FlipperW says...

If only Kingston had, say, a 900 seat auditorium, close to the town centre, capable of hosting live bands in comfort and safety ... ;)
If only Kingston had, say, a 900 seat auditorium, close to the town centre, capable of hosting live bands in comfort and safety ... ;) FlipperW
  • Score: 14

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