This is a messy one. The much anticipated Nigerian Carnival due to begin today, Saturday 7th and ending on Sunday, has been cancelled.
The organizers of the two day event which cost £70,000 and billed as an extravaganza of all things Nigerian, including, music, fashion and food, was expecting up to 5,000 revellers. Unfortunately they were unable to meet health and safety requirements stipulated by Haringey Council in their event license. The stipulation included having a production company involved in the management and enough secutiy staff.
Councillor Nilgun Canver, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We have been left with no alternative.
“Public safety is an absolute priority and organisers had failed to meet conditions set out in the licence so that arrangements were in place to ensure people were safe.”
Ms Canver added: “This decision does not prevent future applications – should organisers wish to put forward a proposal for next year which includes safety measures.”
This late cancellation all adds up to one big mess, as there will be thousands of people who will be showing up, not aware of the cancellation, not to mention all the angry stall holders who have paid up front.
To ensure the carnival doesn’t go through, Haringey council have said licensing officers will be present at the park.
This is not the first time the Nigerian Carnival organizers have had to cancel the event. In 2009 they ‘postponed’ the event due to lack of funding.
In 2008 the carnival due to be held at Burgess Park in Camberwell was again cancelled, this time because of residents complaints after the inagural carnival held in 2007 attracted close to 20,000 people got rowdy and attracted some violence.
UPDATE Saturday 7 August 11:00 am
Just got off the phone with one of the festival organizers Kashif Jones-Laguna, who is at Finsbury Park today carrying out the unenviable task of informing folks that the carnival has been cancelled.
I asked why he didn’t get everything in place before the carnival was announced. He assured me that the event was only being postponed until a later date. According to him: “everything was in place, the police gave the go ahead as did the council. However, there was a problem with the company supplying the Marqees, Portable toilets etc and we had to change companies at the last moment, which didn’t give us enough time to get approval from Haringey council about the new suppliers.
He added: “We are looking for another park, maybe a private park to hold the event and will announce shortly”.
Something tells me with a history of so many cancellations and bad organization, he ought to quit.