Organisers of the Cowley Road Carnival this week announced that this year’s event will not actually be held on Cowley Road.
The carnival, due to take place on 3rd July, has been moved due to a “serious” lack of funds. Instead, a carnival will be held in South Park over two days, 2nd and 3rd July.
John Hole, the chairman of Cowley Road Works – the charity that organises the Carnival – explained the shortfall. He said: “East Oxford no longer attracts regeneration funding, and the grants and sponsorship funds we have received mostly apply to the events in South Park and cannot be transferred to the road. Therefore, staging the event in Cowley Road itself relies on financial support from the businesses that will benefit from the event.” He added: “They have not received support on the scale that we had hoped for.”
Mr Hole asked the community for understanding. He said: “This is a decision which we have not taken lightly, and we know that many people in the Oxford community will be bitterly disappointed, as we are ourselves. However, we hope everyone will understand that it’s the right one to make in the financial circumstances.”
The move comes as a blow to local business owners. Aziz Ur-Rahman, owner of the Aziz Asian Restaurant, said he was “disappointed with the organisers and the other traders” and said that it “defied the whole point” that the carnival was named Cowley Road Carnival and was not going to be held on the road. His donation of £1,000 was the single largest donation made by any trader this year.
Earlier in the year there had already been fears that the carnival would not be able to be held on the road because of the modernisation scheme taking place on nearby Iffley Road.
Cowley Road Carnival is Oxford’s biggest street party and was first held in 2002, and is one of the city’s most popular annual events. This is the second time in three years that the event has been moved, having been moved to South Park in 2009 due to similar funding concerns.