Organisers of the Cowley Road Carnival have cancelled this year’s event to avoid “festival fatigue” amidst celebrations for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.
It is believed that competition from these events has also made securing funding more difficult.
However, John Hole, chair of the Trustees of Cowley Road Works, the charity which organises the Carnival, said: “We feel that by taking a break, the community can focus on all of these and we can benefit from a longer planning period to return in 2013.”
He added that the decision had only been made after consulting “with many community groups and people connected to Carnival” and that organisers can now “use the 18 month lead time to attract help and participation from all parts of the community and to secure crucial funding and sponsorship.”
Reaction to the news was broadly understanding. An editorial in the Oxford Mail praised the decision, calling the volunteers’ work every year “tantamount to a miracle”.
The editorial continued: “While it’s undoubtedly sad that the Cowley Road won’t ‘rock’ this year to the rhythm of neighbourhood partying, all signs point to a memorable 2013.”
The Carnival, run by community volunteers, usually takes place in the first week of July. The event was first held over a decade ago in 2001.
While for the first few years only Cowley Road was used, 2010 saw the Carnival expand as South Park was also hired out. However, last year only the park was hired because of insufficient funds to close Cowley Road.
20,000 people attended the Carnival in the Park for free in 2011 and 2,300 paid to attend Fiesta in the Park, a concert headlined by rap artist Roots Manuva.
Several local businesses and organisations sponsor the Carnival, including Oxford University.
Second year student Charlotte Tarr said “it’s a shame, but there’s so much else going on this summer that I can see why they’ve made this decision.”