Delays, postponements and cancellations become a new art

Croydon’s turn to be London’s Borough of Culture in 2023 remains unchanged. For now.

Justine Simons at the launch event for Brent’s Borough of Culture – now put back a year

But if they can postpone the Olympic Games, as the Prime Minister of Japan requested today, then anything can fall victim to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Mayor of London announced today that Brent, the nominated Borough of Culture for 2020, is to “delay” its festivities until later in 2020, with the Kilburn High Street Party and Liberty Festival now to go ahead in the summer of 2021.

Much of Brent’s plans revolved around football’s European Championships, with key matches to be played at Wembley. UEFA, the European football body, took the decision earlier this month to postpone those fixtures until 2021.

With Brent’s programme sidelined, Lewisham, which was to have been the 2021 Borough of Culture, is now shunted into 2022.

Justine Simons, Sadiq Khan’s deputy mayor for culture, said: “It’s important that we all follow the government’s instructions to stay at home unless it is essential to leave. But we do not want Londoners to miss out on the amazing creative programmes that Brent, Lewisham and Croydon have planned, so that is why we have re-scheduled our plans.

Croydon’s previous bid to be Borough of Culture was made when the Fairfield Halls was closed

“We will work closely with artists, the boroughs and all those involved to ensure they are supported during these challenging times.”

Croydon – whose previous bid to be Borough of Culture in 2019 was rejected – and the two other boroughs had each been granted £1.3million by the Mayor towards their years’ artistic festivities.

Damien Egan, the elected mayor for Lewisham, said: “The decision to postpone our year of culture has not been an easy one but it’s important that we are completely focused on keeping services for vulnerable residents going as best we can during the unprecedented challenge that coronavirus presents.”

Covid-19 has already caused carnage to a wide range of cultural, sporting and community events in Croydon, across London and around the world.

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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