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Exeter Carnival cancelled

Happier times (image courtesy: Exeter BID)

It was revived last year after quarter of a century

Exeter Carnival, which returned to the city amid much fanfare last year after a break of a quarter of a century, won't be going ahead next month.

The high-profile event was due to have taken place on Saturday 25 November, and has been in the planning for some months. Now the rug has been pulled with six weeks to go to allow time for a replacement to be planned.

Organisers InExeter, which is also known as the BID - the Business Improvement District - funded by a tax on businesses in the city centre, says last year's carnival was "a monumental event, attracting both locals and visitors to celebrate carnival in the heart of Exeter city centre. However, the rise in operation costs has compelled InExeter to make the difficult choice to cancel the carnival."

Mat Jarratt, chair of directors at InExeter, said: “To deliver a carnival style event in a city like Exeter is not without substantial difficulties. The scale of road closures, amount of people needed to run an event of this scale, and the costs associated with this, all while ensuring that the essence of the event is not compromised, has meant that we have had to look at what style of event is best for Exeter in this tough financial climate.”

In place of the carnival, InExeter is planning a daytime and early evening event on the day the carnival was planned for. Details have yet to be revealed.

Whether the carnival will return in the near future is moot. The Exeter BID scheme's funding comes to an end in 2025, with no guarantee of its future. Businesses have to vote to impose the tax on themselves, with funds raised then spent on marketing the city centre, and the financial position is now very different to the current round, which was agreed in 2019, before the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis, which is impacting on businesses.

Ominously, InExeter says: "Exeter Carnival in 2022 will be eternally cherished as a momentous occasion that allowed both city residents and visitors to experience a piece of history in the heart of Exeter."

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