Uckfield Carnival may have to be ‘virtual’ once again

Uckfield Carnival due on the first Saturday of September may not go ahead in its traditional form for the second year running.

Part of the 2020 fireworks display put on by Uckfield Carnival and Bonfire Society

It may be a virtual event, as it was last year.

News of the possibility of a second disrupted year due to Covid-19 was given by Uckfield Bonfire and Carnival Society treasurer, Paul Ireland.

He said: “We have already been working with Wealden district and people who do road closures and they have advised they will not review anything until at least July.

Social distancing

We haven’t had a Bonfire meeting recently but I think the realistic thing is that we will not be able to do the full event.

“If we can do something and there is social distancing, then there is going to be an awful lot of restrictions on us to make sure it is safe.

“We also have to assess what the public perception would be.”

Lockdown

Even if lockdown restrictions were ending, the society had to consider the public perception and whether people might think it was a bit too early for a big massed event.

“We are looking at all those things,” he said, but conceded that the most likely outcome would be again some for of an online event.

Mr Ireland was speaking at a meeting of Uckfield Town Council finance sub committee.

He said the 2020 had been a virtual event and the bonfire society was grateful for the grant from the town council.

Fr John Wall leads the Bonfire Prayers in 2020

Fund-raising in the build-up was limited but because “we wanted to give Uckfield a bit of a show, we still put the same amount of fireworks up into the air”.

The event on Holy Cross School field was live streamed.

Mr Ireland told councillors they reached an eventual online audience of about 8,000 people, more than they might expect to see on the streets on a good night.

“The feedback was fantastic for our first ever virtual carnival. The town really engaged with it,” he said.

The traditional flaming banners in 2020

The society managed to raise £2,500 by using online crowdfunding and by a socially distanced bucket collection around the town when members accompanied a float.

That money is split between 16 different organisations.

Mr Ireland said the grant application was based on a full carnival going ahead.

“We are obviously making plans for doing virtual or some sort of mix.

Options kept open

“We are keeping all our options open,” he said.

If the Carnival could not go ahead it is usual form, the Bonfire society would talk to the town council about the grant.

The sub committee recommended a grant of £3,000 for Uckfield Bonfire and Carnival Society. A final decision will be made early next month.

Uckfield Town Council grants awards

See also:

Barnsgate tea room and restaurant could revert to being a house

Wealden Covid-19: key indicators all heading down

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