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Norwich street celebration to end as event becomes ‘impossible’ to stage - but could be ‘reborn’

PUBLISHED: 11:45 25 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:52 25 July 2018

Dancing under the flyover at the Magdalen Street Celebration. Photo: Bill Smith

Dancing under the flyover at the Magdalen Street Celebration. Photo: Bill Smith

Archant © 2014

The end of the Magdalen Street Celebration has been confirmed this morning as the event is now being formally wound up.

Johnny Jump band playing at Anglia Square during the Magdalen Street celebration.  Photo: Bill SmithJohnny Jump band playing at Anglia Square during the Magdalen Street celebration. Photo: Bill Smith

A staple of the calendar for the community around Magdalen Street, the event launched in 2010 in and around the flyover and Anglia Square, and was held every October for six years.

But with the prospect of demolition and redevelopment of the area around Anglia Square, organisers last year said the event had become “impossible to run”.

The 2017 event was cancelled with hopes it would return this year.

Magdalen Street Celebration. Taiko drumming under the flyover.Photo: Steve AdamsMagdalen Street Celebration. Taiko drumming under the flyover.Photo: Steve Adams

But it has now been confirmed the event will end, as organisers said its “spirit lives on”.

Former treasurer Stuart McLaren said: “The reasons are varied and complex but the main one was the two main areas where we staged the events really became impossible to use.

“Under the flyover was boarded up for most of last year while the council carried out maintenance. The other main area is Anglia Square where we have put on music and stalls.

“Last year the management there said because of the redevelopment plans they couldn’t really guarantee it would be available. Shortly after the Manchester bombing management told us they would need a full evacuation plan, a list of items of equipment and names, addresses and car registrations of every steward and performer. When you have choirs of 50 members which change all the time, it is simply impossible to provide that level of information.”

Magdalen Street Celebration. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLYMagdalen Street Celebration. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

He added as the event grew the council had concerns of a bottleneck of people spilling onto the road, and by moving the stage back had to absorb the cost of hiring a generator.

“It was not sustainable,” he said.

But Mr McLaren added the “ethos will continue”, as the old committee will advise a new group of creatives named Angrier Square with similar events in the area.

“They want to run a creative festival in the area, and they remind us of what we were like when we started in 2010,” he said. “We are offering them our advice and support, and they seem to have all the enthusiasm we had when we started.

“They are planning to run music events over the summer with a festival and art exhibitions planned.

“It is like the Magdalen Street Celebration reborn.”

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