Cambridge Carnival Cancellation Follow-up Statement

I wanted to provide you with an update regarding the cancellation of this year’s Cambridge Carnival. The Police Commissioner and I believe that the annual Carnival is an important celebration of both Cambridge’s rich Caribbean heritage and Cambridge’s cultural diversity.  

Since becoming City Manager, I have attended the Cambridge Carnival each year, and I have witnessed the cultural richness of this event.  I want to be clear that I support the Cambridge Carnival and will continue to support this event moving forward.  The joint decision to cancel this year’s event was based on the recommendation of the Cambridge Police Commissioner and followed conversations between the Police Commissioner and Cambridge Carnival President Nicola A. Williams. Prior to cancelling the event, the Police Commissioner discussed his significant concerns with and credible information about the threat of potential gun violence during this year’s event.  The safety of the Cambridge community and its visitors are our top priority, and based on current information, the Police Commissioner does not believe that this event can safely occur this year.

I appreciate the disappointment people have expressed regarding the cancellation of this year’s Cambridge Carnival. I listened to the speeches given during a rally at City Hall, and the Police Commissioner has shared and discussed with me the concerns and suggestions raised during the community meeting held at the Union Baptist Church, including the expressed desire to hold the event on the rain date. However, based on the recommendation of the Police Commissioner, the City will not support an outdoor Cambridge Carnival this year due to the significant public safety concerns that the Cambridge Police Department has expressed. While we support, and will continue to support the Cambridge Carnival, the City will not put the safety of our residents, parade participants, and spectators at risk when we have credible information indicating a specific event should not occur. 

Before jointly announcing the cancellation on August 30, Nicola Williams discussed with the Police Commissioner holding an indoor cultural celebration in place of this year’s outdoor event, and at the time we informed her that we supported this approach.  We remain supportive of such an event and look forward to jointly planning with the Cambridge Carnival Committee an indoor cultural event. 

Finally, the City will continue to work with the Cambridge Carnival Committee in planning for the 2020 Cambridge Carnival. 

Louis A. DePasquale
Cambridge City Manager


September 03, 2019 Statement:

Over the last five days, the City Manager and Police Commissioner have heard from members of the community who have expressed concerns and disappointment that this year’s Cambridge Carnival has been cancelled. The decision to cancel the event, which followed extensive conversations between the City Manager’s Office and the Police Commissioner, was not made lightly and primarily based on credible information received concerning the potential for serious gun violence at this year’s Cambridge Carnival. Based on the recommendation of Cambridge Police Commissioner Branville G. Bard, Jr., the Cambridge Carnival Committee and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale agreed to cancel this year’s Cambridge Carnival.

This annual event is deeply important to the Caribbean community and Cambridge’s multicultural landscape. As a result, the City understands and shares the community’s disappointment. However, both the Cambridge Carnival Committee and the City place the safety of the Cambridge community and those planning to participate in this event or any Cambridge event as its highest priority when making difficult decisions like this.

The City’s support for the event will continue into the future – as it has over its 26-year history -- and we are looking forward to participating in the planning for the 2020 Cambridge Carnival.  While this year’s Cambridge Carnival will not take place, the City’s commitment to the event has not wavered. 

As with any event in our city, as long as the safety of residents, visitors and participants is not compromised, we will always welcome and support important cultural and community events like the Cambridge Carnival.

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Page was posted on 9/3/2019 8:57 PM
Page was last modified on 9/9/2019 8:58 PM
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