Dinosaurs and samba bands to perform in scaled-down New Years parade return

Dinosaur samba groups and chart-topping singers prepare to strut the streets of central London for a reduced return from the New Years Parade.

Voice UK winner Molly Hocking, independent musician Michael Armstrong and West End star Marisha Wallace will entertain a live audience at the event at Waterloo Place, which will also be broadcast live, from 1pm.

After being canceled last year due to coronavirus restrictions, the parade, which previously saw more than 600,000 people flooding the city center, will be chargeable and limited to 600 spectators.

Performers representing 22 countries and the 32 boroughs of London will take the stage just south of the Thames rather than parading along the usual West End route between Piccadilly and Whitehall.

Performers in the 2020 New Years Parade (Victoria Jones / PA).

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They include the samba reggae group Bloco Fogo, the City of London Brass Band and dancers from Stormtrooper Boogie Storm, as well as lions, dragons and drummers from the London Chinatown Chinese Association, as well as dinosaurs and monsters created by the designers of Creature Events.

Parade executive director Bob Bone said the event will be “very, very different” this year because of the coronavirus.

He told Sky News: “We’re really a TV show this year with a live audience.

“The audience has all the tickets and it’s full, it’s been a while, so don’t try to get in – but watch it on TV, it comes out at 1pm.

“We have loads of regular attendees at the shows in the arenas this year – marching bands, samba dancers, people from the Carnaval del Pueblo, with all Latin American countries represented.

“We took the advantage that we have this year of having a static arena based show by also building a stage in our arena so that we can bring in some very talented singers and dancers etc.”

Participants in the 2017 New Years Parade hold an inflatable caricature of the Lord Mayor of London (Jonathan Brady / PA)

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He added: “We’re pretty sure it’s going to be a very, very exciting and hopefully successful event.”

Mr Bone said that every year London boroughs compete for charity prizes and the event has raised ‘the best part of £ 2million’ for local charities in the capital over the years.

The New Years Parade in London was launched in 1987 and attendance peaked in 2020 when around 650,000 spectators took to the streets.

This year, viewers can watch the parade on the live London streaming service or through the parade website.