The New Year’s Day Parade in London has evolved in to one of the World’s great street spectaculars with up to 10,000 performers from across continents, hundreds of thousands of spectators on the streets – and a live television audience of tens of millions.
But way back in the 20th Century in the event’s formative years – the parade was a relatively humble affair.
The first “Lord Mayor of Westminster’s Big Parade”, as it was then known, took place on 1st January 1987 and even though a lot smaller than today London had never seen anything quite like it.
It provided a feast of free entertainment for all the family on what had probably become the dreariest day of the year. Featuring hundreds of dancers and musicians from home and abroad, it put real American style razzmatazz onto the streets of London. It received such an overwhelming ‘thumbs up’ from Londoners, tourists and indeed also from the authorities, that it looked like it was here to stay.
Nearly 25 years on, the New Year’s Day Parade London is the biggest event of its kind in the world, boasts a street-side audience approaching 1/2 a million, receives a huge amount of international media coverage, has a list of Patrons that represent the very highest levels of officialdom, and also enjoys the recognition and support of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Put simply, the event has grown from something that started big to something that is now colossal.
Among the more notable landmark events and important changes are the following:
- The route has changed on a number of occasions – initially from one that incorporated North Carriage Drive in Hyde Park to the ‘commercial’ backdrop of Regent Street and Oxford Street, and thereafter to the most distinguished and indeed current route from Parliament Square to Piccadilly.
- In 1994 the event was renamed the London Parade, and, in a bid to increase the local participation, London’s Boroughs were all invited to join the proceedings.
- In 1996, in conjunction with the BBC, the parade made a world-record ‘biggest marching band‘ attempt.
- The Parade raises substantial funds each year for charity. Starting in 1997, we launched the Let’s Help London Appeal and Challenge – an initiative whereby Londoners are encouraged to participate in the creation of a Borough Entry in order to enable the Borough’s charities to benefit as much as possible from the fund raising activities.
- In the Millennium year , 2000, the event took the title of – The Millennium Parade, and then in 2001 became the name that continues today, The New Year’s Day Parade – London.
- The New Year’s Day Parade – London is now part of the London Parade Festival, which also comprises a series of concerts and other performances in and around London between Christmas and the New Year.
- 2006 saw the first live international treat A 3 hour T.V program hosted by Simon Bates was watched by 220 million people worldwide.
Details for the 2010 New Year’s Day Parade in London
- The Parade starts at 12 Noon on Piccadilly at the junction with Berkeley Street outside the Ritz Hotel and finishes around 3pm at Parliament Street.
- The Parade route is…Piccadilly, Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Waterloo Place, Pall Mall, Cockspur Street, Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Parliament Street.
- More than 10,000 performers representing 20 countries world-wide will assemble for the 2010 Parade.
- More than half a million are expected to cram London’s most famous streets to see the fantastic spectacular as it weaves its way along the 2 mile route.
- 3 hours of Live Satellite Coverage will be beamed around the world. Major broadcasters such as the BBC, CNN, Fox news, SKY and CBS are expected to cover the event.
- The 2010 Parade will be filled with marching bands, cheerleaders, clowns acrobats, baloons and much more!
- Stars of the show will be up to 33 stunning entries from each of the London Boroughs and the Capital’s two cities.