Free festival to honour Quamari Serunkuma Barnes postponed – because council says Capital City Academy is too small

More than 1,000 people gathered outside Quamari's school in the wake of his death last year - the sa

More than 1,000 people gathered outside Quamari's school in the wake of his death last year - the same venue his family had planned to use for a community festival. Picture: Angela Blake - Credit: Archant

An anti-knife crime festival in honour of a popular teenager stabbed to death in Willesden has been called off – because too many people wanted to go.

Quamari

Quamari - Credit: Archant

The parents of Quamari Serunkuma Barnes have postponed the Quamari One Love Festival Memorial Festival, which was due to take place on April 8 – the eve of what would have been his 17th birthday.

Quamari died in hospital after being stabbed on January 23 last year outside the Capital City Academy in Doyle Gardens, where he was a pupil.

The festival was due to take place at the school but his parents must now find another venue following discussions with the council.

Lilian Serunkuma, his mother, said: “Due to health and safety and after discussions with Brent, we have decided to postpone the event and are working in line with regulations in order to facilitate numbers with safety in mind.

Quamari

Quamari - Credit: Archant

“We are in agreement with Brent that the expected numbers of attendees might be higher than initially expected.

“Therefore, to ensure measures are in place, a recommendation of change of venue has been made, which we agree.

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“We are very grateful for the support from the community and Kilburn Times, and want to make sure that the event has the right outcome in terms of the message: ‘The fight against knife crime.’”

Quamari’s father Paul Barnes organised the festival to pay tribute to his son and raise awareness of knife crime.

A flyer for the now-cancelled festival. Picture: Paul Barnes

A flyer for the now-cancelled festival. Picture: Paul Barnes - Credit: Archant

He had lined up a number of local musicians, performers and dancers, a bouncy castle, games and giveaway prizes.

Speakers, including parents who have also lost children to knife crime, were also booked.

Paul told the Times last week: “I’m still stunned by what happened to Quamari Organising this festival has helped.”

A Brent spokeswoman said the event application was for 499 people, but more than 2.000 well-wishers were expected.

This “raised concerns” people would be refused entry due to the capacity of the school.

She added: “We have advised a bigger venue and suggested the family attend the council’s borough safety advisory group where we can offer support to ensure a safe event takes place.”

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