London - One of the most famous community Christmas carol events in London has been canceled due to concerns over public safety after it went viral on TikTok and thousands of people showed up to belt out holiday tunes.
Every Wednesday in December for the last decade, Londoners have gathered near the Columbia Road Flower Market to sing Christmas carols together, sip on mulled wine and visit neighborhood shops. A local church piano would be wheeled outside, and an archdeacon would lead a crowd of a couple hundred people in songs like "We Three Kings" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
This year, videos of one of the December gatherings went viral on TikTok, and 10 times the normal number of people showed up to sing, jamming the streets and sparking safety concerns.
"How is this event enjoyable?" one attendee said on social media, sharing images of crowds stretching as far as the eye can see. "Massively overcrowded, no way of getting into any shops, let alone get a cup of mulled wine…this is everything but festive. You should have implemented crowd control… Disaster waiting to happen with this many people!"
The church that runs the event, St. Peter's Bethnal Green, put out a statement announcing the cancellation of the rest of the December gatherings.
"The crowds of over 7,000 present last week were of such volume on the road that there was a danger to public safety," the Rev. Heather Atkinson said. "We are grateful to God and to those working at the event that there were no serious injuries."
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