It’s Cur­tains Down on de Bac­cha­nal Sea­son

The Star (St. Lucia) - Life Begins 2 Nite - - FRONT PAGE - By: Faye-Chantelle Mon­de­sir

The Car­ni­val sea­son was noth­ing short of fan­tas­tic and thrilling this year, with an ex­u­ber­ant parade of flair, ex­trav­a­ganza and of course vi­brant colour. Mon­day and Tues­day’s cel­e­bra­tions were sim­i­lar to those of former years, but this year’s fes­tiv­i­ties were iced with a dopple more of ex­cite­ment and tons more ac­tiv­ity. Shows and ran­dom events were staged is­land wide with two or three ma­jor party shindigs some­times be­ing held all in one night. One thing’s for cer­tain, re­li­gious revel­ers were left noth­ing short of fully sat­is­fied!

The party fever caught on right af­ter the Saint Lu­cia Jazz Fes­ti­val and con­tin­ued right through till the cli­max of the two-day car­ni­val parade of the bands. It has been an an­nual rit­ual for tourists world­wide to travel to the is­land in pur­suit of per­fect plea­sure and some good ole’ fun in the sun and this year too, the rit­ual re­mained in ef­fect. Though spo­radic show­ers seemed to have threat­ened to sabotage the fes­tiv­i­ties, the ded­i­cated and loyal revel­ers were un­daunt­ing and showed up in full force to rep­re­sent for their re­spec­tive bands, play­ing true Lucian mass on the road.

Fol­low­ing the usual car­ni­val prepa­ra­tions over re­cent months with band and pan re­hearsals, and of course the busy be­hind the scenes mass camp prepa­ra­tions, the much an­tic­i­pated events fi­nally ar­rived in the form of the National Car­ni­val Queen Pageant, National Car­ni­val Ca­lypso Com­pe­ti­tion, King and Queen of the Bands Com­pe­ti­tions, the Soca Monarch com­pe­ti­tion, Ju­nior Car­ni­val and the Panorama Steel Band Com­pe­ti­tion. The cli­maxes of the sea­son were the tra­di­tional Jour Ou­vert (J'Ou­vert) jump up, Parade of the Bands and the Ol’ Mass Parade, with a hu­mor­ous por­trayal of cre­atively de­signed cos­tumes. This year’s Parade of the Bands took place on July 18th and 19th and kicked off at the Choc Round­about and from there revel­ers frol­icked towards the Cas­tries City cen­ter un­til evening time.

Fol­low­ing an­other suc­cess­ful Groovy and Power Soca Monarch com­pe­ti­tion, Jour Ou­vert morn­ing was the be­gin­ning of the real car­ni­val fun, as is­lan­ders from far and wide as­sem­bled in the down­town Cas­tries in the early morn­ing of July 18th. Jour Ou­vert is usu­ally a care­free fun af­fair in which the city of Cas­tries is trans­formed into the big­gest street party, urged on by mu­sic and danc­ing be­ing pumped into the morn­ing from the big trucks.

This year the event was well at­tended with peo­ple from all walks of life pa­tron­iz­ing with in their t-shirt band sec­tions, some com­ing as they wished, while oth­ers wore cus­tom-made cre­ative cos­tumes. The parade saw VIP treat­ment be­ing made avail­able to rev­ellers with branded food and drink trucks to keep band mem­bers well fed and sat­is­fied while on the road.

A wel­comed touch was the cool-down sta­tion set up at the in­ter­sec­tion be­tween JJ’S Bar and Su­per J’s on the Cas­tries wa­ter­front, where over­heated mass play­ers would pause to be re­freshed by the cool steam which con­stantly pumped, seem­ingly beck­on­ing all who were near­ing its prox­im­ity. Then there were the many sights and sounds to be­hold with bands rep­re­sent­ing from Mar­tinique and Trinidad and Tobago adding exclusive flavour with their dis­tinct por­tray­als. On look­ing crowds seemed to be both hu­moured and fas­ci­nated by the ol’ mass play­ers who pa­raded and show­cased their makeshift cos­tumes sym­bol­iz­ing po­lit­i­cal and so­cial is­sues, with a bit of won­der­ful satire.

While a wide ar­ray of cos­tumes was on show, the de­bates con­tinue about whether or not they were too re­veal­ing, with some on­look­ers sug­gest­ing that fe­male revel­ers seemed to have borne it all in their thonged bot­toms and barely-there cos­tumed tops. Then again one would rea­son that it’s all in the spirit of Lucian Car­ni­val, right?

On Car­ni­val Tues­day, wind­ing down the heated events, bands pa­raded through the streets of Cas­tries and then on to Min­doo Phillip Park to be judged. The Car­ni­val show­down cli­maxed with the Tribe of Twel Car­rni­val Band emerg­ing as the Band of the Year ti­tle­holder. The grand se­ries of fes­tiv­i­ties cul­mi­nated with ev­ery­one en­joy­ing their ‘last Lap’ through the city streets. Post Car­ni­val events such as Mass At­tack and boat rides such as Tide Up, marked the cur­tains com­ing down on Car­ni­val sea­son 2K16.

... Ac­cord­ing to him, Bel­rose full of balls! Scratch to win?... maybe next time.

If you weren't here you missed out.

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