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Fewer bands in south parade

Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Masqueraders from the band South Colours are assisted after they were caught by a security rope and dragged on the road during J’Ouvert celebrations, yesterday. Photo by:Rishi Ragoonath

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With many stakeholders cutting back on funds this Carnival, there were 11 fewer modern bands participating in this year’s J’Ouvert celebrations in San Fernando.

Despite the low number, there were thousands of masqueraders flooding the streets with the popular crews. Absent were many of the small bands which usually have a capacity of 20 to 50 members.

There were 32 bands in 2017 as opposed to 21 this year, but bands like Dev’s Barbershop and Limerz Krew could not fit in front of the judges’ tent all at once.

The judging point itself was significantly smaller this year as it was moved to the San Fernando West Constituency Office along Independence Avenue. In years gone by, the Rienzi Kirton Highway at the front of the Southern Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA) was the stage for masqueraders. San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello said that set up at (SAPA) was too expensive for their reduced 2018 budget.

Despite the changes, he said Carnival in San Fernando was “very alive.”

“There are several bands around, it’s full of activities and I’m happy and excited by what I see this morning. We seem to have a lot of people in San Fernando. A lot of people from the rural areas are coming into San Fernando to participate, to enjoy and to spectate. We have to do some more planning to accommodate this crowd but we’re doing well,” Regrello said.

There were some interesting themes chosen by some of the bands, including Generation of Gold’s Emoji Land which was all about the happy symbols used on social media.

Friends of Atherly, featuring former San Fernando mayor Ian Atherly promoted togetherness with their presentation of Pirates of Love.

While the fun was evident, there were some mishaps such as fights along the crowded Cipero Streets, where many of the bands got stuck. Four masqueraders of South Colours were spared severe injuries when they were caught by a security rope and dragged on the road while the music truck it was attached to drove off.

Shal Marshall’s Splinters, Machel Montano’s Soca Kingdom and Showtime and Patrice Roberts’ Sweet Fuh Days dominated the J’Ouvert celebration in San Fernando.


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