Yesterday the 100-day countdown to Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival began. As I changed out of my street clothes and into my regular workout gear at the gym, I overheard the utterances of some fellow gym-goers. They knew the 100-day countdown was on, and they were getting their bodies prepared.
But even with only 100 days left until Bahamians and visitors take to the streets of New Providence for the fourth Bahamian carnival, several things remain outstanding.
Firstly, only one band has had an official launch event and presented its costumes. Last weekend, Euphoria Madness took over Margaritaville on Paradise Island to show-off its carnival costumes to the general public for the first time.
We have yet to see launch events from the big two bands — Bahamas Masqueraders and Enigma. But an ad in The Nassau Guardian yesterday revealed that their official launch events are both to be held next month. Bahamas Masqueraders plans to launch on February 23 and Enigma on February 24. The smaller band, Xtasy, has planned its launch event for days before the big two, on February 3.
The other thing that is missing is that there has been no real buy-in from government, and that has lots of people worried. But it shouldn’t. The show will go on.
The carnival bands have vowed to gain permission for the road, and we will chip down the streets as we have done for the past three years.
The Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival has received rave reviews from visitors and soca artists who have come to perform. As one of the newest carnivals on the global carnival circuit, that is something to be proud of. But with the government leaving the concert segment completely up to the private sector this year, it is yet to be seen how it will stand up to the multimillion-dollar productions of previous years, the productions that left the country with a “hangover” in its pockets, costing almost $30 million over three years.
The Free National Movement (FNM) government has vowed not to throw any money behind Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival 2018. But that is okay!
Carnival 2018 is sure to see the spawning of fetes in lieu of three days of concerts. The carnival could become a something-for-everyone-type of atmosphere across New Providence, instead of the tailored concerts in a “cultural village”.
It should have been expected that the government could not continue to hemorrhage millions to sustain Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. Now, it will organically take on a life of its own. And it seems the private sector will have to take on the entire business of Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival if it is to continue as an annual festival. The question is will it grow?
Blue Monkey’s Bahamas Carnival Cruise continues to grow, if that’s any indicator of the interest Americans have in coming to The Bahamas for Carnival.
Come what may, we will bring them to the starting line, turn the music up, fill their cups and show them the time of their lives. So hit the gym, guys and gals – we have lots of work to do.
For articles like this and more, Pick up A copy of The Nassau Guardian.