Friday, September 7, 2007

WE Culture - Trinidad Carnival 2008 …. Are you ready?

by Antoinette Ifill

(Island People 2K8 Costume - Photo by Kwesi Marcano)

It seems insane to be thinking about Trinidad Carnival 2008 only 5 months after Carnival 2007, but the band launches have started in Trinidad with so much gusto that one would think Carnival is mere weeks away! In fact Carnival 2008 culminates on February 4th and 5th, fairly early in the year. This might be the reason why the big bands scheduled the showing of their costumes and opened Mas Camps at the end of July. Die hard masqueraders and potential first timers thinking of experiencing Trinidad’s Carnival next year should be prepared to keep up with this frenetic pace as Carnival 2008 is shaping up to be one of the biggest ever.

Kicking off the Carnival 2008 season was big band TRIBE with their 2008 Carnival presentation “Myths and Magic”. It was a launch of aptly mythical proportions, drawing thousands of patrons to Pier 1 where fanciful and whimsical costumes with names such as “Autumn Sprite” and “Pixie Dust” were revealed to a waiting public.

Following on the heels of TRIBE, Harts opened their mas camp on July 30th to such a demand huge for registration that one section was completely sold out by July 31st! Carnival 2008 will see the debut of several new bands, among them Ronnie and Caro, formerly a section of the band Legacy. They started the month of August with the launch of their 2008 offering “De Gulf”. Right behind them was the launch of another new band called “D Krewe” which will bring to the streets of Port of Spain their interpretation of “Love Is…” through the mas.

As I get ready to explore my wild side when Island People presents their highly anticipated 2008 Carnival production “Animal Instincts” on August 18th , the magnitude of this phenomenon of Trinidad Carnival hits me! With Carnival bands such as, Trini Revellers, Legacy, Genesis, and Mc Farlane still to reveal their designs for the 2008 season I anticipate a plethora of costumes to dazzle the eyes and feed the senses between now and November! In addition to these Carnival stalwarts, Dream Team, Pulse 8 and Image Nation, bands which enjoyed their inaugural year in 2007, will again be making a foray into mas for 2008. Carnival bands Oracle and Taboo, which are creating quite a stir in Trinidad with promises of costumes that shirk the conventional norm, are still to be unveiled.

Subsequent to all these bands launching in Trinidad comes the time to register for costumes; seasoned masqueraders know how important it is to ensure a spot in your favorite band in a costume of your choice. And if you think attending a band launch in July is outrageous how about making a deposit on your costume for 2008 in August?

Trinidad Carnival has undoubtedly become a legendary event and if one wants to be part of it for 2008, now is the time to start getting ready for the mas! Popular hotel and guest houses in Trinidad are already booked solid, savvy travelers have been snapping up cheap fares to Port of Spain and most importantly, masqueraders have their costume deposit in hand.

The popularity of Trinidad’s Carnival, fueled by the growing emergence of similar International celebrations worldwide, draws an increasing number of visitors to the island festival each year. If the number of band launchings taking place in Trinidad is any indication, masqueraders will not lack for choice in 2008!

So the question remains; are you ready for mas again?!

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