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  • Writer's pictureRomaine Brown

The Ultimate Experience: Carnival Season Review

Carnival in Jamaica, is arguably the best time of the year for most. Thousands of revelers, unlimited events, and constant vibes

Carnival season in Jamaica (Jamar Cleary, Kyro Smoke)

For many, it's considered the absolute best time of the year, as thousands of foreigners flock to the island for the renowned "Carnival Season". It’s almost impossible to attend all the events in the season but we were on hand for most of the festivities leading up to the Road March, Carnival Sunday.

The Hope Botanical Gardens in Saint Andrew featured a few of the events including "Soca Therapy", "Soca Camp" and the very popular "Daybreak Breakfast Party".

Soca Therapy was executed at the Hope Zoo section, with an electric performance from Nadia Batson who had to re-enter the stage after cries of encore from the patrons. Soca Camp; a collaboration with DJs/Promoters Marlon Musique, Matt Camps and GenXs was the only bring your-own bottle (BYOB) event of the season which was gladly welcomed by the patrons who were spotted with bottles of liquors of all types while being heavily supported by the females who vastly outnumbered the males.

Well-Known DJ, Bloodline Franco at Daybreak (Jamar Cleary)

One of the most anticipated events of the entire season has to be Daybreak which debuted on Carnival Friday, an official work day in Jamaica and even with the event timeframe of 9 am to 2 pm, that didn’t stop the thousands of patrons to flock to the all-white event. To the satisfaction of the patrons, the venue’s decor was amazing, the wide variety of choices from the food court was met with favorable comments and the DJs had the crowd in a frenzy from start to finish.

"Allure Cruise" executed by the Network (also promoters of Daybreak), sailed from Mahogany Beach in the heart of the Ocho Rios area with the catamaran filled to capacity. Patrons were treated with complimentary cocktails and a wide variety of food on the beach side Lyme before they entered. A fun-filled day-to-night cruise that shouldn’t be missed. The drinks-inclusive RUDE Carnival was also another welcoming site in the season with an amazing performance from Patrice Roberts who had the crowd singing and jumping throughout her entire set. The event was held at 36 Old Hope Road which offered seamless parking and a nicely decored venue.

Two of the big winners from the season has to be "Night Carnival" and the fans favorite, "I Love Soca". Night carnival was executed at the Waterfront, Downtown Kingston with thousands of revealers flocking to the event especially to witness and take part in their mini Road March which saw the event having multiple carnival trucks of their own circling the downtown area with the patrons marching along from start to finish.

Kes The Band performing in "I Love Soca" (Jamar Cleary)

Busy Signal, welcomed on stage by Kes The Band (Jamar Cleary)

I Love Soca; arguably one of the biggest events in Jamaica saw the biggest support out of all the events in the season in terms of patronage. Executed at the Uwi Mona Bowl the event was as usual a huge hit among its die-hearted patrons who follow this event anywhere in the island. With its massive setup and cooler-friendly concept, it’s always a consistently welcomed brand and featured performances from Laa Lee and soca artistes; Iwer George and KesThe Band.

In the middle of the carnival, week entered newcomers, Illuminate on Wednesday night executed by the I Love Soca team alongside Franco Bloodline & Brush1. A well-executed event with arguably the best quality memorabilia offered to its patrons. The branded cups were definitely a huge hit and were repeatedly seen with patrons throughout the remaining days of the season. They also had their own carnival truck which drove around the huge Waterfront venue with patrons marching alongside.

Soca Nawmal held at Mas Camp in Kingston carried the only Dancehall vs Soca theme of the season and even though it featured popular soca DJ Oso City whose set was a huge success, it also featured the likes of Coppershot, Shukkle Bus and DJ Scrappy who all played their part in satisfying the obviously more dancehall oriented crowd.

From Left to Right: Ding Dong, Skinny Fabulous, Laa Lee and Aidonia (Jamar Cleary, Kyro Smoke)

The day everyone has been waiting on finally arrived; Carnival Sunday, April 16 with thousands of revealers flocking to the Yardmas Carnival band. Multiple celebrities were also spotted on the numerous trucks in the band; including Ding Dong, Laa Lee, Chi Ching Ching, Valiant and Aidonia. The hospitality provided by the Yardmas team was commendable with food and a continuous flow of beverages & snacks provided throughout the entire day.

If you thought that was the end, then you would have been wrong. The Yardmas team in association with Campari Caribbean offered the Beach Fete event the following day at Fort Clarence Beach, Portmore. This officially brought the season to a close with performances from soca singers Iwer George & Skinny Fabulous as well as the legendary Bounty Killer who officially closed off the event and the season. Beach Fete was offered completely free to all the Yardmas Revelers.

Bounty Killer, officially closed the Carnival Season (Jamar Cleary)


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