The change of the masqueraders’ route for Carnival in San Fernando ensured for the first time in many years there was a smooth flow of bands for the J’Ouvert celebrations.
There was no long waiting between bands for spectators gathered at the Harris Promenade judging point or the usual congestion at Cipero Street, which in previous years prevented many bands from reaching the judging point.
It was also the first time in years that at the 4 am start time that several bands were already on the parade route.
Last week, bandleaders had objected to the change the route and claimed it would lead to congestion and problems for music trucks to navigate.
At 5.28 am, D Pub J’Ouvert with their presentation of Radio Active was the first band to reach the promenade. At this point the national anthem was sung, a prayer for a clean, lawful and sunny Carnival was offered and Deputy Mayor of San Fernando Vidya Mungal-Bissessar officially opened the festivities.
Rushing out to centre stage to Iwer George’s Water Blessing, the masqueraders dressed in yellow and green T-shirts signalled a sign of things to come as many of the bands just portrayed variations of T-shirts.
Revellers from Jama Production followed and showed some creativity with their presentation of Jama-Daba-Doo, which parodied the old American animated sitcom, The Flintstones.
Rolling up, playing Machel Montano, Skinny Fabulous and Bunji Garlin’s Famalay, the band even made their own prehistoric car and had masqueraders dressed like the characters in the show.
Although Culture in Paint’s offering was pretty much white T-shirts stained with paint, they brought the vibes as they frolicked along to Kees Diefenthallar’s Savannah Grass, singing loudly as the song went along.
Poudre J’Ouvert introduced stardom to the mas with Farmer Nappy delivering a concert performance of his hits from on top a music truck.
From his popular Hookin Meh to Big People Party, Farmer Nappy had the masqueraders partying in fifth gear with heavy powder and confetti.
B Man and Lord Street Fusion was pure revelry. Police had to remove one enthusiastic masquerader who climbed onto a pillar of City Hall to showcase her wining abilities.
And while T-shirts seemed to be the order of the day, the band Hunters was a bit more provocative with their multi-coloured bathing suits. Defending champions Dev Barbershop, who had in their band, Tourism Minister Randall Mitchell, flooded the area with masqueraders for their presentation of Gold Member, a spoof of the Austin Powers movie with the same name.
La Romaine Super Vibes was the first steel band to play before the judges around 9.30 am and was followed by the Old Tech Steel Orchestra.
Although the San Fernando City Corporation only received $233,000 to run this year’s celebration as opposed to $400,000 in 2018, San Fernando Mayor Junia Regrello gave J’Ouvert a thumb’s up.
Regrello said the route was more family-oriented this year. He said spectators were fortunate to see Farmer Nappy performing and it shows that there is prominence in San Fernando and that the Carnival is growing in the city.
“I must say we are very impressed by what we saw so far. There are new trends developing with the J’Ouvert in San Fernando. There is a modern approach, very colourful, very pretty and well supported. The is one of the brightest and most colourful I’ve seen San Fernando in the last couple of years,” he said.
There were no major incidents, according to police.
Reporter: KEVON FELMINE