Wed | Aug 22, 2018

Full Ja Carnival return in 2017

Published:Friday | April 1, 2016 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Julianne Lee, president of Jamaica Carnival, addresses the gathering at the Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston, on Tuesday.
Superintendent of Police William Kessler (left); Alexander Lawson, director, Jamaica Carnival (second left); Catherine Goodall, marketing manager, iCool (second right); and Julianne Lee, president, Jamaica Carnival, at Tuesday’s relaunch of Jamaica Carnival at Courtleigh Hotel, New Kingston.
Trinidad's 5 Star Akil (right) at the launch of Jamaica Carnival with former Minister of State Damian Crawford (left), Kibwe McGann (right) and Natalie Korzon.

On Tuesday night at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston, Jamaica Carnival was relaunched after a seven-year hiatus. With the message of returning with a bang hot on the lips of organisers, those in attendance couldn't help but feel that the event started by the late great Byron Lee will be back in full force in 2017.

The soft launch served as a teaser, a preview of what is to come in January 2017 when Jamaica Carnival returns in full. According to Julianne Lee, director of Jamaica Carnival, her team decided to bring back the calendar event in honour of her late father, Byron Lee.

"Dad started this in 1990 and it grew and grew into something he was proud of, and that's what we want to bring back," she said. "We want to continue his legacy, and so, in 2017, we will be back in full force to take the carnival experience to a whole new level and pay tribute to Dad."

In keeping with the teaser theme, the Jamaica Carnival team has planned a promotional road march for Sunday, April 3. It is expected to get under way at 2 p.m. starting at the Liguanea Preparatory School, West Kings House Road, then on to Old Hope Road, Waterloo Road. East Kings House Road and Constant Spring Road, ending in Half-Way Tree.

Two music trucks will be on the route with the revellers, and veteran singers with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, Jumo and Oscar B will be a part of the energy building mechanism. Beenie Man will also be there, as well as Trinidadian soca artist 5 Star Akil. DJ Kurt Riley has been commissioned to be the resident deejay for the return of Jamaica Carnival and will be in charge of the musical juggling.

When asked why wait until now to answer calls for the return of Jamaica Carnival, Lee told the audience that at this point the timing is right.

"In 2008 when Dad died, we found it difficult to move on," she explained. "Over the years, people have been calling for its return, but we believe that now is the right time. This event is for the people and we want to give the people, what they want. The support for the return of the event is overwhelming, and it just goes to show that now is the perfect time."

The official launch for the 2017 Jamaica Carnival event will take place later this year, when the official schedule of events is expected to be revealed. In January 2017, Jamaica Carnival is expected to kick off with the usual blowout fÍte.