Bacchanal Ja goes Greek with Invictus - No Frenchmen band in Road Parade 2019
In spite of last year's mishaps, in 2019, Bacchanal Jamaica will celebrate their 20th year on the road in the spirit of the undefeated. Last Saturday night, the veteran band declared themselves unconquerable as they moved from their Mas Camp home base, taking over the lawns of Hope Zoo, St Andrew, under the theme 'Invictus Conquer Life' to introduce numerous brand-new sections, each providing at least three costume choices.
Though Bacchanal turned out with a plethora of Greek-inspired options for revellers, so far, an anomalous section has outshone the rest. Old Latin terminology, stone-and-column decor, hostesses crowned with golden branches, and men dressed like Spartans impressed that socaphiles were in for a war-like, historical treat. However, the inspirations turned out to be much more mythical than that.
Rather than familiar legends like the conquering Alexander the Great, the tragic, war-inducing romance of Helen of Troy, or the fateful battle between Perseus and Medusa, Invictus' designers invoked archaic Grecian gods and goddesses. Even so, the costume that pulled the biggest reaction were actually inspired by an Egyptian conqueror.
At 12:30 am, the stage opened with a fanfare of theatrical, ominous music. Two Spartan soldiers marched on as ominously as their soundtrack, wielding swords and shields emblazoned with the theme. As they retreated, the God and Goddess of War, Mars and Bellona respectively, made their way to the stage. To a soundtrack by hip-hop star Drake, the would-be vicious figures presented happy plumes of pink and green.
The war gods were followed by Electryo, Goddess of the Sun - complete with sun-ray feathers - and Bacchus, God of Wine. Here, designers missed a shining opportunity to incorporate wine-red fittings or grapevines for accessories. Bacchus' helmet flew from his head as soon as he gyrated on Electryo, a gaffe the band house will be sure to address in time for Road Parade day.
The costume parade continued with displays from Salacia and Neptune, goddess and god of the sea respectively; Aphrodite and Venus, goddesses of love; Felicitas, goddess of joy; Gaea, Goddess of Earth; Diane, goddess of the moon; Apollo, god of the sun; and Amazon, a section that displayed five costume options, including males.
Then there was Queen Cleopatra. "I think I like the Xaymaca costumes better, but I really like Queen Cleopatra," one patron, (who chose to remain anonymous), told The Gleaner. Most other enquiries elicited similar responses, while others decided to withhold comments until the photos hit social media.
The well-known, strongly supported Frenchmen band was absent. The Gleaner learned that the popular brand will not be participating in next year's Road Parade with Bacchanal or any other band. Frenchmen will, however, remain on the scene with their usual event and throughout the season.
In addition to the Greek gods and goddess, revellers were also shown 'Monday wear' options, including leotards with feathered collars, mesh-midriff tops, and a T-shirt section.