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Bacchanal Lost Kingdoms revealed - Guests blown away by elaborate balloon costume

Published:Monday | November 4, 2019 | 12:10 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer
The Inflated section of Bacchanal Lost Kingdoms, designed by Jacqueline ‘JakiJade’ Jackson.
The Inflated section of Bacchanal Lost Kingdoms, designed by Jacqueline ‘JakiJade’ Jackson.

With approximately 24 weeks left for Jamaica’s 2020 carnival road march, the veteran band Bacchanal Jamaica has led by example by being the first to host its launch. There are approximately nine main sections in the band, designed under the theme ‘Lost Kingdoms’ – Atlantis, Arcadia, Olympus, Camelot, El Dorado, Shangri-La, Summerland, Xanadu and Yayoi – all of which kept guests’ eyes peeled on the runway, set in the middle of Mas Camp, last Saturday.

The turnout was smaller than usual, but that was expected with Red Bull’s Culture Clash being held next door at the National Arena. Still, holding on to its tradition, Bacchanal Jamaica revealed the flamboyant costume collections at the stroke of midnight. This included other costumes designed by bands across the Caribbean, USA and Canada, such as Lavish Mas International, VIP Carnival, and Elite Mas.

It could not have been predicted in 2001, when Bacchanal exploded on to Jamaica’s carnival scene, that it would survive to celebrate two decades later, but according to its director, Michael Ammar Jr, with the island’s blossoming carnival industry, it could maintain the latitude it has over the years.

“Currently, we boast the hottest carnival product, and not just Bacchanal. Our industry has just evolved remarkably and we want to continue to secure our place in Jamaica’s carnival,” Ammar told The Gleaner.

Blown away

With regard to keeping up with the ever-changing carnival trends, he added that every year, his team makes an effort to include something different to add that shock value – this year it was a costume made with balloons for a section fittingly named ‘Inflated’.

Like all persons who attended the launch, “It is my first view of the costumes – elaborate in design. It is bound to be a fantastic presentation on carnival day. Everybody I have spoken to has been saying it is the best collection they have ever seen,” Ammar said.

“The balloon thing is somewhat of a gimmick and certainly added to the performance and costume reveal. If you see what designers do for the carnivals in places like Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; balloons are transformed into wearable hummingbirds, eagles … all sorts of things. I must say I am very happy with the launch.”

Gimmicks aside, designer and balloon artist Jacqueline Jackson expressed that balloons are a novelty and are used to provoke joy.

“The idea of wearing a balloon costume is exhilarating. Adding to that, the ones displayed at the launch are not even a quarter of what the costumes are. There are those that will be worn with an ‘Inflated’ T-shirt that persons marching with us can cut and do what they want with it, and other wearable balloons that you have to step into,” Jackson said.