Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
Last year, there were uncertainties about the venue, but for the upcoming staging of Bacchanal Jamaica, things have been sailing along much more smoothly.
The organisers of the event found a new home for their 2012 staging at the New Mas Camp, located at Stadium North in St Andrew. The move came after Mas Camp on Oxford Road in New Kingston closed its doors in November 2011 to make way for a new property, the Sandals/ATL Group.
Although the closure had been pending for several years, it still came as a surprise to Bacchanal Jamaica director Michael Ammar Jr.
"Last year, we thought we had old Mas Camp at the end of October. We had to find a new location and build from scratch. What we will be spending the time on this year is improving our existing facility. It is going to be a lot simpler, not construction, it's art," he told The Gleaner.
Ammar said there would be changes in the layout of the venue with focus on the costume area, vendor booths, upstairs decks, bathroom facilities, and flooring.
"Last year, I think we got it 95 per cent right. This year, we are putting the cherry on top to make it 100 per cent," Ammar said.
He also noted that the preparations were very advanced and the website was scheduled to be launched on Friday.
"It is the 25th anniversary of carnival in Jamaica, so it's going to be a very big year for us," he said, noting that the 2013 season would be staged under the theme 'Le Masquerade'.
For the season that would be launched in January, he said revellers would also get a taste of earlier stagings of the event as they celebrate the 25 years.
"We will go right back to see photos and videos from year one. It has come a long way in the 25 years. People that follow carnival will appreciate that a lot. We want to give them an idea of where it is coming from, the twists and turns that it has taken," Ammar said.
As it relates to the theme, he said an effort was made to select one that had never been used before.
"Because it's the 25th anniversary, we wanted a theme that was different. In researching carnivals all over, we realised that carnivals started as masquerade balls," he said.
Ammar told The Gleaner, "The sections in the band represent different masquerades all over the world." He added that the weekly events would also depict the theme.
Because it is the 25th anniversary, Ammar said a special effort would be made to make this the best staging ever.
"The costumes are nicer than any I have ever seen. This year, the designs are fantastic; they reflect the theme perfectly. I don't know how we are going to top 'Future Shock', but we are certainly going to try," he said, adding that the first event in the season would be held on February 15.
But all is not rosy with the economy, and Ammar believes this might be a challenge.
"I think the economy is going to be a challenge, but I think we are already way down the road. The prices will be similar (to 2012) despite the slide in the dollar," he said.