Carnival spreads - Additional events expand soca options
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
While Bacchanal Jamaica events are staples of the carnival period, several promoters have been adding their productions to the soca season.
Andrew Bellamy said, "My decision to host carnival events comes from a genuine love for soca music and the positive energies it creates. I have been an event planner for approximately 10 years and a lot of evolution has taken place, both individually for me and also within the industry."
Bellamy says he is part of three eccentric carnival groups - Sunnation, I Love Soca Jamaica, and Island Vibes. Sunnation does SUNrise Breakfast Party, SUNdown Cooler Fete, SUNset Cocoa J'Ouvert and the Tabanca Tuesdays series. I Love Soca Ja has been hosting I LOVE SOCA 'Cooler Fete' for over five years on Wednesday during Carnival Week. Bellamy says the water party has grown into an EDM soca fete called GLOW.
He explained that the events are usually well attended, but they are not intended to compete with the more established Bacchanal parties.
"I believe in growing carnival in Jamaica. I have been doing this year in year out through bringing new, unique and, most importantly, fun events to the table. Nothing much can be achieved through unnecessarily competing with such an established product," Bellamy said.
Chad Williams, one of the promoters of Karnival Countdown, shared a similar view. "We are not trying to step on anybody's toes. We are just trying to improve the overall experience of patrons," Williams said.
He added that one of the things Karnival Countdown will do when it starts at Mahogany Bar, Devon House, on February 5 is "show that carnival is not just a two-week thing, it is a season." Williams said that for many years, enthusiasts in Jamaica have got a few weeks of soca, while in other countries, parties are held for months leading up to the big carnival week. Williams noted that Jamaicans are also becoming more open to music from other Caribbean countries.
Marlon Carr, promoter of S - The Official 2015 Carnival Series, says his event will start on January 31, before the Jamaican carnival season begins. "We kick off before then, so it will give the patrons a chance to learn the 2015 songs and, at the same time, give them a good party experience," Carr told The Gleaner.
He, too, stressed that promoters of the newer soca events are not competing directly with Bacchanal. Instead, Carr said, "Each event has it's own following. We support each other, it is not a competition thing."