A colourful Beach J'ouvert ... Event filled with fun, paint, performances
Garfene Grandison, Gleaner Writer
Another year has come and gone and left carnival enthusiasts wanting even more. Saturday night at the James Bond Beach in Oracabessa St Mary, patrons were treated to yet another staging of the highly anticipated Smirnoff Beach J'ouvert.
Patrons were out for the 2 p.m. start and were ready to 'get on bad' quite early.
Most patrons were excited about the performance of soca star Destra Garcia, who was performing for the second time in Jamaica since giving birth last February.
Patrons were treated to a wide array of liquors courtesy of title sponsor Smirnoff. According to Marsha Lumley Brand Manager for Smirnoff, "Smirnoff Beach J'ouvert 2011 was a blast. Destra gave an awesome performance. There was a lot of colour, life and energy. It was a memorable moment and Smirnoff loves to celebrate memorable moments."
All the offerings were well enjoyed by the patrons, although there was a slight scale back from last year where there was a syrup pit accompanied by the Matterhorn foam pit and the Digicel water showers. However, there were barely any complaints as the patrons slowly built up the momentum to the arrival of the paint. What colours would there be this year you may ask? There were just yellow and blue paint to the dismay of many patrons who compared this year to the previous. Nevertheless, that became an after thought as patrons became entrenched in the carnival frenzy and began splashing paint all over one another.
Some onlookers who wanted to stay clear of the paint, were housed in a no-paint section of the compound as they observed the onslaught of 'painting attacks' that took place.
Later, J'ouvert host and Digicel brand ambassador for the evening Bambino announced that the sun was down so it was now time to party, and the entire venue was all set. With the likes of party animal Kurt Riley at the turntables, the packed venue began to 'wuk it up' to the latest soca hits. Bambino did a good job of keeping the audience entertained with his theatrics and vibe in preparation for the arrival of Destra.
It was now after 7 p.m., and the patrons were ready to see the queen. Backup dancers in tow, Destra Garcia took to the stage and commenced a highly energetic routine. Full of jumps, waves, and hip gyrations, she had the audience eating out of the palm of her hands. She started off with a few new hits such as Cool It Down and went off into her older song selections but still infusing a few new songs here and there.
One of the highlights of her performance for the night occurred when she invited both male and female patrons on stage for a dancing competition. She asked for small, medium and large built women to showcase their dancing skills and the patrons thoroughly enjoyed the performances.
After that, Destra invited fellow soca artiste DC to perform a new single. Destra then disappeared for a few seconds while DC engaged the audience but she quickly returned and picked up where she left off. She continued to churn out her old hits and the patrons sang along with every note.
Now almost 10 p.m., (the scheduled cut off time for the event), patrons began to make their way to the exit in an effort to beat the traffic. However, some socaphiles stayed glued to the front of the stage until Destra finished her performance and left the stage.
Compared to last year and previous years, what should be commended was the smooth flow of traffic leading out of the venue at the end of the event. Next stop, Bacchanal J'ouvert at the Mas Camp on Friday.
Photos by Winston Sill/ Freelance Photographer