Nassau, New Providence – A Grand Bahama contingent, over
250- strong, did its island proud in the historic inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo
Carnival which spanned over a three-day period in New Providence.
The Bahamas rolled out the red carpet for its
residents and visitors May 7-9 to show off its unique culture, called Junkanoo,
warm hospitality, arts and crafts and signature dishes.
The impressive display was staged at Arawak
Cay, which was transformed into ‘Da Cultural Village,’ and Clifford Park, which
were also the backdrops of the hottest evening entertainment where Bahamians,
legends and newcomers, shared the spotlight with international artists from Trinidad,
Colombia and Haiti.
Thousands flocked to the site over the three
days, each witnessing a larger crowd than the previous one and the fusion of
different cultures, ethnicities and taste buds.
The celebration of community and culture took the
form of a JunkaMania with a concert of Junkanoo orchestras fused with the beat
of the drum and Bahamian music on the first night and a Junkanoo rush out that
lasted well into the wee morning hours.
The star-studded event moved into Day 2 with the
best in Bahamian music, including the performance of the nine finalists in the
Music Masters Song Competition and the crowning moment when Sammi Starr was dubbed the winner of
the $20,000 grand prize.
Before the Finale Concert that night, Junkanooers
and enthusiasts swung out of the gate of the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium on Day
3 in an impressive array of colors and pulsating and alluring music Saturday
morning for Road Fever, which ended hours later at Da Cultural Village.
Spectators lined the route to bask in the sea
of colors, while others, young and old, who found it difficult to contain
themselves, jumped in the line after catching Junkanoo fever.
The festivities climaxed with another big
night of entertainment, including the soothing sounds of the legendary Ronnie
Butler and Grand Bahama’s own Stileet, Da Party Animal.
Clarence Moe, the former CEO of the National
Carnival Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, who has served as a consultant to
the Bahamas National Festival Commission since 2013, said overall the Bahamas
Junkanoo Carnival was “extremely successful.”
“When we say success, I measure it by the
number of persons attending and more importantly the involvement of the
Bahamians. …But overall it’s successful,” Moe said.
Moe, who headed the Trinidad and Tobago
commission for over 15 years, was impressed with how Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival has
materialized with the kick-off events Grand Bahama weeks earlier to the non-stop
three-day cultural extravaganza in New Providence, after starting off as an
idea two years ago.
Cognizant that there are some lessons that
were learned, Moe is confident that with
the right tweaking the new Bahamian cultural street festival can sustain itself
for years to come.
“We’re on our way and I predict, by 2018, I
think you will have it very right,” he said.
Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival Grand Bahama event organizer Ginger Moxey is
proud of the community spirit which The Grand Life team portrayed which, she
believes was the backbone of Grand Bahama’s success in Bahamas Junkanoo
Carnival – from the Music Masters contestants, to the kick-off events, the
entertainers, Junkanooers, volunteers to corporate Grand Bahama.
“Grand Bahama pulled it off in a big way and we are ready for next
year,” she said.