2016 marks my third consecutive Carnival in Jamaica and it was arguably the best so far, though I think this is my sentiment post Carnival each year.I absolutely LOVE Carnival in Jamaica and I was ecstatic to see how many other Carnival chasers decided to come join the revelry this year; so many friends and familiar faces made the trip for 2016. Don’t just take my word for it, live the experience yourself! What surprised me the most for 2016 Carnival in Jamaica was the growth in fetes over the three years that I have been attending. My first year in Jamaica, I had the mandatory staple fetes on the itinerary, those being Block O, Bacchanal J’ouvert, Sunrise Breakfast Party and Bazodee. Fast forward to 2016 and I had to double up on my fetes per day, and in some cases had to choose between three events. Suffice to say that all events, even those I could not attend due to scheduling conflict, were well supported and patrons expressed having a great time. While fete reviews are forthcoming in an independent review, I want to relive my experience on the road with Bacchanal Jamaica this year, because I had SUCH a great time on the road; a well-executed seamless Carnival road experience for 2016. There is a certain amount of freedom that I enjoy playing mas in Jamaica, which comes mainly from the fact that having one band makes it feel like we are all part of one big group of likeminded revellers on the road. For those thinking only one band, yes it is one MASSIVE band, though you never feel crowded or lost among a sea of people. There is adequate space on the road to comfortably jump even in a frontline costume, and not have to worry about jostling another masquerader for breathing room. Bacchanal Jamaica has also introduced several private sections, LehWeGo being one of those that offer extra amenities to their masquerders. This is a welcome option for masquerders as now you can choose one of the private sections, Bacchanal VIP section, sponsored sections or jump in T shirt or “Monday Wear” for that matter. As for the road, EPIC! Apart from the road service (fruits, snacks and water served to you on the road) you get to experience all the popular regional and international DJs, all the popular soca from Carnival 2016 in Trinidad and from the islands.
Plus there is no acclimatization period to get into the music, we have been hearing this for months! The masquerders all looked amazing in costume and vibes were way way up. What I love best is that on the road we keep it moving and at lunch the stop is kept short; get nourishment to continue the pump and head back on the road. Though you will not find blankets for sleeping hours at the rest stop, you will find tables, chairs, porta cools and for some even air-conditioned tents. I was part of the VIP Bacchanal Babes lunch tent and their lunch spread was divine. [images_grid auto_slide=”no” auto_duration=”1″ cols=”four” lightbox=”yes” source=”media: 12665,12666,12667,12668,12669,12670,12671,12672,12673,12674,12675,12676,12677,12678,12679,12680,12681,12682,12683,12684″][/images_grid] From my observation this year I also noticed much less non costumed masqueraders infiltrating the band and even the much dreaded route through Half Way Tree was without incident. As usual there were LOTS of spectators as well as many, many photographers on the road; Carnival in Jamaica is one of the most photographed regional Carnivals I have ever been to. By the time the rains came, we were having such a fantastic time that the rain only added to the jamming. To add to the excitement we had surprise performances by Machel Montano, Lyrikal, Kes, Kimba Sorzano, GBM Nutron, Voice and much more. Soaked to the bone, it was a bittersweet ending to another year of Carnival in Jamaica.