NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The 2020 Bahamas Carnival Experience, which is set to take place on May 1 – 3, will reintroduce the songwriting and music masters competition for Bahamian artists.
Organizers of the weekend long festival – Polantra Media Group and the Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association (BCBOA) made the announcement during a press conference at the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium yesterday.
“We’re changing the way people envision playing mas at Bahamas Carnival,” said Tevor Davis, president of Polantra Media.
“We’re giving it a festival feel. We want as soon as people walk into the stadium, they feel it.
“We’re going to have music playing all day, whether it be from the bands or the artists of the stage.
“In addition, those playing mas will have an actual stage to cross for the first time at Bahamas Carnival.
“This is where the judging will happen and where revelers will be able to give their all just as they would do in any other carnival.
The concert series will be hosted at the stadium. However, organizers were unable to indicate which artists will be performing and headlining the show.
Bahamian artists will once again be given an opportunity to write, record and perform their original songs for a top prize, as was done at the first three Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival, with the return of the songwriting and music competition.
Rafael Dean, president of the Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association (BCBOA), said the route for the Road Fever has not yet been finalized, and is still awaiting approval.
Dean noted however that “there’s a significant increase in bands reporting visitor arrivals”.
“This year is going to be a good one,” Dean said.
“There are a lot of international guests reaching out to different bands, finding out details about carnival, interests and costumes, and of course when costumes will be released.”
Eight major bands are expected to participate in the Road Fever portion of the weekend of festivities.
This is the third year that Polantra Media Group has had ownership and management for the event.
“As is the case every year, Bahamas Carnival Experience 2020 will be a vibrant experience, rich in culture, that uniquely incorporates traditional carnival vibes from around the world with a touch of our Bahamian flavor,” said Kenny Mackey, a representative of Polantra Media.
“We believe this will be the biggest carnival yet.
“But Bahamas Carnival Experience isn’t just one big party weekend, it represents the spirit of Bahamian industry, a unique opportunity for Bahamian entrepreneurs, artisans and other creatives to grow their enterprises and display their talents on the local and international stage.”
The Minnis administration announced early on in its term that it will not fund carnival, and withdrew its support from the event in 2018.
The inaugural Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival in 2015 cost the Christie administration $12.9 million.
The 2016 installment of the event cost $9.8 million, of which $8.1 million was subsidized by the government, according to The Bahamas National Festival Commission (BNFC).
The 2017 carnival report has still not been released.
While he could not indicate the budget for this year’s carnival festivities, Mackey revealed yesterday that nearly $1.2 million was spent annually on the previous carnivals organized by Polantra Media.
Mackey also revealed that the group is working on an economic impact assessment in order to put the effect of Bahamas Carnival into “real tangible numbers”.
He said they are hoping to have that study complete by the end of February and released in early March.
“As organizers of the carnival season, we, Polantra Media along with the Bahamas Carnival Band Association, are working together to implement new governance structures, policies and guidelines to ensure the quality of the event experience, the safety of patrons participating and the preservation of cultural values unique to The Bahamas,” Mackey added.
“We acknowledge that there are some who may not believe in our vision or share the same values with the Bahamas Carnival Experience.
“But it is our goal through our hard work and innovation, and support of Bahamians that we bring them around this year particularly.
“It is our hope to demonstrate to those fair-minded individuals of our community, that their concerns and their inputs are taken and valued.
“We know that carnival is good for The Bahamas. We see it in the success of Bahamian entrepreneurs, and through the calculations of heads-in-beds every year from local and international participants that leave The Bahamas with the oh wow feeling of carnival.”