Nearly $1 million earmarked for Carnival

Revelers participate in Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival. (Photo courtesy of Bahamas.com)

In an effort to “fill the void” left after the government pulled funding from Bahamas Carnival, a group of private citizens have taken over the three-day event, hoping to ensure its success.

At a press conference at Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) headquarters Wednesday, Polantra Media Spokesman Sebas Bastian said, the group’s objective is to promote The Bahamas and diversify the tourism product, while continuing to build and expand on previous carnivals.

“We have seen how it has grown over the years and it is no doubt that there is an increasing demand for this type of event,” Bastian said.

“It has to continue and, in the next few years, you will see more corporate partners joining and you will see more international participants coming to The Bahamas to experience carnival. Because next year, obviously knowing way in advance what our duties are, we will plan to market the carnival much earlier than was done in previous years as well as this year.

“This year’s carnival will be one to remember as we continue to build on more carnivals to come. We will get a much earlier start in years to come. We will achieve the original objective to bring heads to beds and tourist to our shores.”

Bastian noted that the group was not able to properly market this year’s carnival internationally, because of the governments “late notice” in pulling out of the event.

He said however, that moving forward, carnival dates and headliners will be announced months in advance. In fact, he said next year’s lineup will be revealed “right after this year’s carnival.”

“The government told us very late that they would not be supporting carnival, so this group of organizers got together and saw it necessary to protect the investment that was already made in the country, in the past three years, and they came together and pooled their resources,” he said.

“It’s very important in our minds that something of this magnitude, that has now become a staple event in the country, continues.”

Polantra Media Vice President Kenny Mackey said, this year’s event promises to be an explosion of local and international talent.

“It is our goal to organize a world class event,” Mackey stated.

“This year, DMac, Dyson Knight, Wendi, Rick Carey and Sketch will be joined by Machel Montano, Destra Garcia, Mr. Vegas, Ricardo Dru, Blaxx, Skinny Fabulous and so much more. Also, recently added was DJ Khaled, who provides international appeal and will guarantee international exposure.

“We wanted someone who would keep the people engaged before the events, with interactive social posts and a broad appeal, as well as during the show, can bring the ‘vibez’ and Khaled delivers on all of the above.”

Marcian Cash, vice president of marketing for BTC – the event’s title sponsor said, the company is proud to support the event for the fourth year.

“This year BTC is bringing the hype to the Bahamas carnival experience. Starting tomorrow, customers can text to win free tickets, BTC combo plans, a variety of BTC mobile phones and lunch for two with DJ Khaled,” he said.

The events kick off on May 4 and run until May 6.

The “Ready for the Road” text to win competition kicks off in a week, and customers can text the short code, 5116, to enter to win a number of prizes, courtesy of BTC. The first 4,000 customers to purchase tickets for Saturday night’s event will receive a free $5 top up from BTC.