Bahamas Carnival – an expensive fete with groups investing hundreds and thousands of dollars to produce different packages for the road – continues today with more performances and the highly anticipate Road Fever march, which kicks off this afternoon.
Now in its fourth year, Bahamas Carnival’s is growing in popularity and is seemingly gaining a more favourable response from Bahamians and tourists alike.
Groups Barabas, Sting and Xtasy, shared with Eyewitness News yesterday about building extravagant costumes, importing materials and employing many Bahamians.
“We had to go down home to Andros to get our sponge. We had to go to San Salvador to get the shells and Long Island to get … the burlap … our goat skins,” said Quentin Woodside, leader and proprietor of Barabas Carnival Group, about what sets his apart from others.
He said the costumes are 100 per cent indigenous and are all made in the Bahamas.
Woodside said just about every member of the group “picks their feathers from turkeys”.
“Carnival really belongs to the people that come from the hood. This is all from the hood,” he said.
“You know the people that make like the Benny cake and the cups and everything, they may only make $150 every week, but now they can make about $800 just for one day because of the exposure.
“They sold it to us, where the poor man who selling peanuts, can make money. So, really Carnival is for the people from the hood.”
Alexia Woodside, a member of the group and niece of Woodside, described the four different packages for men and women.
“There’s the Chick Charney … package (for) $360.00, the Peacock package for $310.00, the Flamingo package at $260.00, as well as if you just want a T-shirt to wear on the road march, our T-shirts are $75.00,” she said.
Sting’s Carnival Group has also kept Bahamian tradition and will hit the road under the theme ‘Funky Nassau’.
Group leader, Gary “Super” Johnson told Eyewitness News,that “this is just a layover from Junkanoo for us”.
“We been doing this now for twenty five years; it’s just the same concept,” he said.
Sting’s Carnival group has a T-shirt package and a regular $100.00 package, where interested revelers can get a full costume and is inclusive of bands for the road, designed bras and an afro wig.
“We also have a VIP package for persons to be a part of,” he added.
“This year we did fundraisers to accumulate some funds to take us to the road and that’s basically what we’re using the money (for) – to get us on the road…”
Utilizing their junkanoo costume designers and builders, Johnson said, “right now we’re not really looking at any profit. You know, we’re not going to make personal profit but it’s just enough funding so we can continue having our party on the road.”
Ann Balfour, Xtasy’s proprietor also told Eyewitness News, that designing the costumes takes “no time at all”.
“It’s the production time that takes the longest and the preparation leading up to the event,” Balfour explained.
Xtasy has four different packages that feature costumes, imported from Trinidad, starting at $300.00.
“We have four different sections and each section has a front line and a back line.”
With a band of 200, Xtasy said it will hit the road celebrating the theme ‘Hedonism’.
The Bahamas Carnival Experience kicked off celebrations with Bahamian performances as well as a highly-anticipated performance by international Soca superstar Destra Garcia.