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Jamaica Karnival Next?

Week after week, we’ve been seeing a number of Caribbean carnivals in our region and internationally announce that they’re returning for 2022. But if there is one carnival that people want to hear from soon with a hopeful return and solution is Jamaica’s.


You see, the thing is, prior to the pandemic, say what you want and think what you want, but Jamaica’s carnival sector was on a speedy upward trajectory. Whether the model was sustainable or not is another topic for discussion but the fact is, since 2017 when they moved away from one band having a monopoly on their road experience and a steady increase of new fetes hosted by both Jamaican and foreign promoters from around 2014 thereabout, the number of attendees drastically increased. A lover of Jamaica’s carnival myself, I saw the larger crowds at fetes, on the road and the mass exodus of Brooklyn-Caribbean nationals coming to the island. Beyond this though, there is an anxiety for its return after the tragedy that struck them in 2020.


Out of all the canceled carnivals in the great year of covid, Jamaica was served the hardest lash as it was postponed about 4 weeks before its executed date. This meant that many things would have already been in full swing, from costume production and payments for bookings and services. Then came the backlash from customers of all bands being told there were no refunds; something they actually agreed to in those infamous terms and conditions that none of us read. I envy no bandleader who had to steer, and continue to steer their way out of this, while dealing with finances being tied up with other suppliers etc. I felt it for them, and I felt it for the customers who were told Oct 2020 was the new date for that, and well, we know how that went. Not much of anyone thought when covid hit we would still be here 2 years later.

There’s a buzz happening at the moment though that Jamaica’s Carnival is on this year. I think it’s safe to say that it won’t happen in its usual time slot around Easter in a few weeks, but perhaps later on. We’ve seen some events still happening around this time, with the popular I Love Soca Jamaica cooler fete and Sunrise Breakfast Party. At present, discussion is supposed to be happening amongst the government’s cabinet on the reopening of their entertainment sector. Even though based on my social media feeds, weekends in Kingston seem to look pretty lit with little covid-like restrictions taking place. One of the biggest proposals that may come out from the government may be a vaccinated only mandate in these entertainment spaces.


So, just as people are getting ready for Trinidad 2023, it might be safe to also get ready for Jamaica 2022. I know the experience of those who registered for mas or bought packages back in 2020 might have been a sour one, but trust and believe, Jamaica Carnival ah gwan nice bad! Sort out wa u fi sort out and forward!



Kearn Christopher

IG: @kearnchris

Twitter: @kearn_chris


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