The Tale of Two Karnivals
News broke out this week over ‘Atlanta’s Carnival’ with some bands opting to move away from one parade route to another, and essentially taking part in another carnival. For some, even from before this announcement, there remained an air of confusion over the fact that there are essentially two separate carnivals happening in Atlanta at the same time. So the question that is being asked is “who is moving to which carnival now and how is this working?”
Well, firstly the similarities between the names and their organizations will confuse anyone, even those who are familiar with the karnival scene, so let’s take it step by step.
1. Atlanta Caribbean Carnival or the Downtown Atlanta Carnival: This carnival is managed by the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival Bandleaders Association (ACCBA). They have a membership of about 10 carnival bands, stage a Parade of Bands along with other events such as a Festival Village with several soca artistes, a Children’s Carnival, J’ouvert and Luxe fete. ACCBA has been around since 2003 and started staging the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival in 2005.
2. Atlanta Delkab Carnival: This is put on by the Atlanta Carnival Bandleaders Council Inc (ACBC) and has a membership of at least 18 bands. It’s this carnival that we wrote about in a previous post, and whose mas bands had been getting some good social media traction and hype late last year into early this year. They also put on a show with several soca artistes.
Six Bands associated with the Delkab Carnival announced that they would be taking part in the Downtown Carnival over concerns that the Delkab County informed them that the parade would last only two hours and the route planned would have limited access to trucks. The Delkab Carnival then took to social media to clarify that they’re moving forward with 16 bands ranging from small to large, despite the 6 bands opting for the next carnival, and that the parade is actually 4 hours with a 2 mile route.
Frankly, though separations and divisions are not uncommon in the carnival industry, whatever has been the reason for the creation of these two carnivals in such a small market, I hope that eventually there can be one organization that everyone can collectively subscribe to. No lie, just wrapping one’s head around this situation is unnecessarily confusing, but I genuinely wish both organizations a successful staging of carnival 2022.