Date: Saturday 13th June 2009
Location: Brittle Bank Park. Charleston, South Carolina
Promotions: SC Caribbean Festival
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In a continued effort to bring exclusive coverage to our millions of viewers, TriniJungleJuice has once again found another Carnival. Now we didn't exactly stumbled over this one, but were in fact invited by promoter Lorna Beck after running into her at the 2008 Charlotte Carnival.
This time, we had an ocean front view in the beautiful city of Charleston, South Carolina ... home to some of the nation's well maintained beaches and beach front properties. With that said, we needed no more requests. Though the program for events began on the Friday June 12th with a masquerade party, we did not get there until Saturday. But it's never to late to party hearty ... especially when Soca music is playing!! Charleston, here we come!
On June 13th 2009, Kelly Fontenelle (manager of the St. Lucia Tourist Board in Atlanta) declared the 4th Annual Charleston Carifest opened. And on cue, the Whale Branch Orchestra launched into the sweet sounds of steelpan, the only percussion instrument to be invented in the 20th century. The harmonious melodies of the steelpan could be heard from miles away, attracting more patrons to this festive event. As told by Beck, last year's Carnival was a bit marred by the rain, so this year they were covered ... literally! The huge blue and white tent slowly filled with people who were enjoying and grooving to the steel band. And the band provided more than just music, as they educated patrons on the history of steelband music.
Just as the proceedings were shaping up to be the best Charleston Carifest ever, especially since we sighted the likes of the Slice International Band (we will give you the story on them in a bit), the rain had other plans. Rain? Rain?? We could handle rain ... we are from the Caribbean ... rain is part of our culture! Now even though in many ways this ideology may be true, especially since in the Caribbean when rain falls, we go outside to play in it, here in the US, it is a bit different. The rain here is usually followed by a buddy ... and his name is lightening! As the rain in Charleston came down (with his buddy), we were happy that Beck and crew prepared in advance by having the huge tent. After about 30 minutes of waiting out the weather, some patrons and vendors didn't have the same patience and left. But guess what? TJJ is not going to give up on any Carnival and it's patrons!!
While we waited for the rain to cease, the Buen Ache Dance Company thrilled all on hand with their dance moves. Great job ladies!! And as the good creator opened up the skies for the sun to return, Beck and her committee worked diligently to keep the traffic flowing into the park. Even a bit of bad news of not being able to have Slice International Band play because of electrical issues, did not stop Ms. Beck. One could see her running from end to end, on her phone, trying to get the power running. And after a little prayer and lots of faith, the call was made to let the show go on. The band set back up on stage while folks gathered in and around the tent. Now for those who do not know much about the Slice Int'l Band, I will tell you that it is your loss. They might be very well one of the most diverse bands that I have seen in the South. The day they make their way up North or in the Caribbean, they will take party scene by storm.
Slice International Band is truly an all-round band as they play music of every genre. From Calypso to Soca to Reggae to Hip Hop to Disco to RnB. They are good! Female lead singer Lu, is as good as they get, with her versatility reaching to various audiences. And if you got a chance to see her sing at Charlotte Carnival last year, then you know she plays iron like no other. She's almost like a one woman rhythm section!! The band itself were all on point with their selections and they did a great job in incorporating the audience into their set, especially Ms. Antigua (who had a blast). Ms. Antigua followed every instruction given by the band .... take ah run, go up North, come down South, come on stage, buss ah wine (the art of gyrating the hips and waist simultaneously to the sound of soca music). I mean ... she followed every instruction to the 'T'!!
Sunset was around 7.30pm, but the daylight began to dim around 8.45pm. And for the first time, one could see Lorna Beck having a great time dancing and singing. Now that everything was flowing smoothly, she took a bit of a breather. Lorna, we love your efforts. And the crowd even joined in on the singing and dancing to the extent that as it got darker, no one wanted to leave. A few well wishers put their car lights on to have it shine on stage so Slice International could continue performing. After that worked for about 30 minutes, the band wrapped up, what would be, one of the most successful Charleston Carifest events ever. Lu and Joanne, thanks as well. Lorna, great job and thanks for taking care of us. We're looking forward to an even bigger & more successful event next year.