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This year the entire media entourage present for Bacchanal Jamaica 2010 were all accommodated in one location; The Knutsford Court Hotel was our home away from home. Now the plan for tonight was simple ... everyone rendezvous in the hotel lobby for 10:30PM. Well apparently the more people involved, the less likely scheduled times are met, and so it wasn’t until like after 11PM that things began setting into motion. Once everyone was present and ready, we all headed towards the bus and made our way out for what was going to be a long, long night.
The JTB media bus pulled into Bacchanal Jamaica's Mas Camp around the likes of twelve midnight, shuttling us straight into the backstage area of the fete. Once everyone was off the bus, media accreditation was distributed to all parties. Then like magic, everyone disappeared ... varnishing quickly into the crowd of early fete-goers. As we stood near the entrance leading to backstage, we noticed gallons and gallons of WHITE paint passing before our eyes. That was the element that was going to transform this event from a regular fete, into a J’OUVERT BRAM!
Knowing that we were going to see plenty of that paint later on, we decided to go check out the scenes. The venue was pretty much set up like last year (view coverage) ... general admission, VIP (which was drinks inclusive - TJJ recommended), main stage at the front, and your various sponsor areas on the outskirts. Walking through the crowd, it was like a short pants affair. It was only legs ... legs ... legs! Oh what ah sight! We could feel the overall vibes of the fete building as we mingled with patrons (which included some Bacchanal Jamaica virgins - welcome). Some folks were concerned about the lil' drought situation in the country and getting cleaned up, but the good folks at Bacchanal Jamaica had this covered, providing a water truck to wash down all j'ouvert lovers at the end of the fete. Worse case senario ... did someone say, "Bucket bath?" :-) But overall, most folks seemed happy, with a few high on the energy of the Carnival excitement. Things were shaping up nicely.
TnT Soca star Shurwayne Winchester was the first live act, came on stage around 1:30AM. No stranger to entertaining large crowds, the reigning Int'l Groovy Soca Monarch king soon got the masses jumpin' and wavin' as he belted out hits such as "Open the Gate", "Can’t Wait", "Dead or Alive" and "Murdah", all to the crowd’s delight. It was a bit unusual that Shurwayne opened the show to tracks, instead of coming on as a guest artist with the night's live band.
After Shurwayne’s performance without much time to waste, Imij & Co. hit the stage. Known for doing several different genres of music (in addition to Soca), frontline singers Russell Cadogan, Michelle Xavier and latest addition to band, Ricardo Drue gave the audience a variety of selections to groove to. Now, we know it's unfair to compare bands, but when reminised on how Destra completely mashed up the fete in 2009, something was missing in 2010. Still, to Imij & Co. credit, at certain points of their performance, they had nearly everyone waving something in the air, especially when they closed their set off with JW & Blaze's infectious 2010 hit "Palance". In saying goodbye to them, we welcomed in jamishness, mayhem and PAINT ... PAINT ... PAINT!!! It was time to paint this town white ... literally! The fete went to a whole different at this point. Perhaps next year, the paint should come out earlier??!!
This was a take no prisoners J’Ouvert session. If you didn’t plan to get dirty, then it was like you trying to take over Tom Cruise’s leading role in the movie “Mission Impossible.” In the midst of all this paint slinging, we came across local celebrities Sean “Dutty Rock” Paul and Gold medalist sprinter Usain Bolt (who shared with TJJ TV that he was on his way to Burger King and ended up in J'Ouvert), both well covered in paint. After the paint down session, the party hit the streets in traditional J’Ouvert style, with folks chipping to the sweet sounds of Soca (yes, in Kingston) till the sun came up!!
Bacchanal J’Ouvert is definitely an event not to miss. There was so much more I could of mentioned, but hey ... the story has to end somewhere!! lol. We'll let the pictures do the rest of talking!!
Going home to recharge and get some of this paint off...
d’ local Juice
(Chooks aka Daddy Juice contributed to this review)