On Tuesday February 10, 2015 two carnival mas bands here in Saint Lucia enticed the media, carnival organizers and their corporate partners as to their direction for Saint Lucia’s carnival 2015 which starts in earnest towards the end of May and concludes with the climatic Monday and Tuesday street parade and jump-up this year July 20 and 21.
Over the years the carnival bands have become an integral part of carnival staging major events during the festival. The role played by the major carnival bands has now stretched beyond the Monday and Tuesday mas and now envelops the entire carnival spectrum. As such, band launches are now major highlights on the annual carnival calendar, to the point where the first band off the block, Just 4 Fun, created much social media frenzy when, in an unprecedented move, it launched its full portrayal and costumes with a massive event at the Gaiety on January 31.
Two weeks later and two more bands have launched – with lesser fanfare but still with as much conviction and passion – their portrayals for 2015.
The two bands on show Tuesday evening were Toxik Nation at Bay Gardens Beach Resort and RED Unlimited at Sandals Grande. For their launch, Toxik’s brand ambassador Chrystal Octave reflected on the band’s challenges in 2014 apologising to those affected by a costume distribution mishap. Toxik will also be working towards attracting Saint Lucians in the diaspora as well as Dominicans in a collaboration with Kairi FM.Sonia Sifflet on Tuesday commended Toxik for reaching out to the other islands. “When a band can reach out to our sister islands to come here, it really augers well for the carnival product,” Sifflet said.
The manager of Bay Gardens Berthia Parle spoke Tuesday of the marriage between carnival and tourism. “We are indeed thrilled to support the growth and development of Saint Lucian culture and the young people in particular … and this is why we are pleased once again to partner with Toxik Carnival band,” Parle said.
Minister of Tourism and Creative Industries, Lorne Theophilus noted during his presentation his pleasure at the strides made by the band. He went on to state that he was very proud of Toxik Nation. “So I want to congratulate you for always launching early and I am going to ask you, along with the other bands on the island to prepare yourself, because we are having an early launch of carnival,” Theophilus said.Toxik gave attendees a taste of their portrayal for 2015 with the unveiling of two costumes from “Vogue.”
Later that evening, RED unveiled their 2015 theme and logo. At the event the now former bandleader Thaddeus Antoine announced that the baton was being passed to a young group of band members to carry on the band’s vision.
He then called on all parties to transfer the same level of support to the new leadership asking the media to “be nice and encourage the team.” The new band leader is Trevor King.
Stacy Gittens, before introducing the theme and costumes for 2015 stated that carnival meant more than just pretty costumes. “It is about the experience and quality of mas that you give, not just to our revelers, but to the spectators,” she said.
For 2015 RED Unlimited will be portraying “Yin Yang – Balance n Harmony.” Two costumes were unveiled from the sections “Primal Instincts” and “Lion Heart.” Both RED Unlimited and Toxik Nation will soon announce the dates for their public launch and other activities leading up to carnival.