Saint Lucia’s carnival will climax this holiday weekend with the annual parade of the bands on Monday and Tuesday. However, this will be preceded by a number of competitive events as well as carnival fetes. Heading into the weekend, the national panorama championship was held last night (Friday) at the Beausejour stadium as well as “Outrageous Sexy in Black” an annual carnival Friday fete staged by local radio station The Wave. The carnival fetes this year have increased tremendously, many of them featuring regional Soca artistes performing alongside Saint Lucian acts.It has not been smooth sailing this year for a number of traditional carnival events, particularly Calypso events which failed to attract large crowds to the Calypso tents. The number of active calypsonians has dwindled this year and fans also complained about the quality of the music. For the first time ever there were no calypso semi-finals this year with finalists being selected from two quarter-final rounds. The Calypso finals will be held tonight (Saturday July 18) in the grounds of the National Cultural Centre, a much smaller venue to the BCG or the Mindoo Phillip Park where they have been held previously.
On Friday several calypsonians began agitating for monies they claim are owed to them by the Saint Lucia Association of Registered Tents headed by Fitzroy “Bingo” Leonce. Leading the charge was one of the finalists, De Invader. As we went to press the issue still had not been resolved, with some calypsonians threatening to boycott the finals.
The finalists for this year’s Calypso competition are Ashanti, Educator, De Invader, Mary G, Menelle, Nintus, Q-Pid, Ready and Ti Carro. The defending monarch is Walleigh.
Then on Sunday Groovy and Power Soca takes centre stage when the finals come alive at the BCG. Defending his groovy crown this year is Arthur. He will come up against Sedale, Ricky T, Q-Pid, Hollywood HP, Lancealot, Mantius, Mongstar, Mysterio and Nerdy. Arthur is also a finalist in the Power Soca competition, as well as CJ, Educator, Hollywood HP, Lancealot, Mongstar, Q-Pid, Ricky T and Siah. The defending monarch is Ezra the Fun Machine.
The Groovy and Power Soca monarch competitions will be followed by J’ouvert, then the two day parade of the costumed bands through the streets of Castries, commencing near Caribbean Cinemas on the Choc Highway.
J’ouvert will commence at 4:00 a.m. and end at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, July 20, 2015 according to the CPMA and the police. Bands and revellers will assemble at Vigie Playing Field, proceed down the John Compton Highway then right onto Jeremie Street, onto Bridge Street, right onto Micoud Street, right onto Manoel Street and right onto Jeremie Street, left onto Peynier Street and up the John Compton Highway to complete the city circuit.
The parade of the bands will commence at 10:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, July 20, 2015 and commence at mid-day and end at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.
Bands and revellers will assemble near Mega J on the Choc Highway, Castries. The bands will parade down the Vide Bouteille Highway, utilizing the south bound lane on the dual carriageway, then onto John Compton Highway, onto Peynier Street, right onto Micoud Street, right onto Manoel Street, right onto Jeremie Street, left onto Darling Road, left onto Jn. Baptiste Street, right onto John Compton Highway and ending at the original starting point.
Commuters are advised that all vehicles travelling into Castries from the north must utilize the Grand Riviere Gros Islet Road. This diversion will take effect from 9:00 a.m. on July 20, 2015 and from 10:00 a.m. on July 21, 2015.
All vehicles travelling to the north will utilize the outer lane on the dual carriageway.
The inner lane of the dual carriageway northbound must be kept free from all vehicular traffic and shall only be utilized by emergency vehicles. The relevant signage will direct motorists accordingly.
This year’s last lap carnival jump-up will end at 7 p.m.