Carnival Organizers Promise Energetic Vincy Mas Despite Pandemic

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – The Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) is promising an energetic Vincy Mas 2022 as the festival returns following a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

dennisANCDC’s Coordinator of Shows, Anthony DennieThe CDC’s Coordinator of Shows, Anthony Dennie told a press conference that while the festival is open to patrons regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, the CDC is “pretty much still sensitive to the fact that the COVID-19 is here”.

“Things are very much looking pretty good for Vincy Mas 2022. I just want to appeal to persons out there that while going about – whether it’s a CDC event [or] a private event that you are attending – let us all keep in the back of our minds that we are still very much in a pandemic.

“Yes, the protocols have been relaxed and yes, there is no mask mandate, but whatever you can do personally to safeguard yourself and safeguard those around you, the Carnival Development Corporation is appealing that you adhere and do so,” Dennie said.

“We know that it has been a while and especially over the last two to three days [of the festival], I envisage there is going to be an explosion of persons heading into Kingstown.”

The festival kicks off on Friday, June 24, with the calypso semifinals, dubbed, ‘Ting Nice Agen’. At that show, 22 calypsonians will be vying for 10 spots in the finals.

Wetty Beatz, a Vincentian artiste based in France, will headline the calypso semi-finals, which will also feature a guest appearance by Calypso Monarch Shaunelle Mackenzie and Trinidadian calypsonian, Edwin “Crazy” Ayoung.

The festival continues on June 25, with Junior Carnival, which, Dennie said, will be different this year.

“From about 1 p.m., they will move off from within the area of the National Lotteries Carpark, head up town, Heritage Square, come back down, head into the Victoria Park,” he said, adding that the culmination of the event will be “a fair-like atmosphere” from noon, dubbed ‘In The Clubhouse’, where there will be a lot of attractions for the children.

On June 26, Royal Rumble, the semi-finals for the Ragga and Soca Monarch competition, will be held following a jump-up in the city. At that show, 20 artistes will compete in each category for 10 spots in the finals.

“I have no doubts based on the music that we’ve been getting from various artistes, the young and the not-so-young, that Vincy Mas 2022 certainly is going to be quite a festive and energy-filled…,” Dennie said.

Although noting that many young people were joining the soca art form, he bemoaned the low number of entries in the Junior Calypso competition, ‘Teen Splash’ scheduled for June 28.

However, he said the competition promises to be a good one, with some young acts and a young DJ clash on show.

The CDC’s signature event, ‘Evo’, is slated for July 1. It will feature headline artistes such as Problem Child, Skinny Fabulous Jamesy P, and Fireman Hooper.

Vincy Mas 2022 continues on July 2, with what has traditionally been the largest show, the finals of the Soca and Ragga Soca Competition.

“I can put my neck on the table [that] at this point in time, we’re ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, we’re ahead of Barbados, we’re ahead of Grenada. The vibe, the energy felt and experienced at Soca Monarch in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, it’s very difficult for you to encounter such anywhere else across the globe for that matter.

“In Trinidad and Tobago, we saw what happened the last time they had their Soca Monarch – low turnouts, some of the major artistes, staying away – but we still have our major artistes being involved, and for 2022 that refreshing drive from the youngsters augurs well for this aspect of Vincy Mas going forward.

“And the CDC is very, very confident that St. Vincent and the Grenadines will continue to demonstrate to the rest of the region and the world when it comes to soca music we know how to do it,” Dennie said.

On Sunday, July 3, Pankaimas will feature the calypso competition, nine steel bands as well as carnival costumes.

Dennie said mas bands have assured the CDC they are working hard to ensure that they have costumes ready.

He said the traditional aspect of J’ouvert continues the following morning. Dennie said there will be three steel bands on the road but to date, only one painted band, ‘Country Meets Town’ has indicated their intention to participate.

Four T-shirt bands have indicated their intention to take part in the Monday afternoon street party.