“Gus Cooper, considered the “Father of Modern Day Junkanoo”, was a strong proponent of carnival. He saw it as an opportunity for Junkanoo artists to finally be able to use their talents to generate income,” Gary Christie; culturalist.
On February 12th 2018 the Bahamas Carnival Band Owners Association were liberalized to form their own realities. According to Paul Farquharson; band owner of Reckless Pirates the re-branding process is well on its way. “As a Bahamian Business Owner, the changes are welcomed as we present and showcase what our talented Bahamian designers, musicians, creative marketing teams and more are capable of. Noting, that Junkanoo will always be our first and true love,” he said.
TAKING JUNKANOO OUT OF BAHAMAS CARNIVAL
Though many of the Bahamas Carnival band owners are vested in Junkanoo they did not agree with using the word Junkanoo to brand Bahamas Carnival when it was formed in 2014 under the Christie administration. The introduction of carnival was met with much resistance as some of the populace viewed it as government reckless spending to fund a 3 day party and neglect the country’s original culture of Junkanoo, but Mr. Farquharson doesn’t see it like that. “While we understand the conservative mindset of our people, we also understand that in all things there are positives that can be drawn. Job creation and small business opportunities are just a few of the upsides. Yes,while we understand the negatives we note that the drinks, the frolicking, the music etc exist already and are nothing new. For those who damn us to hell, fine, but for the many who benefit through jobs, new design creativity, new music creation, and the likes they far outway the naysayers. Like any other industry there will be history written with the good, the bad and the ugly. For our new born Bahamas Carnival, history is just now being written and we have not yet scratch the surface on the global stage,” he said.
President of the BCBOA Mr. Dario Terrelli fully agrees with Mr. Farquharson and added that carnival is a billion dollar industry. “The Bahamas is still seen by foreign travelers as an exotic destination; a must visit. So we have the greatest potential for exponential increase “heads in beds” from a touristic standpoint especially in May which is relatively a slow period in the hotel industry. And the diaspora of the Caribbean who are carnival junkies have another reason to visit the Bahamas for the first time if they never did before,” he said.
As for the naysayers, Mr. Terelli has pointed out that the band owners have become true ambassadors for the Bahamas. “We are daily in contact with persons from around the world via social media promoting our beloved country while pushing our respective carnival products. The results for us is what Trinidad and other countries have gained by pure foreign cash injection into their local economies,” he said.
When the band owners association was formed it was done to ensure that integrity and true Bahamian creativity is infused in all that they do, according to Mr. Terelli.
He pointed out that Carnival is a year round business and stressed that the Music Masters is one of the biggest ideas that came out of the introduction of carnival and would like to see that preserved. “We must do everything to maintain this element of carnival as it is the purest form in expressing our culture,” he said.
Moving forward Mr. Farquharson implored Bahamians to stand by them in this growth stage, “as Bahamians, I now invite you to take a second look at Bahamas Carnival and instead of seeing it as a threat, see it and support it as a business owned by Bahamians. Seek out a Band of your choice, become a member of that band and lend your support either on the road, in a costume and or seekout the sexy T-shirt section of a band. Your choice. Bahamas Carnival 2018.”
Bahamas Carnival will be held from May 3rd – 5th in Nassau. For updates on band events leading up Bahamas Carnival and brand giveaways visit www.bahamascarnivalinsider.com