Carnival bands plan early launch

August 21, 2017
The main people behind Xaymaca at the Xaymaca Road March, Sunday, April 24, 2017.
From left: Olivia Grange, Allison Hinds and Julianne Lee at Jamaica Carnival road march on April 23, 2017.
Kamal Bankay (right) runs into a friend during the Xodus Road Parade earlier this year.

Last April, the streets of Kingston were awash with glitter, sequins, feathers and bikinis as an unprecedented total chipped down the road on Road Parade Sunday.

A movement which blossomed from the innovative and inclusive mind of Byron Lee, into the annually anticipated Bacchanal New Year, the National Carnival Committee appears committed to an expansive approach to marketing Carnival in Jamaica.

Xaymaca International, which will see its second year on the road in 2018, announced yesterday via an Instagram post that their band would be launched as early as November 2017.

In a move to professionalise the seasonal event and use it to market Kingston as an entertainment city, the Ministry of Tourism, through its Tourism Linkages Network, launched under the umbrella brand, 'Carnival in Jamaica'.

According to Kamal Bankay, chairman of the National Carnival Committee, the umbrella brand would be launched for Carnival 2018, as early as the first week of October 2017.

"Carnival in Jamaica will launch very early this year. All of the bands will launch after that. We are all working to build Carnival together," Bankay told The Star.


Made a commitment


The Carnival in Jamaica brand was launched as a means of marketing the event internationally.

"We've all made a commitment. The thing about it is that from the Carnival in Jamaica perspective, we're trying to get the launches done early for our own reasons. Considering the travel calendar, and working with the Jamaica Tourist Board, we want to launch as early as possible so that we get tourists to buy into it," Bankay told The Star.

The planned November launch reconciles utterances made by band director, Andrew Bellamy, earlier this year, prior to their first march through Kingston.

"I would encourage that we begin planning as soon as our Carnival 2017 has ended. This is the only way for us to fully maximise our potential," he said.

Bankay, who also owns the competing Xodus Carnival band, shared similar sentiments.

"Once the parades are wrapped, we're gonna look at all the marketing plans, collaborate with different entities, and contemplate how to promote to the international market, and piggyback on other existing platforms within the tourism market," he said.

In an interview with The Star yesterday, Bankay continued: "Here's the reality. Xodus was launched in December last year because Carnival was moved back a couple weeks, based on the Easter calendar. But you're gonna have a lot more this year."

Though there is no date yet set for Xodus' launch, Bankay affirmed it would happen before the end of this year.

"We're gonna pick up after Carnival in Jamaica's launch and come out on the road bigger and better, and have the biggest parade in Jamaica for another year," he said.

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