Kingston Carnival cancelled again - Organisers going back to the drawing board

April 03, 2023

Kingston Carnival, formerly known as Downtown Carnival, is again delivering disappointing news to revellers who intended to join them on the road on April 16.

Speaking to THE STAR, bandleader and chief organiser O'Neil Smith said that based on new developments, there was not enough time for them to properly execute a top-notch experience for revellers.

"We won't be having the road parade this year. We had some late happenings and we decided we won't be able to execute the road parade at the level that we wanted it to be, so we just decided to cancel the road parade," he explained.

"I have brought in some new stakeholders on board to take it to another level and now with renewed discussions and planning and trying to bring in overseas distributors for the costumes, we would not have been able to get the amount of costumes we wanted for the road parade. We wanted to go ahead and do just T-shirt costumes, but the stakeholders want to deliver something at a higher level, and we would not be able to do that in time," he added.

Last year, the band announced several changes including a new route that would take the march from Cross Roads into New Kingston and end in Half-Way Tree. However, an inability to pull things together in time for carnival in July forced them to cancel the event. Sponsorship had also been a sore point for Kingston Carnival since the pandemic as Smith also revealed that his sponsors have still not come back on board. Nevertheless, the team was still aiming to host the event.

Though there will be no Kingston Carnival on the road for 2023, the team still went ahead with one scheduled event, Soca Fuzion. According to Smith, the turnout made him and his team extremely optimistic about next year's carnival.

"We had a lot of new people and older persons who have been supporting us over the years. That kind of encouraged us to take it to another level. We had rebranded and there are a lot of changes coming with it now being Kingston Carnival, and we want to execute at the highest level," he shared.

This year's theme was 'The New Dawn' and the band anticipated bringing in at least 1,000 revellers. However, with the cancellation, the band is just looking forward to coming bigger and better next year.

"We are looking forward to more people, more elaborate costumes than those we have had over the years and, hopefully, we get more support," Smith said.

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