Carnival Checklist: Antigua Carnival, 101

July 24, 2015

Pre-Game: Friday, July 24th

antigua-burning-flamesPhoto: Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority

Friday is the last night before the official opening parade of Carnival, and there are a lot of options for revelers ready to start celebrating. Crowds of onlookers will see a parade circumnavigate around St. John’s and lead into Carnival City, with the reigning Road March King and Junior Calypso Monarch, Queen of Carnival 2014, winner of Teen Explosion 2014, as well as steel bands, dancers and majorettes, and floats decked out in twinkling lights. Floats leave from Carnival City at 6:30pm, and begin the procession for the Carnival Glow Party.

Vintage is an all-inclusive food and drinks fete for those who have a love and a passion for a good-old, back-in-the-day kind of party. No isms, just good vibes, keeping the heart and soul of calypso and soca alive. The night will see performances from local and regional favorites such as Scrunter, Tian Winter, Swallow, Menace and Sparrow. The party kicks off at 8pm at Splash Antigua, Fort James. This fete is all about good music, clean fun, mingling and remembering those who have paved the way for the musical youth of today.

Bacchanal is a fete that’s been around for years, however, there was a hiatus during 2014, giving the promoters the opportunity to carefully plan for this year and re-brand. This year, the fete will be hosted in a venue that has never been used for any form of party in the past, Grand Bay Casino in Dickenson’s Bay—Bacchanal will truly christen the grounds. And, as the name suggests, there will be free drinks all night long. There’s no live performances for the night, but there will be a multitude of renowned local DJs on site. When there is a DJ fete in Antigua, every genre of music is played, and every individual’s musical tastes are catered to. The night has been dubbed “Bacchanal and a Million Gyal,” so be sure to fill your drink up and get your wink up throughout the night.

Formed in 1984, the Burning Flames are Antigua’s best known band, famed for hits like “Island Girl,”  “Workey Workey” and “Jam Um In De Iron Band.” The group really does not need any introduction as band members, King Onyan, Bubb-I, Oungku and Foxx, are legendary across the Caribbean and the globe. Some controversy caused them to disband a few years back, however the saying “time heals all wounds” is definitely correct in this circumstance as the band laid all issues to rest on Friday, July 17th, and reunited to give Antigua its concert of the decade. The event had reams of spectators, supporters and fans enjoying and celebrating the reunion until the sun broke on the following Saturday morning. With such great feedback and reviews, the band has decided to reunite again at local venue, The Lion’s Den, to mark the opening of Carnival. This night should be no different to the first reunion, in offering great music, an electric atmosphere, and forever memories. The show begins at 11pm, and considering how many hit songs the Burning Flames have, they may still be playing well into the next Saturday afternoon to bring in the opening parade of carnival. As we say in Antigua, “if it’s nice, do it twice!”