ACBC Launch 2014: The 13 elements of Carnival (Caribbean Event Review)
By Marissa Williams
‘Look at people!,’ that’s the first thing that came to mind as I entered the doors of Karibbean Konnection on January 25th for the event called ‘Elements.’ This fete hosted by the Atlanta Carnival Bandleaders Council (ACBC), was meant to introduce the Atlanta community to the bands that are taking the initiative to bring a new Carnival experience to the city. The 13+ elements of Carnival featured some of Atlanta’s top bands including Bachannalist, Dynamic Image, Impulse Mas, Inferno, Madd Colors, Madd Flava, MasHysteria, Panyarders, Thunderbirds, Trini Vibez, United Bajans, United 4 Haiti and We Kinda Ting.
I applaud ACBC for taking a proactive approach to presenting Carnival to the city of Atlanta. It was great to see the bands presenting themes, and, even costumes, four months before the actual parade. It speaks to the dedication that this group is pouring into the Carnival experience. And they are doing this while actively engaging the Atlanta Caribbean community on the journey.
Karibbean Konnection has become one of the premiere locations for Caribbean parties in Atlanta. When I arrived at 2:00 am, the venue was packed to capacity but it was not a stifling feel, since there was enough room for everyone to breathe, dance, drink and in general just have a great time in true Caribbean style.
It was heart-warming to see the volume of people at this event. Atlanta Carnival has seen many transitions throughout recent years, and not all of them have been positive. With this background in mind, it was no surprise that some of the audience seemed to be cautiously curious about what the night would bring. The crowded venue was a signal to me that the Caribbean people of Atlanta still love Carnival, still want it to be a great experience and are still willing to support efforts to see it succeed. When I first entered the building there was a mixed energy in the crowd. Some people came simply to party, some were die-hard Carnival lovers eagerly anticipating the presentations from the bands and some were sceptics simply there to observe. But no matter the motivation, there was no denying that the atmosphere was ripe with anticipation mixed in with some party vibes, good music and fun.
Of course, ACBC has the advantage of being affiliated with most of the top Caribbean DJ’s in Atlanta including One Drop Sounds, Dj Madd Flava, Elite Soundz, Dj Sexi K, Dj Corey, DJ Touches, Papa John and King AP. A recipe for great music, although I must admit I was expecting to hear much more 2014 soca releases. The presentations from the bands started around 3:00 am, and each presented for less than five minutes on their theme for 2014. Some were mythical, some were raunchy, some were poetic and some were informative, but, all were tied together by the common thread of being excited to bring a fresh and revitalized energy to the Atlanta Carnival experience. Admittedly, technical difficulties did slow down the vibe a bit, but the vigor from the bandleaders helped to compensate for that.
In my opinion, ACBC has taken a very positive first step to deliver on its promise to promote a ‘deeper appreciation of Caribbean culture using the vehicle of Carnival.’ I eagerly look forward to seeing what comes next from them for the 2014 Atlanta Carnival experience.
About ACBC: The mission of the Atlanta Carnival Bandleaders Council (ACBC) is to promote a broader understanding and a deeper appreciation of Caribbean culture among the Atlanta community by seeking the interest of carnival bands and steel bands, and using the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival as a vehicle for the promotion of Caribbean culture. Visit them at www.atlantacarnivalbc.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AtlantacarnivalBC.