Bacchanal gets ready

Entertainment

Bacchanal gets ready

By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

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WHILE organisers of Reggae Sumfest and Fun in The Son have gone virtual due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), Bacchanal Jamaica's Michael Ammar Jr says it's full speed ahead for his carnival band.

The co-director said preparations are still under way for Carnival Road March through the Corporate Area on October 25.

“We're still preparing and assuming that it's still on. We [carnival directors] haven't gotten any word to say otherwise. I think by the end of August we can expect a yes or no,” he told the Jamaica Observer.

At 20, Bacchanal Jamaica is Jamaica's oldest carnival band. It is one of three major groups which participate in the annual road march. The others are Xodus and Xaymaca International.

On March 13, three days after Jamaica reported its first cases of the virus, chairman of the Sports and Entertainment Committee, Kamal Bankay announced that the event, previously scheduled for April 19, would be held on October 25.

Ammar Jr believes that by then, Jamaicans should be more comfortable with the new norm.

“I think Jamaicans would be more comfortable but the overseas patrons would probably be more concerned, however, it is all dependent on the amount of cases at that time. A lot can happen in a month to six weeks, and we still have three months to go. The Jamaican Government has been doing a good job in containing that number,” he said.

Up to yesterday Jamaica recorded 728 cases of COVID-19 with 569 recoveries, while deaths remain at 10.

The Bacchanal director added that costumes are still being purchased.

“We sold out a few [sections] and people have paid down on deposits. Others that were being resold have gotten buyers,” said Ammar Jr.

Last year, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett told the Observer that Jamaica had experienced its most successful carnival season.

“Carnival has been a growing phenomenon, and as it builds it's driving more economic activity in Kingston, primarily. This year is the biggest we've ever had, and last night [Saturday] I was at one particular hotel where 40 rooms were taken just by one group out of Canada. And what we're seeing at the airport in terms of arrival patterns is a big spike, and this weekend is going to help the month of April to be very huge,” he explained at the last carnival road march.

Meanwhile, Ammar Jr said directors from Bacchanal, Xodus and Xaymaca have been drafting an “extensive” document about health protocols for revellers to present to the ministries of health and culture and entertainment.

“We are very proactive and always thinking about the interest of our patrons, so the bands have come together to draft this document to be presented. I'm just waiting on the other two bands to finish their part. The Government is doing things sector by sector. They looked at construction industry, tourism and so on, and last week talks began about the future for the entertainment industry,” he said.


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