UWI's road march gets nod

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

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DESPITE being held on the same day as Buju Banton's Long Walk to Freedom concert, organisers say UWI (University of the West Indies) Carnival Road March last Saturday was a success.

Veteran troupe, Bacchanal Jamaica, which was part of the parade for the first time, gave the outing a thumbs up.

“UWI Carnival was a huge success, especially for the Bacchanal team. Our truck was buzzing all day long with great vibes from our DJs. Once the parade got going and people came out to join in the fun, the Bacchanal truck was definitely a hot spot for all participants,” Michael Ammar III, a Bacchanal Jamaica director, told the Jamaica Observer.

“I don't think we were affected by Long Walk to Freedom, as quite a few people went from UWI Carnival straight to the Buju concert. We had great support from our ambassador team as well as hundreds of UWI students. The atmosphere was electric and enjoyed by all who came out,” he continued.

Ammar estimated the crowd to be in the hundreds.

By midday the road march hit UWI's Ring Road, epicentre of the party. The convoy of trucks stopped in front of the institution's halls and enticed students to join in; by mid-afternoon its ranks had swollen, and there were even more revellers by end of the parade into the night fete.

Andrean Gentles, cultural and entertainment affairs chairman of the UWI Guild, was pleased.

“The party definitely exceeded expectations. We had record numbers in the evening at the bands festival, and our patrons are saying it's the best Ring Road experience they have seen in years,” he told the Observer.

Gentles, who is pursuing a computer science master's degree, hopes the incoming administration will continue its alliance with Bacchanal Jamaica.

“Well, I do hope that the CEAC (Cultural and Entertainment Affairs Committe of UWI) that's coming in next year will be open to partnership with Bacchanal Jamaica. We can't say no to anyone who is willing to make carnival a bigger, better brand at UWI, or anyone who will subsidise the costs for our students,” he said.

Carnival in Jamaica began in the 1940s with the opening of what was then the University College of the West Indies. Students from the eastern Caribbean, especially Trinidad and Tobago, recreated the annual festival on campus.

Bacchanal Jamaica's next event is Rum For Breakfast at Hope Gardens on March 30.

— Rory Daley and

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