By Adia Wynter
Today would have been T-shirt Mas’ – one of the most popular features of Carnival – and troupes and masqueraders alike are feeling nostalgic as they long for the road.
Many were looking forward to the days where they sport their favourite troupe’s dazzling costumes and parade through town as a band of feathers and family. Being off the road for 2020 has left mas’ troupes missing their partiers just as much as the partiers are missing them.
Marlon Rawlins, managing director at Myst Carnival, said, “When we see those music trucks move off and we see thousands of people adorned in beautiful costumes ready to hit the road with excitement, that is where we breathe a sigh of relief… it is also our source of motivation that will take us through this time.”
Carnival’s lively parades were among the numerous social events axed earlier this year in a bid to stem the coronavirus spread.
Captain Browne, band leader at Insane Carnival, told Observer, “We had already launched all our costumes. Everything that we would have been doing was already out, but not withstanding, we’re just using the downtime to reevaluate our product with the intention of improving and getting better next year.”
Though Covid-19 put a block in the carnival road, mas’ troupes are hoping to maintain the carnival spirit.
Myst has replaced its jam through town with a jam down memory lane to fill the partiers’ days with nostalgia.
Rawlins said, “We are reminiscing for the next couple of days and doing these throwbacks on a daily basis to really take people back to a place where they were last year and where they would have been, had there not been a pandemic.”
The look down memory lane seems to only fill the glass halfway for some folks as many say there is no substitute for the feeling on the road.
One member of the public shared the sadness felt on missing the annual festivities.
“It’s definitely going to be a big miss. I am a carnival baby myself, so I am going to miss celebrating, but I don’t really see any other way that we can do it this year,” he said.
The love for the yearly excitement does not stand in the way of most people’s concern for the nation’s overall health and safety.
Browne detailed Insane’s wish for revellers to take the time to ensure their safety.
He said, “Safety first: that has been our watch word since we knew that we can’t do anything on the road. Carnival is really not going anywhere, but we have to continue to abide by all these guidelines and protocols to keep ourselves safe.”
The wait for the road may feel even longer, but the return to the road is set to be massive.
To those in anticipation of the day the streets are reopened for festivities, Rawlins says, “We look forward to being able to bring mas’ to all Mystics near and far next year providing that Covid-19 is behind us.”