A masquerader from Tribe presentation New Dawn crosses the Socadrome stage on Carnival Tuesday. – JORDON BRIGGS
Masqueraders and spectators at the Socadrome in Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain said they thoroughly enjoyed their return to Carnival after a two-year absence owing to the covid19 pandemic.
Carnival visitors waved their country’s flags as they crossed the stage. There were flags from Caribbean countries, Barbados, St Vincent and the Grenadines, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and even Ghana. Spectators, young and old, filled the eastern section of seating in Jean Pierre Complex. Three other areas were left empty.
Seven bands were scheduled to cross the Socadrome stage including Tribe, Lost Tribe and Yuma.
Tribe masquerader Mark Skinner said, “I real like Socadrome. It organised enough where they block off where people can’t go. It having seating for people who want to watch the mas. It have vendors outside getting a small sale which is good. The place clean. It have a bouncy castle. I satisfied with everything. I mean they cudda have more signs for the bathroom. About two people stop me and I didn’t even know ’cause I didn’t see any signs.”
Carol Ragbir, a Trini living in Sweden, said this was her first time coming to Trinidad since the pandemic. She chose not to play mas because of the risk of getting covid.
Masqueraders from Tribe presentation New Dawn crosses the Socadrome stage on Carnival Tuesday. – JORDON BRIGGS
“I am just admiring what they are doing and how they’ve brought back Carnival after two years. I am really enjoying this.”
Spectator Kevin Jeremiah said, “For this year, the return of Carnival 2023, I love everything that going on. I love the mas, the costumes. I’m so glad we get to come out again. I am excited to see all the bands that pass through. This is really a good, good Carnival. I look forward for next year.”
Meanwhile, vendor Vanessa Sindy said this year’s parade paled in comparison to previous years.
Sindy, who sells soft drinks and snacks at Socadrome annually, said, “This year cyah be better than the others. It too slow. The people too lil bit. Sometime aback, before the covid, here used to be ram out, you had to squeeze to walk. This is nothing.”
Tribe masquerader Portia Knight from Virginia Beach, Virginia, US said, “It was amazing. I’m a first-timer. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely coming back.”
Knight said her favourite song was Bunji’s Hard Fete. At 2 pm, the band members said they had not eaten yet.
Another masquerader, Shervon Charles who played with Tribe for the first time, complained about the wait to cross the stage.
“It’s a bigger band. The crowd is larger so you have to be able to go through the crowd and do a little crowd management. The wait time to cross was a bit too long. Last time I played with Lost Tribe, we spend less time crossing the stage and in the Socadrome.”
Andy King from Barbados said, “It’s amazing. It’s good to be back after two years. Flew in from Bim. It’s a fantastic experience. I am welcomed home. I feel like I’ve been welcomed back. Favourite song was (Nailah Blackman and Skinny Fabulous’) Come Home. It needs to win. I like Hard Fete but Come Home is the best thing ever.”
Another Caribbean masquerader, who identified himself as Robbie from Antigua said he enjoyed Carnival a lot, but he didn’t like the hour-long wait to cross the stage. However, Trisha James, from Atlanta, Georgia, US said, “It’s been amazing.” She didn’t care about the wait time because she was late and barely made it on time to cross the stage.