UWI is leading the masses in the Jamaican Carnival Season!

Steven Lasry Ysiih0lapgs Unsplash(1)
A carnival reveller. Photo courtesy of Steven Lasry.

UWI carnival is back in 2024 with fresh costumes, lively music, an epic lineup for the weekend and bigger partnerships with entertainment giants including Dream Weekend. The Carnival launch party, themed “City of Carnival,” kicked off the festivities with a bang on Thursday 14 March, followed on 15 March by the exciting J’Ouvert “Paint di Favela,” where students danced to soca beats and celebrated J’ouvert’s painted glory. Following these events was the long-anticipated Ring Road carnival march on the 16th, where students marched around the Ring Road with a fun twist on the name “Roun di Jamazon.” And afterwards, fete-goers went to the D’After Mas party with established collaborations. The Beach Party at Sugarman Beach in St Catherine ended the festivities.

Earlier in March, Dream Weekend announced their collaboration with Campus Elite, a college marketing agency, for the “D’After Mas: wild in Rio” party after the Ring Road march. Dream Weekend is known for its amazing parties, and Campus Elite is constantly involved in UWI Guild events. Therefore, such a partnership shows the rising heights of the UWI carnival as a staple in the entertainment industry. Like last year, ladies in bikini-like costumes walked around the Ring Road alongside carnival bands or floating parades representing halls of residence, external groups and UWI faculties.

Among the external groups privileged to have a band or floating parade around the Ring Road was YardMAS. From as early as February, Yard Mas Director Dania Beckford said “Carnival started at UWI… Because Yard Mas Carnival is everything authentic about Jamaica, we decided that what better way to celebrate than by partnering with UWI”.

However, UWI carnival is also about student involvement from a business standpoint. So, while the ladies, ‘dollied up’ for each event, student entrepreneurs  capitalised on the opportunity by selling face gems, stockings, costumes, glitter, fanny packs and mason jars to stay hydrated. This student contribution began before carnival as the UWI Guild utilised student ambassadors in advertising the event mainly on Instagram and WhatsApp to heighten anticipation. Furthermore, the Band Launch on February 10 had students modelling costumes representing different bands.

One crucial aspect of the social media advertisements were videos with safety tips like attending events in groups, ensuring that the designated driver is sober, and women should never leave their drinks unattended. These are all valid tips to consider during the carnival weekend, especially since the events are open to anyone. Last year, students noted seeing grown men who don’t attend UWI, therefore, safety was a concern. Nonetheless, UWI Carnival showcases the natural talent of Jamaican youth in organizing cultural events, collaborating with businesses and making their mark in the entertainment industry.

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