As of last Friday, Bacchanal Fridays at Mas Camp will be a staple for carnival and soca lovers in Jamaica for the next five weeks. Director of Bacchanal Jamaica, Charmaine Franklin, was pleased with the turnout. “It is more than we expected, especially with the soca calendar becoming more and more filled with various events each year,” she said.
The Friday-night event is normally the place for partygoers to become familiar with the season’s songs and get fit for the final fete. However, there appeared to be conflict between ‘socaphile’ generations. While some pleaded with the disc jockeys to play new music, others were satisfied with hits from 2010-2017, like JW and Blaze’s Palance and Kes the Band’s Wotless, to kickstart the party.
Young disc jock King Taj, right off his trip to Trinidad and Tobago for the country’s recent carnival celebrations, levelled the playing field by sharing the soca styles he thought necessary from a 2018 soca playlist. There was no doubt that patrons in the audience learnt new songs from it, but as guest selectors from the US, Miami Dream Team, touched the stage, the genre was flipped from carnival to dancehall. Miami Dream Team teased music from the Unruly deejay, Popcaan, including Family and We Pray (a collaboration with Dre Island), which had patrons raising their hands to the sky and embracing one another.
The mix included also included Chronixx’s Likes, and it moved into dancing tunes by Chi Ching Ching and Ding Dong. The little revolution did not affect the energy – it only enhanced it, making patrons more interested in moving their waists than getting wasted.
Patrons also gathered to view costumes throughout the night, but not many were observed registering on-spot. According to Ashley-Ann Dennis, who thinks of herself as a true bacchanalist, “the decision-making process is a little more challenging this year”. She and female friends are hoping to do costume selection at the last minute.
In addition to the weekly activities, the popular free Socasize event will continue on Mondays and Wednesdays, giving revelers the opportunity to get fit to fete while checking out the showroom.
Similar to the strict 9 p.m. start time for Bacchanal Jamaica’s events is the shut-off time of 2 a.m., even though patrons pushed it to the limit, clearing Mas Camp little a after 2:30 a.m. on Saturday. They were perhaps feeling, as soca artiste Patrice Roberts sings, ‘sweet fuh days‘ until next week.