Although the sweet strains of Savannah Grass may have won the people’s hearts this Carnival, Famalay ruled the stage and looks set to give Machel Montano his tenth Road March title.
At the South Quay, Port-of-Spain judging point yesterday, approximately 30 bands crossed the stage, starting with Tribe at 9 am. About 10 of these bands played Savannah Grass while Nadia Batson’s So Long and Farmer Nappy’s Hookin’ Meh were both played twice. The other bands stuck to Famalay.
With their presentation of the Empire, Tribe masqueraders took over the stage showing off their elaborate costumes to Montano, Bunji Garlin and Skinny Fabulous’ Famalay. If the song takes the coveted Road March title, it will be a first for both Skinny and Garlin.
Bands Paparrazi, Have ah Time, Mas Passion, Revel Carnival, Adrenaline City, We International, Secrets, Showtime, Switch Mas Band, Amazon, Petle Mas and live steelpan bands Massy All Stars and Desperados Steel Orchestra all crossed the stage before noon.
In the afternoon, the thousands who lined the route to see the costumes were not disappointed, as the more traditional mas bands began to take the stage with everything from Blue Devils to Dame Lorraines in every size, shape and colour.
Shirley Glasglow, 74, who has been in a wheelchair for a “long time” after injuries she sustained in a car accident, said she never misses Carnival in Port-of-Spain.
“Saturday I was in the Savannah, Sunday I was in St James, I not missing anything! As long as I have life, I will come out to watch mas,” she told the T&T Guardian.
Glasgow said her Road March pick was Savannah Grass. Pointing out masqueraders from Jus We and Friends who took the stage to a live band singing Dieffenthaller’s most popular 2019 tune, she said, “That is why I love it, look at these people how they feeling this music.”
But Downtown Carnival Committee chairman Wendell Stephen said Famalay seemed poised to take the title.
“There are bands that are playing Savannah Grass but from what we have seen from Kiddies Carnival coming forward, Famalay seems to have the edge,” Stephen said.
Port-of-Spain Mayor Joel Martinez agreed.
“Famalay is where it is at..I have heard that a lot of times at the other venues, but everyone loves Savannah Grass, it is very melodic and has such a lovely groove, it is going to have a lot of longevity to that song,” Martinez said.
“I think Famalay has it though.”
Martinez praised the police for a very safe Carnival, saying the heavy police presence put both spectators and masqueraders at ease.
“When you have them all around and you see the officers on every corner it gives you a sense of comfort. All in all, I felt very comfortable and I saw the revellers seemed so relaxed and comfortable and enjoyed the festivities. We also have a marked increase in the number of spectators and a lot more bands participating in the Carnival this year.”