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The soca ‘king’ calls it

Machel Montano: Bahamas Carnival could be the biggest in the Caribbean

Bahamas Carnival could be the biggest in the Caribbean because of the country’s geography, according to the “king” of soca himself — Machel Montano. He made this declaration moments after his energetic Bahamas Carnival appearance, with the sweat still dripping from his brow.

“I think this could be the biggest carnival in the Caribbean because of the geography and the way it is placed,” said Montano after his third headlining appearance in the four years of Bahamas Carnival on Saturday at Clifford Park.

“It is also such a beautiful place to encourage people to come for two weeks. They can visit all of the islands. They could catch some of the culture. They could go to Atlantis. They could go get some conch salad. They could swim with the dolphins. They could swim with the pigs, and then they could come for carnival weekend. I think it is easy for people to fly from Miami, New York, Toronto — especially those who went to Miami Carnival, they went to Caribana… but this is the Bahamian version.”

The Trinidadian says he was here once again to do his part in helping to ensure that Bahamas Carnival becomes just that.

“I think if we really focus — and this is why I am here three years in a row — because I want to dedicate my energy, as my part to play in making this one of the greatest destinations for carnival.”

After the “Soca Kingdom” performer shut it down again, he said that, by now, people should not be surprised, and everybody should know what he does. He said it’s evident in the fact that the fans show up en masse, because they know the level of performance they will get.

“When I come I know what I got to do. I have to make them feel the energy, make them sing along. But it is also important for me to incorporate the Bahamian culture, a little Jamaica, to show that we are not about ourselves.”

The one thing on his mind during a show is that he’s happy with his performance and his audience’s satisfaction.

“I come out to entertain myself first and foremost, and if I’m not happy, if I’m bored, I wouldn’t come out. Any day you see I am bored of my show I will retire. So I know I am coming to enjoy myself. And I’ve learned this over the years: Once you do something out of love and you enjoy yourself, people will see themselves in you, because we are one and we love to excel and we are really trying to be the best we could ever be, to lift our spirits to the highest. This is what soca music is and this is all I know. Machel Montano been going from 1982 to now and just imagine — I’m only just getting started.”

When Machel and his crew turn out, he said they coming to “mash up” the place.

“They coming to let this world free. This is carnival and this what soca music is about,” said the Trinidadian. “It don’t belong to Trinidad. It don’t belong to Barbados. It don’t belong to Jamaica. It belong to the people of the Caribbean, the island people. And this is [my] third carnival in The Bahamas. I just feel proud that the people keeping it moving.”

He said music is a vehicle to bring the region together.

“Reggae music was for the ‘simmer down’, as Bob Marley said — to keep people simmer down. Now we need to raise people energy, because now is the time for the Caribbean to be an example to the rest of the world and show them how we can unite. While they have war in the Middle East, we living in peace. We about unity.”

Montano fans showed him love as they remained in place for the ‘king’ to ascend his stage, which he did just after 1:30 a.m. on Sunday past. He certainly brought the energy, excitement, hype and vibes as only he can. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind why he has been crowned the soca king.

The fourth Bahamas Carnival is in the books. From the performances that left concertgoers wanting more to the road march that celebrated body positivity and freedom, the three-day festival didn’t disappoint.

The “queen of bacchanal” Destra Garcia, with her signature wine, brought energy to the stage that can only be described as electrifying during Insomnia on Friday’s night one. She performed her hit songs that had the crowd jumping and singing.

And that was only the prelude to Saturday’s road march.

Thousands of carnival enthusiasts took to the parade in colorful costumes, decked out in jewels, feathers, paint and more, while music blared from trucks. They literally let it all hang loose while thousands lined the streets to take in the revelers; in some instances, overcome with the fever, the spectators joined the march. But there were some spectators that took issue with the almost-two-hour delay and the time it took the carnival bands to move along the route.

After the almost-nine-hour parade, soca lovers swarmed Clifford Park that night for Amnesia, the biggest concert night featuring Machel Montano and hosted by DJ Khaled. The hit producer lived up to his promise to set the stage on fire as he cranked out some of his biggest hits.

It didn’t end there. DJ Khaled brought along special guest reggae and dancehall artist Mavado, who sent the crowd wild.

DJ Khaled and Mavado brought the rain — literally. But that did not stop Montano from closing out the night on a high.

Carnival 2018 was put to bed with Skinny Fabulous’ Sunday performance.

The dates for next year’s Bahamas Carnival have already been announced: May 3-5, and organizers promise it will be one you won’t want to miss. Polantra Media President Trevor Davis said international marketing has already begun on that front.


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