Last week we told you about the postponement of carnival in Jamaica to April 2021. Charmaine Franklin, the director of Bacchanal Jamaica, which organizes the festivities, gives us more details about this decision. What is certain is that carnival represents an important product in the island’s tourism industry, even if we have not had figures.
Kariculture.net : Was it an easy decision to postpone Bacchanal Jamaica a second time?
Charmaine Franklin : No, it was not but we had to be guided by the government’s decision and in the best interest of the revelers.
Kariculture.net : You say that the vast majority of people understand this new postponement in April 2021. Is the Jamaican population aware of the seriousness of Covid-19?
C.F. : Yes, we are very attuned to the consequences of not maintaining good practices and the government has been very proactive in doing briefings and advertizements.
Kariculture.net : Bacchanal Jamaica is a flagship event in Jamaica’s tourism industry, do you have any idea of its financial weight? Where do the participants in your carnival come from?
C.F. : Our main numbers are from the US with also a good deal from Canada, The UK, Caribbean but it is seeing more and more participation worldwide.
Kariculture.net : Does the Jamaican government give you financial support to organize Bacchanal Jamaica? Are you a private company that has to make do?
C.F. : We are a private company; support is via marketing.
Kariculture.net : How many people are in your team?
C.F. : 40
Kariculture.net : You say that the revellers who had already paid in full or made several large payments to get their costumes “saved” the Jamaican carnival. These words are very strong. Is it true?
C.F. : All costumes are being rolled over to 2021 with all deposits.
Kariculture.net : How many people had already ordered their costumes for the Road March?
C.F. : We had quite a substantial number and remember we were in the final six weeks of selling so anticipated there would have been additional.
Kariculture.net : How many bands participate in Bacchanal Jamaica?
C.F. : There are three Mas Bands.
Kariculture.net : How many people earn their living through carnival in Jamaica and who are they? What are these jobs?
C.F. : I would not like to hazard a guess but thousands – entertainers and djs, media personnel, event coordinators and organizers, food, taxi, hotels, guest houses – it is big business and many lost good income by the postponement.
Kariculture.net : April 2021 is 6 months away, do you think that a vaccine will have been found or the epidemic will be off? If the Jamaican government decides again that Bacchanal Jamaica will not take place, do you think that would be the end of Carnival on the island? Are you determined to fight for its survival?
C.F. : We continue to be guided by the government and the science and will watch as things develop. Yes we are committed to the survival of this product but always in the best interest of the revelers and our team members.