Virtual carnival in the U.S. Virgin Islands: a first in the Caribbean!

Photo: US Virgin Islands Carnival Committee

The real carnival on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which was scheduled from April 3 to May 4, 2020, was replaced by a virtual carnival that lasted about ten days and was a great success.

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Photo: US Virgin Islands Carnival Committee

Because of the coronavirus-Covid-19 pandemic, the Government of the US Virgin Islands and the Department of Tourism’s Division of Festivals decided to cancel carnival scheduled from 3 April to 4 May, 2020. In order to thwart the plans of this virus that can be deadly, the organizers thus launched a virtual carnival between April 24 and May 2.

Every day, local and international Internet users were able to watch on the carnival’s Facebook page the broadcast of the 2017 and 2019 children’s parades, the 2017 and 2019 adults’ parades, live DJ performances and live concerts by several groups in the carnival village. Note the remarkable Creole cover of the song “Pisimé zouké” composed by Guadeloupean group Zouk machine by the VI Cool Session Brass from the island of St. John.

Only downside, the famous social distancing or physical distancing between the artists does not seem to have always been respected on stage…

This virtual celebration of carnival is a first in the Caribbean and this fiery atmosphere to the beat of soca and calypso has thrilled all the carnival-goers forced to stay home.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, May 5, Joseph Boschulte (Commissioner, Department of Tourism) and Ian Turnbull (Director, USVI Division of Festivals) thanked all the partners (sponsors, performers, technicians, volunteers) and especially the people of the archipelago for playing the game: “You are full of spirit and joy, you are beautiful, and you are resilient. You are the reason we do what we do!”.

This success goes beyond anything the organizers had imagined so now they have other projects : “As we look forward to bigger, brighter and even better Division of Festivals activities – and the eventual return of leisure visitors to the Territory – we have our sights set on producing a spectacular “pop-up” virtual edition of Love City’s annual festivities, St. John Celebrations (…)”.

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