2020 J’ouvert action captured at the Sugar Mill (Official Sugar Mas 49 photo)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Thursday 31st December 2020)- Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for J’ouvert 2020 here in St.Kitts-Nevis, missing this time around were the traditional tell-tell signs of mass feting like streets stained with paint and powder and sprinkled confetti and colourful powder.
Instead, for the Sugar Mas 49 edition, revellers were treated to a session dubbed “A Taste Of J’ouvert’ (Virtual Experience) as many at home and abroad were glued to the screens of their electronic devices and also tuned in via ZIZ television and for the event stages at the Sugar Mill at the Warner Park Stadium on Saturday 26th December 2020.

Included on the entertainment line-up were DJ Tero, Ras Kelley, Freedom Sounds, Nu Vybes Band International, Small Axe Band, AkaiiUSweet, the 2019 reigning Road March Champions-Grand Masters, Mr. Bagnall, Lala, TNO Sounds, Ronnie Rascal, Evolution HD and Street Vybz Sounds.
What is more, individuals also participated in the virtual experience having submitted their at-home videos featuring fun moments to complement that jam session.

2020 J’ouvert action captured at the Sugar Mill (Official Sugar Mas 49 photo)

Additionally, at the venue itself, there was a limited entry capacity for patrons to jump up and carry on for the live action.

This media house spoke with a few individuals who gave their take on the different setting put in place for what is known to be one of the most anticipated events on the annual St.Kitts-Nevis National Carnival calendar.

Here is what they had to say:

Javon Liburd
It was very different but I had to make do. There’s something about the scorching sun, the drunken revellers, stained streets and huge crowds that adds to the overall J’ouvert experience. Even though the Carnival Committee tried to give us the musical component of all that, we were content, but it was not the same. …but that being said, the virtual J’ouvert was enough to keep us sane throughout that day.

J’ouvert Jammer
J’ouvert was sweet! Jamming home was fun! I think it was a good idea because people always looking forward to J’ouvert so the Carnival Committee mek sure something kip so yay for that!

J’ouvert didn’t happen plain and simple. They [Carnival Committee] tried something and the effort was half assed at best but they tried. Being there in person felt more like a task than an experience… I’m guessing it was a little different on the virtual end. I think they had the opportunity to do something vastly different that could have turned into something incorporated into our regular annual festivities moving forward, you know beyond the current state of affair… but they didn’t really put in the work and it shows they’re  ideas, models to work off of that could have been executed and would have worked within the parameters  of the COVID-19 protocols if given some a+, 110% effort, that just may have given the nation something to go wow and ahhh at but again an effort was made and that exactly what it felt like so there you have it.”

It was great but I wish more people were there but due to COVID-19 of course that couldn’t happen. I wondered why Kollison Band didn’t play though seeing that all the other bands were there. Comparing this experience to J’ouvert on the streets, it’s just that on the road is all about moving around, not just standstill like in one spot.