For the past 35 years, the Miami-Broward Carnival showcased the lively and colorful spirit of the city’s vibrant Caribbean culture and community. But as a sign of the times, this year’s 2020 episode of the jubilant festivities was a virtual affair that took place from October 8 – 11th over the Columbus Day Holiday Weekend. Sponsored by the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the virtual events streamed over the Miami-Broward Carnival’s Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube pages. In conjunction, there were also several segments of the program that featured a number of restaurants and local Caribbean inflected hot spots.
Beyond the environs of South Florida, Caribbean Carnival signifies the series of events held throughout most of the year in not only many of the Caribbean islands, but all over the globe as well. At its core, the Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is widely regarded as the ‘Mother of Carnival’, with its roots harkening all the way back to the 1800’s. Traditionally, the Carnivals of the islands have several themes and disciplines in common, namely: Parade of the Bands (‘Playing Mas’, masquerade), calypso music, soca music, Panorama (steelpan, steelband competition), and J’ouvert celebrations. In that spirit, Miami-Broward Carnival typically is attended by over 70,000 revelers and is a yearly Columbus Day weekend experience—which comprises a long list of events spanning four days or more. As such, it should not be at all surprising that the Miami-Broward Carnival event is among the most anticipated on the annual calendar with all its music, pageantry, cultural history, and tradition.
The festivities got underway courtesy of the “Welcome to Miami” segment, which was hosted by Giselle D’Wassi One, with Eternal Vibes, Stany, Cool Blaze, Barry Hype, Ryan, and House Arrest. The day following featured local Miami steel bands Steel Away, Melo Grove, Resurrection Steel, as well as the 2019 Trinidad All Stars. The culmination of this year’s Miami-Broward Carnival on October 11, 2020 was marked by colorful costumes, island rhythms of calypso, soca, reggae, and dancehall. What’s more, there was a grand finale by way of a virtual concert with a strong line-up of musical acts, including Nailah Blackman (Trinidad & Tobago), Eddie Charles and the A Team Band (Trinidad & Tobago), Marzville and his Band (Barbados), Ricardo Drue (Antigua), and Motto (St. Lucia), and Tifa (Jamaica).
All in all, Miami-Broward Carnival served well in putting a spotlight on the richness of Caribbean heritage in a virtual format amid the ongoing worldwide troubles brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The digital experience showed well, so give thanks to the Miami Broward Host Committee for making all the elements of this year’s experience free for all to access. And as expected, Miami-Broward Carnival 2020 was able to draw cyber-attendees from not only locally but also from around the world.
Photo credit: Scott Oliver/Miami-Broward Carnival Facebook