After the dust settled at the Miami Carnival Costume Parade, Ramajay Mas International was crowned Band of the Year, followed by Dingolay Mas in second place, Gen X Carnival in third, and then with Euphoria Mas and Big and Strong/One Island rounding out the top five.
The bands listed to be featured on the road this year were: Bajan Fuh Evah, Big and Strong/One Island Band, Break Awae Kru/Hysteria, Dingolay, D-Junction Mas, Euphoria Mas, Freaks Mas, Gen X, K-Paya, Limers International Mas, Mascots International, Natural Disasters, Party Room Squad/Enchanted Mirage Mas/ Collective Mas, Pleasure Mas, Rama Jay, Revel Nation, Savage Mas, and Wassi Ones.
The much anticipated costumed Parade & Concert took place on Carnival Sunday at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Fairgrounds. At Miami Carnival, Sunday is always ‘Parade Day’, where revelers and masqueraders are decked out in their colorful costumes and prance ‘down de road’ alongside massive 18-wheeler trunks outfitted with giant speakers, thumping the sounds of soca music. Participating bands ‘playing mas’ each had their own themes and styles, while strolling along the parade route where, at the end, they ultimately performed on the main stage with aspirations of being crowned ‘Band of the Year’.
History of Carnival Celebration in South Florida
As exemplified in Trinidad, Brazil, and around the Caribbean, the tradition of Carnival is a season of jovial and festive celebrations of the diaspora’s heritage and culture. Usually, Carnival season takes place annually in during the months of February and March. In South Florida (Miami and Fort Lauderdale), carnival festivities start the week before Columbus Day and culminate over the holiday weekend. This year, the excitement kicked off with the Junior Carnival Competition followed by the Steelband “Panorama” competition. In turn, J’Ouvert Mas was held early on Saturday morning, and the carnival celebrations peaked with the grand finale in the Mas Band Parade and Concert on Carnival Sunday.
At its core, Miami Carnival is highly acclaimed for celebrating all things Caribbean, with attendees traveling into the ‘Magic City’ from around the islands and the globe. And this year’s 39th episode of Miami Carnival was nothing short of epic, with a series of events that drew massive crowds of attendees to revel in the city’s vibrant Caribbean community and culture. For over three decades, Miami Carnival has showcased the lively and colorful spirit of the city’s vibrant Caribbean culture and community. In that spirit, Miami Carnival typically is attended by over 70,000 revelers and is a yearly Columbus Day weekend experience—which features a long list of events spanning four days or more. As such, it should not be at all surprising that the Miami Carnival event is among the most anticipated on the annual calendar with all its music, pageantry, cultural history, and tradition. And this year’s episode was certainly special. The photos below seek to capture the highlights from Miami Carnival 2023.
Electrifying Concert with Top-Tier Soca Artists Caps Carnival Sunday 2023:
Aside from the many masquerade bands that strutted their stuff in competition for prizes, pageantry, bragging rights and lifelong memories, this year’s Miami Carnival goers were also able to catch live concert performances from the likes of Teddyson John, Patrice Roberts, Bunji Garlin alongside Fay-Ann Lyons, Alison Hinds, the A-Team Band, Mr. Killa, Pumpa, and many, many more of the diaspora’s premier soca acts. The concert was hosted by Barrie Hype, DJ Jay De Soca Prince, DJ Dlife, and Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Additionally, the concert segment was powered by Iheart Media, and Papa Keith and Stichiz of Miami’s 103.5 The Beat fm radio.
One of the largest celebrations of Caribbean culture on planet earth (and America’s biggest), Miami Carnival 2023 appeared to draw festival-goers in record numbers. And, of course, the gorgeous tropical and sunny weather of Miami on Carnival Sunday was the cherry on top. Nuff respect and many thanks to the organizers and hosts of this magnificent annual event!
Photo – Nick Ford