This year’s installment of Miami Carnival was nothing short of epic, with a host of events that drew massive crowds of attendees to revel in the city’s vibrant Caribbean community and culture. Indeed, strict Covid-19 protocols were in place including a ‘no exceptions’ vaccination requirement to attend. As usual, Miami Carnival featured jubilant festivities and fantastic events that took place over the October 8 – 11th Columbus Day Holiday Weekend. The annual event featured four signature event segments, Junior Carnival, Panorama, J’ouvert and a costumed Parade & Concert, which attracted visitors and participants from across the world to celebrate and revel.
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, with ‘all systems go’ after last year’s Miami Carnival had to be virtually staged due to the pandemic. The photos below seek to capture the highlights from Miami Carnival 2021:
Panorama at Miami Carnival is always a signature event that is annually one of the largest draws of attendees. This steel drum competition featured several teams vying for the title of ‘best band of the year’. For over 80 years, the steel drum instrument—which originated in Trinidad & Tobago—has served as a vehicle in bringing Caribbean sounds to virtually all parts of the world and, of course, is an integral component of Carnival season. The Panorama competition was held on Friday of Miami Carnival, and was staged at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Fairgounds adjacent to the campus of Florida International University.
‘Soca or Die’ – One Of The Many Fetes That Centered Around Miami Carnival
From chic all-inclusive, all-white, army style, boat cruises, coolers, to wet and j’ouvert fetes, there were so many to choose from during the week and run-up to Miami Carnival’s Parade and Concert held on Sunday, October 10th. ‘Soca or Die’ was held in the city’s trendy Wynwood Arts District on Carnival Friday.
One Fete Concert Showcased Top Soca Acts
Held indoors on Saturday, October 9th at the Miami-Dade County Fair and Exposition Center, the One Fete Concert was a gigantic one with a long list of soca artists performing their biggest hits and strutting their stuff into the early hours of the morning. Among the artists on the bill of performers were: Kes The Band, Dil E Nadan, A Team Band, Nomcebo, Iwer George, D Boss, Patrice Roberts, Nadia Batson, Farmer Nappy, TallPree, Mr. Killa, Cloud 5, Scrouge, Olatunji, Skinny Banton, Collage Boy, and Sugahrhe. The event was hosted by Vibez Man Redman.
Miami Carnival 2021 Culminated with Costumed Parade & Concert
In a vibrant display of colors and pageantry Miami Carnival 2021 culminated with its costumed Parade & Concert on Sunday, October 10th 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’.
One of the largest celebrations of Caribbean culture on planet earth (and America’s biggest), Miami Carnival 2021 appeared to draw even more festival-goers than expected. Kudos and many thanks to the organizers and hosts of this magnificent annual event—Miami-Broward Carnival Host Committee, Inc.—which was keen to adhere to strict Covid-19 protocols for all attendees to ensure the safety of all who took part.
About the Author/Photographer
All photos by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.