On the contrary, as a little girl, I hated carnival. I could think of nothing more terrifying than standing beside a huge truck with wheels taller than me, carrying massive speakers blasting out unbelievably loud music. Thankfully that’s changed and I will be out on the road enjoying my Bank Holiday, hopefully in pristine, clear skies and unbroken, warm sunshine (fingers crossed).
Usually the only carnival preparation I consider is eating a massive breakfast on the Sunday morning to make sure I have enough fuel to last for the day. However, this year the preparations started a bit early in the form of CALO Festival, the first event of its kind in the UK show-casing Pan-Caribbean culture. I was lucky enough to get tickets to see some of my favourite soca artists KrosFyah, Lil Rick, Blaxx, Kes The Band, Benjai and others, all performing at Alexandra Palace.
I’ve been to plenty of concerts/ live performances, but this was my very first soca concert and it definitely got me warmed up for carnival. It also got me a totally unexpected chance to meet soca's equivalent of super man: Machel Montano! A great friend working at CALO ushered me through the previously impenetrable barrier to the magical land of backstage. In spite of my unprofessional camera looking like something that was produced by Fisher Price and an excited-fan facial expression, a wave of my press wristband granted me access to soca royalty.
Kes The Band definitely didn't disappoint with a high-energy performance. The crowd was so worked up when they emerged on stage, I was lashed in the face several times by the flag-waving of one enthusiastic lady. However, the sound of their song 'Wotless' (a certified favourite for this year's Notting Hill Carnival) increased the frenzy levels of the crowd as people jumped and waved and sang at the top of their voices.
As always, I had my YouLike IMake eye open during the night and bought some material from one of the stalls at CALO Festival to make some carnival-inspired earrings. Here is the first of hopefully many…