By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
BAHAMAS Junkanoo Carnival 2016 kicks off in style this evening at Taino Beach, with an aerobatic fly-in complete with parachute jumpers who will deliver the Bahamian flag for the official opening ceremony at the Cultural Village.
The Pre-Concert show follows with live performances from Bahamian artists, followed with performances by the 14 semi-finalists in the Music Masters Competition.
Taking the stage this year are Sammi Star, last year’s winner; Terrelle Tynes-Wilson and Georgina Ward of Grand Bahama; Colyn McDonald, Avvy, Khiara Sherman and Sonovia Pierre who all competed in the inaugural carnival last year.
Among new competitors are Bantangy, Ebony, Fanshawn, Exec, Jive, Lady E, Lisa Jayne and Lattia.
Lededra Marche, Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival (BJC) public relations official in Freeport, said it is still too early to determine ticket sales but anticipates that the turnout will exceed the 30,000 last year.
“We are expecting the numbers to surpass last year’s as there are a few new elements introduced this year,” she said. Ms Marche said that a 5km run, the Air Show and Strawtastic fashion show have been added to the roster of events.
Yolanda Hanna, from BJC Freeport, says this year will be bigger and better, with both Bahamians and international artists performing.
“We are putting on an event that is authentically Bahamian where persons will have a fantastic time; there will be an Air Show, Beach Party, Beach Olympics and the Music Masters semi-finals, and so much more,” she said.
The concert line-up of top Bahamian entertainers includes Ronnie Butler, Visage, Julien Believe, Stileet, D-Mac, Jay Mitchell, Geno D, Jay Troy, Jay Hem, and Racquel Oliver.
The international artists performing are King Bubba, Ricardo Drue, Jack Nasty, Serwin Windcesiter, Olatunji and Fadda Fox.
“We have a number of international media coming too, and this will provide our Bahamian entertainers with the opportunity to be seen and to showcase their talent as never before,” Ms Hanna said.
Karen Ferguson-Bain, the entertainment director, said there will be a Native Show feartuing artists such as Lil Joe Cartwright, Tim Fire, Smurf and Mango Man. There will be a Junknaoo Rush Out and performances by Grand Bahama Youth Choir, Grand Bahama Youth Steel Band, Legends Marching Band, Deep South Island Boys and Back Yard Quadrille Dancers.
Ophie and the Webbsite, Wilfred Solomon and The Magnetics, Matrixx Band, Grand Bahama Police Force Band, Xclusive and Bahamas Dance Theatre are also expected to impress the audience.
Minister for Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville, reported that the first BJC had a tremendous impact on the island, resulting in the temporary employment of 600 people. He also noted that it resulted in a 5.7 per cent drop in unemployment during the period.
Organisers are forecasting a local expenditure around $1.2m, the same as last year.