Revelers can look forward to a special treat during the launch of Xodus Sweet Treats on November 19, following the announcement that two of the island’s biggest carnival bands, Xodus Carnival and Bacchanal Jamaica, have joined forces for Jamaica’s 2023 Carnival.
The partnership will come to life at the band launch event, which will be held at Mona Hockey Field in Kingston.
According to Kamal Bankay, Chair of the Jamaica Carnival Stakeholders Committee and Director of Xodus Carnival, there was a desire to make the Jamaican Carnival a more unified experience.
“Principally, Carnival in Jamaica is about bringing two of Carnival’s biggest brands together for one immersive experience during the Carnival season,” Bankay said at a media briefing at the TacBar.
Xodus and Bacchanal notably agreed to and later hosted the staging of Jamaica’s 2022 Carnival in July this year after the government announced the reopening of the entertainment sector amid the waning of a challenging pandemic period. Now the two bands are aiming for an even closer collaboration.
Xodus Carnival director Scott Dunn and project manager Pierre Gobault, along with Bacchanal Jamaica directors Michael Ammar and Courtney Sylvester, signed an agreement this afternoon that will see the strengthening of Carnival in Jamaica. The addition of Bacchanal to the Xodus team will add to an all-star Caribbean cast including co-owners: Dream Entertainment (of Dream Weekend Fame) and Yuma, a key player in Trinidad and Tobago’s Mas, along with section partners and Disc jockeys from all over the Caribbean.
“Our story is about working together: We believe in that. We believe that friendships can turn into good business partnerships. When we first got involved in the carnival in 2019, Michael didn’t see us as competitors on the scene and took the path of the cutthroat, he was welcoming and very helpful,” shared Dunn.
He added: “Working with Bacchanal has been a pleasure. Having Bacchanal now as part of Xodus and letting their designers come up with their designs. Also, it will be overwhelming for people.”
Dunn explained that one of the main complaints they hear after every carnival production is the disconnect between friends choosing different bands to join and not being able to interact with them along the way.
Ammar, speaking of the carnival in Jamaica’s history of collaboration, pointed to the beginnings of Bacchanal Jamaica.
“Twenty-two years ago, seven carnival groups founded Bacchanal Jamaica at about the same time [as] here and we signed an agreement. For the past 20 years we have carried the Mardi Gras torch in Jamaica and tried to do our best to make our Mardi Gras the best in the world. Four carnivals ago, Xodus and Xaymaca hit the streets, and it blew up the carnival in Jamaica even more; They brought a whole new excitement to the streets and a whole new look. In recent years we’ve partnered with Xodus to share some of the back logistics to make things work on the road,” said Ammar.
“That year after we had Mardi Gras 2022 Scott, Pierre and I started a conversation about deepening and expanding this partnership and as it started I had a wish list of what I would like to see and Scott and Pierre said, send it to me; I did, and they accepted everything, except for minor things that didn’t matter. In the spirit of true partnership, they extended their friendly hand to us and we gave it back to them,” Ammar continued.
Ammar said the Bacchanal Jamaica team fully supports the request.
“Carnival is unity, and unity is strength,” was the clear message of the media briefing.