The Festival Green at Camana Bay will be transformed into a sea of color on Friday night when one of Cayman’s legendary mas bands takes to the stage to reveal its 2016 themed designs. Swanky International has gone with “Desire” this year, and if the costumes are anything like what’s been witnessed in the past, the public is in for a rare treat.
The West Indies Wine Company is presenting the event that begins at 8 p.m. and finishes at 10 p.m., featuring international guests and entertainment, with a fashion show – otherwise known as the Costume Band Launch Spectacular.
History of Swanky International
The Swanky International band first exploded onto the scene in the 2007 Batabano parade – the brainchild of Craig “Festa” Frederick, who has been behind the growing success of the group ever since.
“I was a regular at Miami Carnival when I was at school in Tampa,” Frederick said. “I fell in love with [it all] and knew that I was destined to make a difference in my own carnival.”
The name of the band is attributed to Christen Suckoo, who suggested a truly Caymanian moniker. Many locals grew up enjoying the Swanky drink, made from fresh limes and brown sugar, and Frederick liked it, so it stuck.
Although Swanky has been seen on many roads in the Cayman Islands over the years, Frederick is ambitious about taking the mas band international – bringing Cayman carnival to streets elsewhere in the world.
“The flavor of Swanky is much the same that you’ll find with Carnival Tribe Mas Band in Trinidad, or Tribal Knights of Toronto,” he said. “I am a person that believes [that with] everything I do, I have to reach for the stars.”
The band already has a remarkably international flavor, as there are many overseas participants that dance in the group, and each year that number increases.
There’s no question that Frederick has big plans for the future and a taste of his vision will be seen at the event on Friday night.
“Every year our goal is to increase our quality and raise the level our masqueraders have come to expect,” he concluded.
Tickets for the Costume Band Launch Spectacular are $10 for general admission and $50 for VIP access. For more information and a list of ticket outlets, see www.swanky.ky.