The bar hops, the Junior Batabano and J’Ouvert parades have all been leading up to this: the weekend of music, entertainment and the adult parade on Friday and Saturday.
Chairman of Batabano, Donna Myrie, said, “Batabano is Cayman’s biggest annual carnival, with colorful Mas bands as far as the eye can see. Every year it gets better, and 2016 will be no exception. I encourage everyone to come out and participate, whether in costume as part of a band, or cheering on the performers from the streets, as we look forward to the public’s support of this cultural tradition. It’s carnival time!”
Friday Night Fete
Harbour Drive, 9 p.m.
Downtown George Town is where you want to be for one of the biggest dance parties of the year. International artists take to the stage for an unforgettable evening of revelry to get you in the carnival mood.
Here is a taste of what you can expect:
Gamal Doyle is the unmistakably energetic soca artist from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, better known as Skinny Fabulous. This talented and versatile artist demonstrates his quick wit and the capacity to mesmerize the crowd while he is on stage. Always willing to push the boundaries of Caribbean music, Skinny Fabulous has a style that falls somewhere between soca and dancehall.
Upon meeting Stephenson “Shal” Marshall for the first time, people usually react with, “Wow, he’s got a great personality!” From hanging out with his close friends to delivering commanding performances on big stages across the globe; Shal’s easygoing charismatic persona has been credited for much of his success.
With more than eight years’experience in the entertainment industry, this 29-year-old all-rounder has secured many professional titles, including radio personality, TV host, promoter, master of ceremonies and, now, soca artist.
Trinidadian born Devon “Lyrikal” Martin started singing in the church choir when he was 7 years old. As a youngster, his biggest inspirations were Crazy, Shabba Ranks, Buju Banton, Bob Marley and Super Cat.
He migrated at age 13 to the United States, where he got heavily involved in soccer and track and field, but music prevailed, and by age 16 he was back at it, performing at block parties and talent shows. He opened for the Wu-Tang Clan at Club Wave and for Sean Paul on Staten Island, New York.
Lyrikal began to take his music career seriously in 2003, when he started to record. His first recording was at Dainjamentalz studio in New York, where he recorded “Tiger Bone.” Since then, he has managed to be a consistent voice on the airwaves worldwide and is now a sought-after performing artist. His music has taken him on tour to London, Bermuda, North America and the Caribbean.
Considered a role model among youth of Trinidad and Tobago, Akil Borneo has set high standards for himself and positive values. At a very young age he developed a passion for music and aspired to be an entertainment icon.
Akil is the co-owner of Associate Degree Sound System. His distinctive voice as MC of Associate Degree earned him a spot on Trinidad and Tobago radio station 96.1 FM in 2000. Over the years, Akil and Associate Degree have become one of the most sought-after groups in the Caribbean. His allotted time slots on radio are consistently ranked No. 1 in media surveys.
The Artiste Team
This group encompasses eight experienced DJs and mic men who have built their reputations from the ground up and are now featured on two of Trinidad and Tobago’s most influential radio stations (96.1WEFM and SLAM 100.5FM) and at some of the country’s hottest nightclubs.
The Artiste Team members have developed into the most requested DJs in Trinidad and are also the official track DJs for many prominent artists in Trinidad, such as Jaiga, Shal, K.I. and Machel Montano.
They are constantly and heavily booked regionally and internationally in places such as Guyana, Barbados, St. Lucia, Grenada, Antigua, Miami, Canada and New York.
Cayman band Unity will be featured with local singers Andrea Rivera and Jamesette Anglin.
This is the first year online tickets sales are available for the Friday Night fete. Ticket prices are $25 in advance and $30 at the gate.
Saturday Adult Batabano Parade
Public Beach to George Town, 1 p.m.
As last year’s route was such a success, the organizers have decided to once again take the parade from Public Beach on West Bay Road all the way to George Town. This means that no matter where you are, you can step out and watch the pageantry.
Line the streets to cheer on the Mas bands as they wind (and wine) their way down the road, slowly but surely, to their final goal of Harbour Drive, George Town. The costumes will be epic and colorful, so find a good spot from which you can see everything.
Just remember to wear sunscreen before you leave the house and carry plenty of water. You don’t want to look like a lobster by the end of the day.
Saturday Batabano Street Party
George Town, 6 p.m.
Stick around in George Town and be surrounded by three stages. You shall have music wherever you go! Listen for the EDM Hard Rock Stage with two international DJs and three local DJs; the Goring Avenue and South Church Street stages covering all the reggae and dancehall music you could ever want, and the main stage on Harbour Drive with soca music by two international DJs and three local DJs.
The party continues until midnight, leaving you the next day to recover.
Food and bars
Cardinall Avenue will be the go-to place for Cayman’s best local cuisine as 27 vendors will offer sumptuous meals.
Look for Cayman Spirits Company at the forefront of the bars with a supply of new beverages, served by costumed servers.
For more information, times and locations, see www.caymancarnival.com.