by Latoya Burnham
They might as well be known as the ‘travelling carnival posse’ because that’s exactly what Caroline Jemmotte, Gillian Brown and their group of 30-odd persons from the United Kingdom have become.
And as Caroline and Gillian lounged in the sun at Soca Royale on Sunday, soaking up the sun and sweet soca music, the two said although economic times have reduced the size of their posse, for sure more than 20 were still headed to Barbados for the last lap of Crop-Over.
Caroline, who grew up in Montserrat but now lives in the UK, explained that she had been coming to Barbados for Crop-Over since 1993, and so far has not missed a single year.
Her friend Gillian on the other hand, started her trips about two years later, and she too has made it her business to be here each year for the biggest events of the festival.
But Barbados is not the only place they go to play mas’.
“I’m a carnival player. This year I went to Montserrat, then Trinidad, then to Berlin, now Crop-Over. Next is Notting Hill in London and then Miami,” said Caroline.
Gillian chimed in, “It is just that we love a great carnival. You can’t help yourself, you just have to come back time and time again.”
This year the crew said they’ve switched bands for Kadooment Day to see if they can have a different experience.
“Well, this year we changed bands. We’re with Baje International, but we would usually have jumped with Power X Four. I think change is good. Sometimes you can get really used to a band, so we decided to try something different,” said Gillian. “The first year I jumped, I jumped with Baje International, then Power X Four, now Baje again.”
Caroline said they continued to return each year because they were guarantee to not only have fun, but a relatively safe time.
“I think generally I like the calypso and such. So I would go to Pic-O-De-Crop; I went to a pan concert [Saturday] and that was really good. But Barbados generally has a safe carnival, whereas Trinidad isn’t. In Trinidad you have to watch your back. In Barbados I can get in the car, go out with friends, it doesn’t really matter because it is a safe carnival.”
They said too that they tried as much as possible to get a taste of as many different kinds of events within the Crop-Over calendar as is possible and depending on finances which are a consideration for several persons in the group now.
“I grew up in Montserrat, so I am used to calypso and all that. I like those, whereas Gill doesn’t. So it is a mixture of the private events like Glow and things like that, and then the more public events,” said Caroline. Gillian added; “We’d choose them all if we could. We’d party from the day we get here till the day we leave if we could. So it doesn’t matter. We get recommendations from other people saying go here or go there. So this year we are trying a few other things we haven’t done before.”
Gillian has been here for about two weeks now, while Caroline came in last Wednesday, and the two friends were simply waiting for the rest of the posse to arrive during the course of the week to escalate the partying. Their annual jaunt has so become a much talked about thing among their circle of friends that it has grown and grown.
“We’ve got quite a few other friends coming in now. From tomorrow everyone will begin coming in, so there will be loads of us. Normally it would be roughly about 30, because there is a guy called Martin Jay and he is a Choice [FM] DJ. He’s big into soca, so he comes over and even does his show here. He has a soca show in London that he does from here.
“He’s really big and normally we would play football with some of the Bajan locals and we would go on a cruise, but because of the economy a lot more people are finding it difficult, so there’s less of them coming. But even so, there will be enough of us here to have a good time,” said Gillian.
The duo, after their August 5 Grand Kadooment revelry down to Spring Garden and a few more days of enjoyment will leave Barbados on August 9. [email protected]