THE battle for this year's Road March title appears to be a two horse race between Kees Dieffenthaller's "Savannah Grass" and Machel Montano's "Famalay". This is how it appeared to be as spectators at the Queen's Park Savannah were treated to a mix of traditional and pretty mas yesterday. Kees took command of proceedings early on with his song being played approximately six times as masqueraders crossed the Savannah stage.
Later, Montano's "Famalay" made a strong surge, being played about four times. Overall, the events at the Savannah were all about good, clean revellry and not competition.Traditional mas was on display with Belmont Exotic Sailors giving the crowd a taste of sailor mas with presentations such as "Egret of the Queen's Park Savannah" and "Enchanted Egret." Then a group of costumed gorillas came rolling across the stage for fun. The presentations went dark as Mystery Raiders took spectators on a journey into the underworld with their Midnight Robber presentation "Anancy Story- Myth of Progress."
The music was lowered for a few minutes to allow the robbers to talk their talk. Baby Doll Helen Kennedy with her four strollers and 16 babies lightened the mood shortly afterwards. She amused the crowd by saying the 25 fathers of her 16 babies all left her to raise her children alone for reasons ranging from unemployment to crime. Kennedy then pulled out a huge baby bottle filled with condoms. She urged people to be responsible at Carnival time and not engage in unplanned sexual activities they would regret later.
"We don't want anymore sexual diseases," she said. Kennedy urged people to check out the Family Planning Association for more information. There was another sampling of traditional mas afterwards with Matthew Wylie in full bat costume playing "A tribute to Edgar Wiley-The Original Batman." Medium band Alliance Partners gave the crowd a view "Through the Glass Stained Window." Their presentation featured several masqueraders carrying flags on their backs of stained glass church windows.
Large band Tribe arrived at the Savannah around 1.05 pm with a glimpse into the Far East with "The Empire." Amongst the Tribe masqueraders, one man carried a sign with two hands pointing towards each other. The sign read "Throw waist here and let me touch it for yuh." Other masqueraders waved a pink flag bearing the logo of international animal rights organisation PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). This particular flag referred to PETA's efforts to stop rhino poaching.
Other masqueraders showed the heavy regional contingent within Tribe, waving flags of Caricom countries such as St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbados and TT. The band Escape presented some of TT's flora and fauna in their presentation "Paradise Isle". There was a large crowd of spectators at the Savannah to take in the festivities, including several tourists who arrived in shuttles. There was also a heavy police presence on the ground and police drones making routine passes over the Savannah.