ONE country was able to have its very first carnival while other carnivals around the world were cancelled or postponed because of the covid19 pandemic.
Vienna, Austria, held a carnival on July 19. Its first carnival had approximately 300 participants. Participants danced to the songs of soca, dancehall, Afrobeats and reggae through Vienna’s streets. It also featured speakers addressing topics such as the history of carnival, the abolition of slavery, the Canboulay Riots and anti-racism. And anywhere there’s a carnival, there’s a Trini.
Trinidadian Jevvon Brewster is one of the event’s organisers along with Anna Igbeta and Sandra Kalmar. The trio met up at a Black Lives Matter march and decided to come together to rally against racism, they said in WhatsApp responses to Newsday.
“After all, with all that has been taking place globally, we decided what better way to bring people together than through a carnival which encourages unity in diversity, equality and love.”
The group said it was able to host the physical carnival because “Austria moved very swiftly when dealing with all covid19-related issues and has been doing well in regards to percentage of cases versus the size of our population.”
As of July 28, Austria had 20,558 confirmed cases with a population size of 8.77 million people.
The group applied for permission to demonstrate and got the necessary approvals from the state.
“It was held as an open-air demonstration and all participants were asked to wear masks. We loaded up on hand sanitisers and asked people to maintain social distancing to the best of their ability; while rallying for a cause,” the group said.
While the group’s link to carnival is Brewster, the team has been to almost 60 carnivals globally since 2008 and has attended TT’s Carnival “many times.”
The group added that it appreciates what TT’s Carnival historically stands for which is inclusion, freedom, togetherness, empowerment and upliftment. The trio plans to host a carnival every year.
“We intend to grow and develop it through collaborations with as many entities who share the same vision of unity, equality, togetherness and love,” they said.
The group is also open to exploring and strengthening linkages to TT Carnival.
It said its network includes people who are a part of TT’s culture and heritage and range from entertainers to officials.