By Stephen Weir & Craigg Slowly
Pictures by Anthony Berot
No Bunji Jumping this year, but Machel Mantano sure performed and danced up a storm. The Trinidad superstar was the crowning touch on Saturday’s massive costume launch for the newly reconstituted Atlantic Mas band.
The afternoon costume show and musical performance was held at Rebel Night Club on the Toronto Harbour’s Polson Pier. Caribbean Camera’s Craigg Slowly estimates there were over 2,000 paying costumers in the Rebel. slightly smaller crowd than last year’s launch but Saturday’s audience was fully engaged and quite loud too!”
The Atlantic Mas tried and true formula of bringing to the stage top Trinidad singing stars and beautiful models in stunning costumes worked its magic. Add to that a huge stage offering great sightlines and professional lighting with a terrific sound system, and you have a memorable band launch indeed.
Machel and the 50 or so stunningly beautiful men and women along with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh all made it onto stage for the band launch.
Apparently, T&T singing superstar Bunji Garlin was en-route to the launch when his plane was rerouted to Montreal because of high winds and rain in Toronto.
This is a new Atlantic – earlier in the year it didn’t look as though they would be in the Caribbean Carnival Parade because they were banned because of problems on the road during last year’s parade.
But Atlantic prevailed and will be part of the parade. They have been granted special non-competing band status in the 2019 that means that they will join the parade after the competing bands.
The Festival Management Committee – the owner of the Toronto Caribbean Carnival – has changed the structure of the parade itself. They have decided to allow mas bands to sell costumes to revelers while avoiding the judging process.
These bands are also exempted from taking part in all competitions.
The new non-competing rules for mas bands seemed to be okay with the large crowd on Saturday. They cheered on the BIG show featuring small costumes. The XX sections showed wide expanses of skin were covered with chains, necklaces and feathers rather than clothing. Machel despite showing a lot of grey in his beard and hair put on a full energy show in front of his “second” home – Toronto.
What is next for Atlantic? Setting up their camp and selling costumes of course. However, the big shocker at their launch was the onstage announcement that the band is also staging a number of events including a two-day music festival on the Toronto Islands.
It will take place on Caribana weekend with big name Soca acts
The Carnival Island Music Festival will be held on August 3rd and 4th on Hanlan’s Point on Toronto Islands. Atlantic says their festival will be the “biggest Island Music Festival in Toronto” and will feature “ top DJs, personalities and artist from around the Caribbean.”
Tickets for Atlantic Mas’ Carnival Island event are already on sale at the Mas Bands website.