Pickstock Carnival Band and Mother Nature’s Creation are 2013 Road March Champions Print E-mail
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Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 19 September 2013 00:00

Carnival 2013 Junior champt (top) and Senior champsPickstock Carnival Band and Mother Nature’s Creation earned a year’s worth of bragging rights on Saturday, September 14th, when they were named the 2013 Junior and Senior Carnival Road March Champions.

In the words of Patrick Thompson, President of the Belize Carnival Association, “All the bands were really impressive this year. It was the most colourful Carnival I have ever seen.” Thousands of Belizeans shared that opinion as they gathered in large numbers along the stretch of Central American Boulevard and Princess Margaret Drive to witness the spectacular road march.

There were thirteen bands participating in the road march this year; including, one from Seine Bight and one from Dangriga. Competing in the junior band category were Pickstock Carnival Band from the Victoria Street area, Black Pearl Carnival Band from the Queen Square area, Jump Street Posse from the Albert Street area, Sunshine Masqueraders from the Yarborough (Southside) area and Irahunu Mas Band from Dangriga. Wipeout Carnival Band from Seine Bight, which has dominated the Placencia Peninsula’s competition in recent years, also participated in the junior section this year but not competitively. Competing in the senior band category this year were Trench Town Masqueraders, Eternity Mass Band from Lake Independence, Belizean Jewels from Euphrates Avenue, Evolution Mass Band from Fort George area, Mother Nature’s Creation from the St. Thomas Street area and Soca Warriors Mass Band based near Queen Square Primary School. Participating non-competitively in the senior band section was Erotic Mass Band.       

The Carnival Road March was scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and some team leaders were out on Caesar Ridge Road from before 11 a.m. Most revelers came out around 12 noon. Between 12 and 1 the Carnival Association organized the groups and counted the revelers for each. To compete for the Carnival Road March title all junior bands must have at least 75 revelers and all senior bands must have at least 100. If a band does not meet the required amount of revelers they will participate in the Carnival under the small bands category and not as a road march contender. As is usually the case, Caesar Ridge Road looked extremely chaotic between 12 and 1 p.m. while the groups were getting into formation; however, the Carnival Road March moved off on schedule and did so smoothly. There was no change in the route for the road march this year and following Grand Marshall Stanley Lizama were the junior bands. 

Junior bands include children as young as 3-years-old. They are usually bursting with energy at the start of the road march and the revelers dance choreographed steps, usually to the latest and most popular soca songs. Because the journey can be weary, they are judged early in the route, on Central American Boulevard in front of Trinity Street. The senior bands are separated from the junior bands by floats. The floats that stood out this year were from the Belize Tourism Board, Bowen and Bowen Limited and, of course, the Pantempers Steel Orchestra. Following the floats are the senior bands. Revelers in the senior bands are more freestylers than choreographed dancers. Their best is usually seen later in the road march after the spirits kick in – then it is organized anarchy. They are judged on Central American Boulevard near the Belize City Center. This year’s judges are Sandra Morris Bell, Desmond Austin, Deryck Satchwell and Dawn Campbell – Adderley. Bell is a third generation costume designer from the artistic Morris family of Belmont, Port of Spain, Trinidad. Austin, also Trinidadian born, is the General Manager of Retail Banking at the Belize Bank Limited. Satchwell is a career educator and cultural scholar. Campbell- Adderley is a dance choreographer and founding member of the Belize Creative Dancers which paved the way for the Belize Dance Company.

The bands are judged based on four criteria. There is a maximum of twenty points awarded to the group before the road march takes off. Another twenty points is awarded based on durability of costumes. The judges award as much as twenty points on the presentation and depiction of the theme. The heaviest weighted judging criterion is Carnival Spirit. A maximum of forty points is awarded based on energy and movements of the revelers. The road march ended at the BTL Park and the Carnival Committee announced the winners. In the junior competition, Sunshine Masqueraders finished in third place with 297 points. Jump Street Posse finished second with 301.5 points. Pickstock Carnival Band was named junior champions with a total of 323.5 points. In the senior competition, Soca Warriors finished third with 319.5 points. Belizean Jewel finished second with 325 points. Mother Nature’s Creation reclaimed the throne as Carnival champions with 334 points.