Photo: Stephen Clarke
Swanky International is renowned for setting the benchmark amongst Mas
Bands and driving force Craig Fredericks is determined that this
situation will not just continue but take Cayman Carnival Batabano to
the highest level yet.
“This is our sixth year and already in March we had exceeded costume sales compared to 2011. Our goal and our expectation is that we will have 300 people with Swanky International at Batabano.
“Ten years ago if you had said that then people would have laughed at you but here we are proving that it can be done and we have done it,” he says.
One of the many strengths of the Mas Band is that it truly is International – hence the name, of course.
“Just off the top of my head we have people from Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Jamaica, Cuba, Honduras, Cayman, the Brac, Trinidad, France, Barbados.
“And it is such a brilliantly diverse group on the road from all sorts of different backgrounds. We have teachers, lawyers, accountants, students, bank tellers, unemployed people – they still all jump together at carnival with Swanky.”
The Swanky chief said that the last five or six years had seen a tremendous amount of hard work in order to get to this point which is now reaping the rewards.
“We have really built the reputation that we have and now we can say people experience Carnival at a level like they never have before. We intend to keep growing.
“Once you do it with Swanky once then you really do become addicted. You get that first taste and absolutely cannot wait for more.
You know, we had people registering for 2012 a week after Batabano 2011,” says Craig.
There will be a weekend chockablock with activities for what Craig calls by far the best weekend in the Cayman Islands. He also has a message for anyone who’s unsure as to what it’s all about.
“This is Caribbean culture; Cayman is right at the centre of the region. Let us enjoy our culture, let us have fun and above all let’s all enjoy Carnival.”
The Swanky events will kick off on Saturday 28 April with Swanky’s Limin’ by the Tree to be held at Mango Tree, featuring an old skool soca jam.
Then Swanky will be kicking off the big Batabano weekend early with Swanky’s Warm-up Swanky Hour Boat Cruise on Thursday 3 May.
The party will really explode on Friday 4 May with the Batabano Friday Concert at Royal Palms. Mr. Fete… The Concert will feature Machele Montano, whose soca rhythms will have everyone dancing the night away.
On Saturday 5 May it is the big day, where Swanky will aim to defend its Band of the Year title as the Swanky crew takes to the road for the Batabano Parade in a riot of colour to the beats of the best DJs out there. That will be followed by an after party for those who still have the energy to keep on going.
The weekend will close out on Sunday 6 May with Swanky’s Boat Lime at Rum Point, giving everyone that one last chance to make the most of Cayman Carnival Batabano.
Swanky will be jumping with the support of What’s Hot Magazine, Automotive Art, Coconut Car Rentals, Treasure Island Resort, H2Only, FastSigns, Cayman Turtle Farm, Svedka Vodka, Reflections, and Tribal Knights Carnival.