For the last several weeks I have been writing about Trinidad and Tobago and all the places I explored on my second trip here. Well as much fun as I have had seeing all the stuff I missed two years ago, the main reason I returned was to experience Carnival in Trinidad. This is reputed to be the second largest Carnival in the whole world after only Rio in Brazil…..and a lot safer!!!!
The first event that was recommended to me was called Old Yard and took place the weekend before the main events. It was set on the Open Campus of the University of the West Indies in St Augustine and was a great show. The students and staff of the university have put the show on for over a decade and do it by researching carnivals from the mid twentieth century and revived many of the characters and performances. Here is what a website had to say about it:
“The UWI’s Department of Creative and Festival Arts invites you to our annual carnival event, “The Old Yard” on Sunday 16th February, 2020, at noon. Situated in the new Gayelle at DCFA, Gordon Street- transformed into the architectural style reminiscent of long ago, this event promises to offer a dynamic mix of a journey into cultural history and a carnival masquerade showcase within the format of a heritage fair.
Witness portrayals of our very own traditional Carnival characters including Bats, Minstrels and Burrokeets, Midnight Robber, Dame Lorraine among others. A special feature of this year’s installment of The Old Yard will be the “Mas Camp Corner”, where children will be given the opportunity to create their own mas and be part of our jump-up for a small fee.”
Everything about the event was a great warm up to this years carnival. I got to try some tradition carnival street food, see some old carnival games played, and best off see two dozen or so acts. Each with a different character and costume on stage as we sat in bleachers. It was a perfect warm up to carnival and I recommend you go, but I must admit I think each act lasted twice as long as they needed to and it bogged the afternoon down just a little bit.