On-Site Trinidad Carnival: Fantastic Friday in the Desperadoes Panyard
Fantastic Friday, as the last Friday before Trinidad Carnival really kicks into high gear is known, truly lived up to its moniker for me! I got a chance to take in some of the pageantry of the Kings and Queens competition at the Queens Park Savannah. I also got a taste for the spectacle that is the Soca Monarchs competition. Both events complemented each other nicely, with the more subdued Kings and Queens forming a nice appetizer for the pulse-pounding energy put on by the top soca performers in the world.
To cap things off, though, I split the difference and ended up here, in the Desperadoes Pan Yard.
Last year, I was lucky enough to experience a few pan yards weeks before the penultimate National Panorama Competition. The energy and excitement then, though incredible, paled in comparison to what I witnessed late last Friday night. Panorama was less than 24 hours away, so the tension and anticipation well exceeded what I had enjoyed before.
Even with everything at stake, though, the overall mood was very open and welcoming. Drinks flowed and people talked, laughed and danced as the band went through the final preparations. A one-legged man on crutches put any pain aside, waving his sticks in the air as he hopped around in salute to the sweet steelpan being performed. The whole place was alive with smiles.
As you can see in the video above, Desperadoes was running on all cylinders. This is a taste of their very last rehearsal prior to hitting the Big Stage the following night.