Miami Carnival Review 2013

The 2013 Miami Broward One Carnival took place during October 10-14, 2013. The annual festival was the highlight of the Columbus Day Weekend in Miami, Florida. As usual guest from around the world attended the annual event, including guests from New York, Atlanta, London, Trinidad and Tobago, Canada, and other metropolitan cities. There were various changes to the annual festival, which in past years included a lavish street parade including up to 40 troupes, groups, bands, and masqueraders! 

Some Like it…Some Like it NOT!


This year, the annual parade was taken off the road once again, and placed inside the Sunlife Stadium the home of the Miami Dolphins. This strategic move by the Miami Broward One Carnival Committee was rumored be unacceptable for some annual parade participants (Bands), which may have lead to a smaller parade inside the venue. A larger number of people who attended the festivities commented on their experience at the annual event. Experience is the key word in this year’s review of the Miami Broward One Caribbean Festival . Although many wanted the parade to be on the streets, the large majority of attendees and participants enjoyed a more intimate event experience. This year’s event offered a unique opportunity to celebrate one on one, with the parade participants, which allowed for many unique photos, and cultural engagement. There were various pros and cons of the compact venue, as stated below…


  • Parade participants enjoyed the ease passing through exclusive entrance lines, not conflicting with the attendees, who all entered through other entrances.
  • Photographers, media, and novice attendees, captured exclusive up close and personal memories of the annual festival.
  • Revilers commented that they missed the opportunity to share their costumes with annual parade onlookers,who normally don’t attend the festival. Also, many masqueraders didn’t enjoy that some attendees, broke through barriers to dance in the parade.
  • Cost of Venue and Parking varied for various attendees, the price included the parade and the festival activities.
  • The sights and sounds of a street parade, much like New York and Atlanta, may be a missed signature tradition for everyone, especially the young generation.
  • Vendors and live music was annual delight enjoyed by attendees, although some performances lack a signature Miami Carnival energy.

MADD FACTOR:It is important for these large festivals, which reflect Caribbean culture, to make it enjoyable. An enjoyable experience is key important to the development of the event, and also will gain the support of the community, and sponsors in each city.

  1. What can other large Caribbean festivals, such as New York and Atlanta, learn from Miami Broward Carnival? Although, each festival organization, has its own production issues, a clear focus on “Experience” vs “Production” was given, at this year’s event. Unlike the annual Atlanta’s Caribbean Festival, whose parade runs through the heart of the downtown Atlanta city streets, safety and other issues created a bad and unsafe experience for attendees and participants. New York annual festival is highly restrictive and is to date, one of the most violent out of the three festivals, however it is still the most respected due to political and international involvement, and has a large influential support team.
  2. Should Atlanta and New York attempt to follow in the foot steps of Miami? This will be an important decision that each committee will need to make this year. At this time, Atlanta is preparing for 2014, however a clear parade route has not been confirmed from the rumored 4 different organizations, trying to produce the annual festival. New York parade might be easily produced at the Brooklyn Barclays Stadium, for a more controlled environment. This is a judgment call that each city will have to make when planning the next festival.
  3. Why was the Miami Festival so successful? It could have been a lack of sleep, or exhaustion, which may have prompted attendees to report that they enjoyed the experience. However, the surrounding events of Miami Carnival, not only cost a pretty penny, but are memorable. These events often lead up to the festival, which creates momentum for die hard fans. This year the Carnival Committee hosted the King and Queen of the Band Competition, but also a traditional style outside Jouvert, which was very well attended .
  4. What grade does Miami get this year? Its simple.. a “B+”, unlike Atlanta, who received an “F” for lack of safety towards children plus other issues, earlier this year. Miami saw the importance of “EXPERIENCE”, not only with the festival component but the parade as well. Troupes/Bands such as the Wassi Ones, welcomed masqueraders with open arms, and a focus on the participants was as important, as the stage show, vendors, and other factors. The B+ grade was given because Miami missed the importance of sharing the cultural experience with a street parade,with the less fortunate people that can’t afford to attend and other cultures who enjoy seeing the costumes, troupes, and masqueraders annually. I am hopeful that there will be a happy medium with both soon, but this may be the “NEW NORMAL”! It would be very interesting to see if New York and Atlanta festivals, will also place their parades inside a controlled environment such as the Sun Life Stadium, Barclays Stadium,New York, and Turner Field, Atlanta,GA, in 2014.


Written By Michael Thomas

Photo Credit: Augustus Laurencin

2 thoughts on “Miami Carnival Review 2013

  1. Every plan is not for every locale. While Miami has adopted the stadium “experience” it has taken away much from the masquerade bands and the masqueraders themselves. The parade now lacks a community element which alienates non-Caribbean people and flushes away sponsorship dollars because the parade has been marginalized. The result is high prices at the stadium between parking and entry, which has led to a considerably smaller audience. New York garners millions from its street parade and and audience in the hundreds of thousands. Despite the “violence”, the street is a vital part of the carnival’s economy. Atlanta has and can continue with an enclosed environment only as their carnival is half the size of Miami and does not presently have the economic, social or political impact of the WIADCA Labor Day parade.

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