BIG TURNOUT ON THE STREETS OF VICTORIA MARKS FIRST COMBINED #FESTIVALKREOL AND CARNAVAL PARADES
(Posted 29th of October 2017)
Yesterday afternoon, Saturday, did the annual Festival Kreol, the 32nd of its kind, reach its public climax when the parade juggernaut began to waltz into Victoria.
The Seychelles capital with the byname ‘Capital of the Creole World‘ or ‘Kapital Lemonn Kreol‘. While activities continue up to the evening of the 31st of October, when the curtain falls over the 2017 edition with the traditional ‘Bal Asosye‘ was the parade through the city the most anticipated event by foreign tourist visitors who packed every available hotel and resort room on Mahe.
(Festival Kreol flag parade)
Started in 1985 as a manifestation of the archipelago’s Creole culture and heritage – Creole is after English and French the third national language and spoken by literally every Seychellois – has the festival grown in leaps and bounds since then.
This year was the festival parade combined with the Carnaval de Carnivals, the Carnival International of Victoria, which as captured the imagination of the global ‘Carnevalistas‘ like few other events as it brought the world of carnival and its leading names to the Seychelles between 2011 and 2016, when the arguably last stand along edition, the largest and best organized ever, swept over Victoria.
The event organization was also for the first time vested in CINEA, the new Creative Industries and National Events Agency, headed by Galen Bresson.
(Galen Bresson eyes the setup of the VIP and Press stands ahead of the parade)
As he expressed during the media briefing a day before the parade, did the organization face challenges vis a vis budgets, funding and the lack of institutional memory but brought on board both the Ministry of Tourism through the Seychelles Tourism Board and the Ministry of Culture to draw from past experience to organize such a mega event.
(Footage courtesy of Kojo Bentum Williams from VoyagesAfriq in Ghana)
While the traditional carnival powerhouses like Brazil and Germany were sadly absent this year did the Notting Hill Carnival once again make an award winning appearance, closing the parade to the wild applause of spectators who had packed the sidewalks along the carnival route.
Also present was Reunion Island, a faithful supporter of past Carnival editions and regular participant in the Festival Kreol too, Mauritius including the island of Rodrigues with two floats / groups, India with several floats and a navy detach plus marching band which delighted the onlookers.
(Getting the show on the road is the Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture Mrs. Mitcy Larue)
South Africa too was once again present and no one minded having a tongue stuck into their faces as the performers prompted cheers cat whistles from the crowd just as they did during the last Carnival edition in 2016.
(The South African performers once again delighted the crowds)
(The kids always enjoy being at the centre of attention)
(Entire families made their ways to the parade standing at the roadside)
(Getting ready for the parade, toddlers included)
(‘LOOK AT MY PICTURE I JUST TOOK OF THEM’)
(An Indian navy unit from a visiting cruiser standing to attention in front of the Seychelles Vice President)
(An affirmation on one of the Indian floats of the excellent relations between the two countries)
(Two youngsters peeping through the fence which separated the VIP and press viewing
area from the main road)
(… and that is what captured their undivided attention, a Seychellois Kreol Wedding Party)
(‘Wedding guests‘ clearly having a good time …)
(There was some speculation if the contents of the bottle were indeed
just water or perhaps, given the jovial mood of the participants, some
(Local media reporting from the Festival Kreol parade)
(Performances galore and in all colours)
(… and aiming to be on top …)
(Local participants … )
(Others from overseas …)
(… and then the one and only …)
(… Notting Hill Carnival from London, truly faithful to the Seychelles’ events)
(… and unlike in past years, this sort of costume was the exception … probably much to the regret of many in the crowd … )
In just over two hours had the juggernaut waltzed by the VIP and Press stages to the applause of Seychelles’ who is who, Vice President, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament and Diplomatic Corps included.
(Seychelles Vice President H.E. Vincent Meriton and the Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine Maurice Loustau-Lalanne)
And then it was as usual time for fun, food and of course drink, the latter from Takamaka rum to SeyBrew beers and rush to the stalls was instant the moment the last float had passed and though some remained to still enjoy the attention of photographers others were already busy ‘tanking up‘.
(The Mumbai based ‘House of Misu‘ crew in a dignified wait while others, oh well see for yourself … )
(… did enjoy a cold one straight from the bottle …)
The merry making went on till late at night on Freedom Square where the big crowds gathered to listen to Creole music, enjoyed street food and made merry till the wee hours of the night.
(Image courtesy of Joey Nicles, a France bases Mauritian Fashion and Travel photographer)
And in closing, due recognition to the Seychelles Tourism Board staffers who looked after the invited media and made sure all our small and big requests were fulfilled. A big thank you to that team!
(Second from left is Mrs. Natacha Servina who looked after the media group I was part of)