CARIBBEAT: Counting down to the costumes, music, food and fun of the 2018 New York Caribbean Carnival

August 12, 2018


Final preparation is underway for the colorful costume-packed, music-filled New York Caribbean Carnival.

The five-day event — coming to Brooklyn Aug. 30 through Sept. 3 — features concerts and events on the grounds of the Brooklyn Museum, a youngsters parade, the massive New York Caribbean Carnival Parade of intricately-costumed masqueraders on Brooklyn's Eastern Parkway on Labor Day, along with an inviting street fair of food and drinks, arts and crafts, clothing and more.

The New York Caribbean Carnival is organized by the West Indian American Day Carnival Association — which works with the many mas bands, steel orchestras, musical performers, street vendors and city officials — to make the event happen every year for millions of spectators.

Visitors and tourists from around the world, scores of big-name Caribbean concerts and events, family reunions and cookouts are among the many happenings taking place during carnival time — further boosting the annual economic impact of the five-day period.

The official carnival events kick off with "Unda Di Stars, an eclectic show featuring reggae, Afrobeats and soca music performers, on Aug. 30, from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m.

The lineup includes Jamaica's Charly Black; Ayo Jay from Nigeria; and Nailah Blackman of Trinidad.

There will also be dancehall sounds from Kevin Crown; Afrobeat by DJ Don and DJ Buka; and soca from Triple 9 HD and Sound City International. Advance tickets are $35.

On Aug. 31, the Brassfest 2018 show brings some of the finest Caribbean ensembles and performers from the region to New York — including Trinidad and Tobago stars Destra Gracia and the Bakanal Band, Patrice Roberts, Lyrikal, Dil-E-Nadan, and Farmer Nappy; Motto and Freezy from St. Lucia; Marzville from Barbados; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines' Problem Child.

Tickets are $50 in advance and the concert runs from 7 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The carnival's Day 3 and 4 are youth-powered — featuring the Junior Carnival and the Summer Jam Youth Fest.

The free Summer Jam Youth Fest puts a spotlight on the young "rising stars" of the community, with live performances and inspirational and educational sessions on Aug. 31, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

On Sept. 1, the Junior Carnival — an anticipated procession of costumed children and teens —starts in Crown Heights and winds through neighborhood streets to the Brooklyn Museum. It begins at 9 a.m. — at Kingston Ave and St. Johns Place — and concludes at the Brooklyn Museum, where performances and costume competitions will be held. Admission to the museum grounds show is $5.

The Steelband Panorama — a musical steel drum competition between the Adlib Steel Orchestra, CASYM Orchestra, D’Radoes, Despers USA, Harmony, the Philadelphia Pan Stars, Pan Evolution, and Genesis Pan Groove — takes place Sept. 1, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Tickets are $45 in advance.

The Dimanche Gras show — adult costume competitions, and performances by Lord Nelson, Explainer, David Rudder, Denise Belfon, Ras Iley and others — takes place on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 in advance.

Unless otherwise noted, all pre-parade WIADCA events will be held on the Brooklyn Museum grounds.

Close to 40 groups of masqueraders will be displaying their creations on the parade route on Sept. 3. — from the 1199 SEIU Social Cultural Committee's Band theme "Festivals" to the New Horizon band's portrayal "Feather Of Feathers." The street fair highlighting Caribbean food and drinks is setup along the Eastern Parkway pedestrian malls.

For a complete schedule. a lineup of performers, and other information, visit

Sadly, WIADCA President William Howard died on Aug. 5, while preparing for this year's event. A memorial service Howard will be held Wednesday at Brooklyn's Laurence Woodward Funeral Home, 1 Troy Ave., at 3 p.m.