Swanky International is one of the most-recognisable outfits at Batabano and constantly makes history by having the most masqueraders behind their bands. In 2008 they made history with 138 participants, then last year there were 160 givin’ it loads behind Skinny Fabulous, the soca artist that is again going to be out on the road. Swanky, this year, has teamed up with What’s Hot to bring the best and brightest sound and vision to Cayman Carnival Batabano 2010.
Craig Frederick of Swanky International says the whole team is looking forward to Batabano immensely.
“I’ve been to carnivals in Jamaica, Trinidad, Miami, Houston and a lot of other major carnivals. I wanted to bring that first-class product to Cayman so that people can experience Carnival without having to get on a plane.
“There’s so much going on with Swanky this year that I tingle when I think about Cayman Carnival Batabano,” he says.
It’s more than just the magnificent parade on 1 May, with Swanky behind several events that will delight the whole family.
Wednesday, 28 April
Swanky International and Panorama Steel Band have joined forces to introduce the first Annual Pan by the Bay at Camana Bay. It’s a non-alcohol, free admission event for the whole family to enjoy. Music starts at 7pm, so you have time to get home from work and get the kids ready with the first Steel Band set to perform at 7.30pm.
It will be the largest pan event Cayman has ever had, with bands from the high schools right up to the professionals, says Craig.
“We welcome all to come and get a true taste of riddims of the Caribbean and support our Caribbean culture,” he says.
Food and drinks will be on sale and there will be raffle prizes drawn during a unique evening that, Craig says, showcases a side of the shindig that is not always evident.
“We’re adding a whole new flavour to Batabano week. We’re going to show that Carnival culture is a lot more than just people getting drunk. Wednesday gives everyone a chance to taste true Caribbean culture.
“You can’t get more Caribbean than the steel pan so we’re very excited to join Panorama and we’re bringing out the high school bands too.”
Thursday, 29 April
Swanky International presents the fourth annual Swanky’s Foam Fete at the beach of the Ramada Grand Caymanian Resort. It’s the perfect way to kickoff Batabano weekend and get in the mood for Cayman Carnival, says Craig.
“Come join the Swanky crew as we play in the foam to the best soca tunes by internationally renowned deejays.
“This year is special; we have moved it to the beach and we are looking to have a great time. Party kicks off at 9pm and this is the only place to be for Batabano Thursday: come in your short pants, come with your flags, come with your whistles and come to get on bad.”
Saturday, 1 May
Swanky International takes to the Road with its 2010 theme, MASK-A-RAID.
Everything kicks off at the Marquee at 1pm and they will be going chipping down the road to downtown to the riddims of international and local deejays, with over 200 masqueraders, the VIBE/SPIN family and What’s Hot.
This is where the beauty and colour of Carnival is on display at its best with Swanky International returning this year to defend the coveted title of Band of the Year.
“We’re looking to be the first band ever to go through that 200-person march,” says Craig.
On past evidence, they’re gonna do it, too – so get on it, get involved and get down.