ASH J’ouvert was a total black-out
The All Soca Heathens, ASH for short, J'ouvert event did not follow the usual routine of hosting the pigmented powder-throwing fete the day before the grand masquerade as is traditional of most Caribbean islands, yet it received a large turnout of individuals who could not wait to partake in the ritual.
The expansive grounds of the Sabina Park parking lot, from the Melbourne Road entrance, was the place for Saturday's fete that pushed patrons to palance and pelt each other with the hard-to-wash off, dark, powdery substance.
No doubt, Jamaica's first charcoal j'ouvert was a success, but with a few minor issues.
But the charcoal was in abundance, which played the role of inspiring the dirty dancing and wild behavior of partygoers as drink mixes would normally do.
Speaking of mastering mixes, the disc jockeys on the wheels-of-steel rotated top tracks of the carnival season that had the socaphiles singing and moving along to the sounds of Preedy, vocalizing 'ben ova pick it up, you know I just cannot ignore, look over dey' in Lost & Found. And Motto and Skinny Fabulous' Pick Your Position lyrics, instructing 'pick your position gyal aye', made it felt as though the Trinidadian soca artistes were performing live.
One well-admired Trinidadian took centre-stage and made certain the wildness did not stop at the "ash-dash". Social media personality and dancer Denisha 'Inhalemee' Burton had females dashing out and dropping legs on the stage as well as in the crowd. Inhalemee described the whole experience, "as an epic movie" to dance not only to the music of her home but current dancehall hits, Cha Cha Bwoy and Di Good Ting Dem by Ding Dong and Good P***y Gyal Fi Get Tings by Gage and just be herself.
All the antics did not end on stage when all the lights and speakers went out inside the venue signalling that the music truck was ready for the mini mas'. It took patrons through the gates on Emerald Road along the perimeter of Sabina that even the guests who selected to party in the ash-free zone could not resist to follow and "fete dutty" with more charcoal in a disorganised Conga line (used as an excuse to wine behind their neighbour).
One patron, Dannae Bramwell left with a swollen ankle, sprained wrist and blonde hair turned black but said, "It was all worth it." While another group leaving the venue labelled the event, "a total blackout ... being in a zone where we lost all inhibition."