New York Carnival 2023 gets Brooklyn jumping up from the kickoff on August 10, through Voicey’s Long Live Soca Tour, SocaFest, Junior Carnival, Panorama, Sunrise Day Soiree, J’ouvert, many fêtes, to a big climax at the West Indian Day Parade on Labor Day, Monday, September 4, 2023. 🇹🇹
The festival draws on many Caribbean traditions including: Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Barbados, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Saint Vincent and Granada, Guyana, Suriname, and Belize.
The parade draws around two million people to Brooklyn every year. The parade route is lined with carts selling Caribbean home food and drink, so bring some cash to enjoy. We recommend the curry goat!
New York Carnival 2023
Many Americans think Carnival is only on Carnival Tuesday (Mardi Gras). Actually the community begins preparations months before, things get lively in the last month, and jump up in the last week. If you really want the full experience, join a mas (masquerade marching group).
The New York Carnival 2023 Kickoff Celebration is at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; on Thursday, August 10, 2023, from 6-10pm. 🇹🇹
The Long Live Soca Tour headlined by Aaron “Voice” St Louis brings lots of Trinidadian soca and dancehall to the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Park; on Labor Day Thursday, August 31, 2023 from 4-11pm. From $70. 🇹🇹
- The lineup includes: Voice, Skinny Fabulous, Lyrikal, Nadia Batson, Nailah Blackman, Iwer George, GBM Nutron, Ding Dong, Mical Teja, Olatunji, Vghn, Adam O, Pumpa, VWV Team: Major Penny, DJ Elon, Travis World, Akeem 5.0 and Salty.
SocaFest is a big night of soca music at the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Park; on Labor Day Friday, September 1, 2023, from 8pm – 3am. From $75. 🇹🇹
- The lineup includes: KES The Band, Bunji, Fayann and the Viking Band, Olatunji, Skinny Fabulous, Ravi B, Farmer Nappy, Tempa, V’ghn, Jadel, Mical Teja, Adam O, Jimmy October, Tallpree
New York Junior Carnival is a children’s parade and party at the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Park on Labor Day Saturday, September 2, 2023 at 8am. $12. 🇹🇹
New York Carnival Panorama brings some of the best steel pan players and bands to the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Park; on Labor Day Saturday, September 2, 2023, at 7pm. $39. 🇹🇹
- Performers include: Metro Steel Orchestra, D’Radoes, Pan Evolution Steel Orchestra, CASYM Steel Orchestra, Despers USA, Steel Sensation, Pan in Motion, and the Harmony Steel Orchestra.
The Sunrise Day Soiree New York is a Caribbean food and drink party at the Brooklyn Museum in Prospect Park; on Labor Day Sunday, September 3, 2023. From $93. 🇹🇹
New York J’Ouvert 2023, the traditional sunrise festival of throwing paint, celebrates the United Nations designation of World Steelpan Day. The party starts on Flatbush Avenue at Empire Blvd, moves across Empire Blvd with performances at Bedford Ave and Rogers Ave, turns south on Nostrand with performances at Maple St, and ends at Midwood St; on Labor Day Monday, September 4, 2023 from 6-11am. Facebook @Jouvertcity 🇹🇹
NOTE: The local community will party all night, but if you’re not from the community, wait for dawn. We don’t expect trouble, but there have been problems in prior years. Be safe. Remember One Love!
The West Indian Day Parade 2023 marches on Eastern Parkway from Schenectady to Grand Army Plaza; in Crown Heights, Brooklyn; on Labor Day Monday, September 4, 2023 at 11am. FREE. 🇹🇹
#newyorkcarnival #lovenycarnival #wiadacarnival
Trinidadian and West Indian Traditions
New York Carnival is based on Trinidad Carnival, the “Mother of Caribbean Carnival.” What began as playful mocking at home of French plantation owners’ Mardi Gras masquerade balls, exploded into a celebration of freedom when abolition finally arrived (1833-38).
It’s Trinidad culture, but many of the traditions are rooted in the Diaspora of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). It spread Haitian culture around the Caribbean, including to New Orleans where it gave birth to jazz; and to Trinidad where it gave birth to Caribbean Carnival.
In Trinidad, Carnival is still a pre-Lenten festival, but many former English colonies celebrate at other times of the year. Today, Trinidad Carnival traditions are celebrated in various forms around the world, all year long.
It’s Soca Time and More
This is the time of year when you can hear lots of soca in Brooklyn, plus African afrobeats, Jamaican reggae, and Haitian kompa.
Soca is a Trinidadian blend of calypso and South Asian traditions that Garfield Blackman started in the 1940s. Trinidad has a South Asian plurality, so the blend makes sense.