Off2/In2 : Carnival 2011 - from the inside -

From the first time we heard about The Carnival of Barranquilla, we knew it would be an event that we would have to cover in-depth... and what a better way to do this than from the inside?
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Check the Video of us... In the Parade! =>
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Mickael & Josian creators of Off2
Thursday 3rd of March 2011, here we are - in Santa Marta -
trying to find our costumes and accessories that will make us look cool amongst the troupe “Disfraces como tu quieres” (dress-up like you want).
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Vincianne & PachoA taxi driver points us to a street displaying hundreds of improvised stalls selling masks, feathers, jewels, flowers in an endless parade of colours and noise... What a surprise to see how popular the festival is in the whole country! It felt like the party was actually going to happen here, in Santa Marta (and it actually certainly did).

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=> There are many Carnival of Barranquilla parties taking place everywhere in Colombia, we even heard there was a mini Carnival of Barranquilla in Chile.

We found some great colourful costumes and were now ready to hit wild Barranquilla & meet our fellow dancers. Saturday morning, 10.30 am, we are all here on the rooftop terrace of our friend Tina, a fashion designer who surely made this carnival very special for all of us. The mood is more than jolly, there are a bit less than 30 of us and we're about to join a group of approximately 200. Some are getting the final touches to their makeup, some adjusting their costumes, some practising their dance steps, but most of them are drinking rum by the bottle. Ho Yes, it's gonna be a looong day of dancing in the tedious tropical sun and we will have to get hydrated...

12.00, we are all getting on a small bus (no idea how we managed to fit in there) and we are starting to feel the heat and the excitement growing.
More and more rum is circulating between the seats, we are going to be part of La Batalia de Flores, biggest & most popular event of the whole Carnival. 

After an hour ride in the disturbed traffic we finally arrive at the calle 40, the massive street covering a big part of the city.

We need to find the space 93, heart of the parade but more importantly the starting point of our 6km journey of booty shaking, elbow lifting and crowd pleasing. And gosh, what a crowd! Millions of passionate spectators having a hell of a good time. They are dancing as well, crying, singing, taking millions of pictures, this carnival is definitely more than just a show: this is a reflection of a whole culture and passion for life.



In front of us a massive truck with a million Watts sound system
that I can still feel in my ear buzzing, behind us a couple of chariots containing massive containers of rum and eventually a little agua (water) for those who would start fainting.

 And boom, this is it, the official start! About 4 hours of parade in the heat, mist and craziness surrounded by Lions, Drag Queens & some of the craziest outfits I have ever seen (I remember particularly this couple dressed like a male and female electric plugs, guess what their dance routine was? "plugging" each other!)

What a strange feeling to be there, half naked dancing crazy in front of millions of persons! The day starts to fade away and we are getting close to the end of our first journey. We are all getting back in a bus away from the crowd, heading to a club where we are going to eat soup and practice our salsa steps.

Next thing, 15 of us are at the back of a truck heading to another club, it must be around 3 am... We will finish the night on Tina's terrace, where it all started, already talking about what we will wear next year... 

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Off2 Inside the Barranquilla Carnival

Carnival Info

When? : Preceding Ash Wednesday (March).

How long? : 4 days (officially)
Audience? : More than 2 millions
Participants? : Some 600 dancers

Created in? : 19th century

Off2 Colombia Blog

Carnival Schedule

- Saturday : Flower Battle
- Saturday :
Parade of the Carnival King
- Saturday :
Great Traditional Parade
- Sunday :
Great Fantasy Parade
- Sunday :
Festival of the Orchestras
- Monday :
Festival of Courting and Special Dances, Comedies and Litanies
- Monday :
Joselito is departing with the ashes


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