Just Vibez had a vision to bring the community together through sport. And that they did. The Greenfell Tragedy showed us very clearly that the London Carnival Community is not all about the feathers, bling and wuk up. Yes, we love a carnival and a fete. BUT, when necessary, we will put this all aside to participate in something else. Something greater than the sum of our individual bands and teams. We are multifaceted and multiskilled. And the Just Vibez Football tournament and pub lime further illustrated our diverse skills and interests.
The idea as I understand it started off initially and primarily as a football event and lime with an open invitation to all carnival bands and promotional teams to take part to promote the hurricane relief effort and to save dutty mas. I was in two minds about this. I really liked the idea of getting carnival bands together outside of Notting Hill. But although there are some ladies who are seriously interested in football, I am not one of them. And although I might admire the… physical athleticism and prowess of the players, the idea of spending hours watching guys play football is not very appealing to me. Basketball, yes, football? Nah. And speaking to some of my other female friends, that wasn’t very appealing to them either. But I decided to attend to support. The event was expanded to include other sports such as basketball. There was a pub lime afterwards with food and cards/dominoes to be expected. In addition, The Island Girls Rock Team would be in attendance with other creatives such as Fiona Compton to discuss how we in the UK can best help the islands recently affected in the Caribbean by the various hurricanes. This I felt was a bit more inclusive of possible different sporting and gender interests.
For those who don’t know the Just Vibez team have been around for many years with branches in different countries. They have had and continue to have very successful events around Brixton (London), growing organically by word of mouth. I think they like it that way. They will play most urban genres at their events; hip hop, reggae, soca, some R’N’B. They may have international DJs just stopping by at their events to work the decks. Their biggest event to my mind was the ‘Carnival in June’ at the Southbank this year.
The Football tournament was held at Ferndale Sports Centre, Brixton. It was blessed with good weather in the morning for this time of year and for London; blue skies and not too chilly. Carnival bands and teams such as Abir, Pure Lime, Colours, Euphoria and Shipwrecked were there representing as well as some other non carnival teams such as Almighty Sounds who were less familiar to me.
The event was well organised I thought. Two pitches for two groups were used and it started to time which I was really impressed about. At least one official referee came late but the tournament had started without him. No Caribbean time business at all. Trinigladiata who hosted ensured that things ran smoothly and everyone kept to time. 12 minutes per game. No more. It was funny, The clock was counting down and players were running on the pitch. If you get on the pitch late, well that’s your business. But you’re only getting 12 minutes.
It was a really family nice atmosphere. Mothers and fathers came with their kids to support. Roti and pelau was available (manage to get some before it ran out) and music blasting in the background. There were the usual shouts of support and directions by spectators and fellow team members. There was even a flag and whistle man there and you know that almost makes the event certified! There was no trouble, no angst, just nice vibez. This event with the music, food and helpful (or not so helpful) advice from spectators almost reminded me of the football tournaments by the playing field at home in St. Lucia. The final winners were Euphoria who got to claim the trophy.
The pub lime at the back was held at a pub close by (The Duke of Edinburgh) which appeared deceptively small upon entry. However, the beer garden at the back was quite big and spacious. Island Girls Rock (IGR) founded by Chantal Miller had set up a space for the items which had been donated to be raffled for Hurricane relief. They included artwork, beauty products and t-shirts. I saw a couple of people playing cards. By late afternoon it had gotten a bit chilly and grey but people continued to lime as only West Indians can do.
So was the event a success? For me the event was very much a success and credit to the Just Vibez team. They were able to raise £577.00 and IGR raised £300.00. all proceeds going to Relief for Dominica. Carnival bands and the community coming together was a joy to see. I liked the liming. I got a chance to catch up with people and had interesting conversations. Even the football was more interesting than I thought. People who I thought didn’t know what a football was participated playing football on the pitch. Imagine that.
There were some carnival bands and islands and promoters which represented. There were some bands I would have loved to see at this event; Island Mas, RDR, Caribbean Sessions, Flagz and more. And I would have loved to see some other sports; basketball, netball and others? This is the first one and I guess there is always next year right? But this was good. Nice one Just Vibez.
Pics by Ilovecarnival and Just Vibez. Professional pics from the Just Vibez team and TrinisinLondon will be out soon.