St. John’s Antigua- Looking for something different? Something enchanting and otherworldly? Then you are in luck. This year, Solid International Mas Troupe presents “Mythical Adventures.”
This ingenious, whimsical theme is the brainchild of none other than Chandy Lewis, who, yesterday, I interrupted from his fairy-tale creations.
The young designer sat with me covered in glitter, almost appearing to be a “mythical creature” himself. Behind of us is a sea of feathery, colourful costumes, all of which I’m told are locally made.
Starting in 2007, Solid International competed in the large band category. By 2008 the mas troupe introduced a children’s section and got on board the Tee-Shirt Mas bandwagon in 2011.
With other core members – Brian Gardner and Address Andre – Solid International is now one of the leading mas’ bands in this twin island state. It’s got prizes for the best designs and best Queen of Carnival costume 2010 to show for it. That ensemble was worn by Dorri Benjamin Queen of Carnival for that year.
Solid’s designs for this year live up to its creative name. The frontline, Mystical Phoenix, is already sold out. Members of this section receive automatic entry into the Tee-Shirt Mas and an additional Monday getup.
The remaining sections are all just as colourful: Nephi, Lady of the Lake, Dragons, Water Fairies, Persian Warrior, Cleopatra and Titans. And for the children there are the Garden Fairies, Night Elves and Drown Priestess.
The gothic nostalgia is intoxicating. Participants are offered modifications of a wired bra, corset, two-piece, monokini and other options.
Lewis said Solid International separates itself from other troupes by insuring a family friendly mas experience. By promoting unity and providing unique, locally made costumes, the troupe has set the mark high for mas’ building in Antigua & Barbuda.
Solid International is a mas troupe dedicated to displaying the true culture of Antigua’s Carnival. With a large expectation of 600-800 participants, Lewis assures me that they will be well taken care of.
Although there have been challenges in securing sponsorships this year, Solid International has secured Ayoushe, Treetops, Little Starfish, with catering by Chef 2 U. Company Bliss has even adopted the “Lady of the Lake” section.
Participants can expect the full all-inclusive experience: unlimited food and drinks, enforced security and hi-fi blasting soca melodies on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.
Where does Lewis see Solid International five years from now? Simply living up to its name – spearheading Carnival not only here in Antigua but internationally.