“The Nest”, as it is appropriately named, is perched on the corner of Thames and Long Street.
As I sit with Tracey Barnes, mother of the “Ignazia” flock, we are briefly interrupted with stares of awe from pedestrians and passers by. The magnificent costume designs almost cause a gawking motorist to become involved in an accident.
This is the humble home of Ignazia, one of the island’s newest mas’ troupes, formed by a family of seasoned mas’ players which include the founders and sisters Brianne and Brittany Barnes, mother Tracey and sister Brenna. The family longed for a different experience, an exclusive mas’ experience.
Ignazia, which translates to “The Light,” aims to rekindle the classic ideals of Antiguan mas’, celebrating culture as well as highlighting local talent.
“It’s time to experience the magic of mas’. The theme this year is Enchanted Rain forest,” Tracey, the bandleader and Mother Nature said. She explained that the concept depicts the magical entities in Antigua’s nature.
The sections – Egret, Wild Orchid Fairy, Humming Bird Spirit, and Lily Nymph – bring our culture to life, the bandleader said. With the target amount of 500, Ignazia, she said, set out to ensure an intimate experience for a mature audience of 20 years and up.
It’s where participants are given the option of mixing pieces from the front-line section, with additional options such as corsets and shorts, to ensure maximum comfort and satisfaction.
For Carnival Monday and Tuesday, Ignazia mas’ players should prepare to be spoiled and pampered with strong security, catering by Chef 2 U, a moving rain-forest and music from Canada’s renowned DJ D’ Enforceas.
There will also be a mobile wine lounge, mobile bathrooms, a special VIP section with satellite truck. Also part of the Ignazia experience is their ‘Up Close and Personal’ event, where patrons can view costumes, enjoy good music, drinks and the company of fellow masqueraders.
Need one last Carnival withdrawal? There’ll be night mas’, where you can wear your costume for one last time, wave fluorescent wands and dance into the wee hours of the morning.
Ignazia will provide the full Carnival experience – drinks, sound trucks, roaming photographers as well as the company of masqueraders of other mas’ troupes.
Tracey explains that as a new troupe, there have been many challenges in preparation, such as obtaining sponsorships. Ignazia’s builder and one its founding members is located in New York City, which proves difficult for the creative process.
Luckily, they were able to join forces with Sanipro, and Antz to offer the full party experience. Five years from now Ignazia hopes to bring mas’ in Antigua to a higher level of carnival.