Carnival Nationz has deservingly been rewarded for a decade of participation in the annual Toronto carnival. For the second time in four years, the Marcus Eustace-led band made a clean sweep at the King and Queen showcase at Lamport Stadium.
Shane Mungal, Joella Crichton and Mista Meggy retained their King and Queen of the Band and Male Individual honours respectively while Carol Tannis – last year’s runner-up – captured her first Female Individual award.
For the talented Crichton, it was her fourth straight victory and sixth overall in the last seven years.
“I had a blast this year and it was so much fun because the costume was small and the lightest I have ever carried,” said Crichton who has appeared in the last nine Queen of the Band competitions including 2007 when, as a member of Toronto Caribbean Connections, her costume’s metal frame bent and toppled while she was performing for the judges. “I had the freedom to dance and move.”
A member of Carnival Nationz since 2009, Crichton’s only concern on the cool evening was the nearly one-hour intermission before the start of the King and Queen competitions.
“I was freezing,” the York University fine arts degree graduate said. “Sometimes it’s nice to keep the flow of the show going.”
Mista Meggy, who clinched his seventh crown in nine years and fifth with Carnival Nationz, agreed.
“That break was too long and it was extra cold,” he said. “I was however happy to win because everybody brought their “A” game out tonight. The competition was very tight this year.”
Jamaican-born Tannis was thrilled to be a first-time winner.
“I have been in this competition for the last eight years and I just love the energy and vibes,” she said. “Carnival Nationz is like one big family and I look forward to playing mas’ with them and competing every year.”
Kenny Coombs built and designed Crichton and Tannis’ costumes.
“Joella has a certain style and flair that appeal to audiences,” he said. “She has a special way of moving with the costume, blending with the music and really portraying a character. As for Carol, I presented her with the music very early and she was very in tune with what she was supposed to do. Her confidence level has risen every year and that was evident this time as she really worked the crowd and the costume.”
Coombs also assisted with the designing and construction of the King of the Band and Male Individual costumes.
“Shane likes big costumes and he always pulls it off while Mista Meggy has amazing charisma,” he added. “When the crowd hears the name Mista Meggy, they get turned on and whipped into a frenzy.”
Carnival Nationz’s theme this year was “Havanna.”