Weekend of June 17-20, 2014, Hollywood came alive with the music, colors, and high spirits of the third annual Hollywood Carnival. Performers and attendees represented countless African, Caribbean and South American cultures, including Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Guatemala. On Saturday, The Parade of the Bands marched on Hollywood boulevard in a polychromatic fanfare that quickly became a happy mix of performers and watchers that slowly inched down the road. Large trucks stacked high with DJs and speakers rolled by, blasting Latin dance music that no one could resist. The trucks led sections of beautifully clad dancers who enticed the surrounding crowd to flood the streets and take part in the festivities. The bands showcased the extravagant cultures of Central America and the Caribbean Islands, including their intoxicating dance music, intricately lavish costumes, and enthusiastically celebratory attitude.
As the parade meandered past the finish line, Highland Avenue, its members slowly began to disband and filter into the carnival space, carrying their joy with them. Inside the carnival, food stands sold traditional meals like Roti, from Trinidad and Tobago, a delicious flatbread wrapped around chicken or beef. Behind the stands, a stage faced a large open space filled with people dancing to the music of a long list of multicultural performers. Dancers and singers represented Panama, Guatemala, Brazil, Jamaica, and many more nations in both traditional and contemporary styles. Overall, the carnival was a beautifully wild whirlwind of many different people and cultures that left all who participated eagerly awaiting next year’s event.