The Malta Independent 16 December 2018, Sunday

For float makers, Carnival is a reality lived almost the whole year round

Rebecca Iversen Monday, 12 February 2018, 09:09 Last update: about 11 months ago

Carnival is an outlet for creative juices, manifesting themselves in the form of vivid colour and detailed, paper mache ideas. The Malta Independent on Sunday spoke to Jeremy Mercieca, coordinator of the DreamTeam Company and teacher by profession; who, when not in the classroom, spends his time coordinating floats and performances for one of the most popular Maltese weekends of the year.

For the last few days prior to carnival celebrations, the floats were moved to the Addolorata Cemetery car park, which is where I met up with Jeremy, as he finalised last minute details on his float; the idea of which was born almost a year ago. The temporary location for the floats served as an ironic environment for such a lively celebration. The floats were parked under huge tents, which, despite the size, did not manage to hide Carnival's bright colours.

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Although Carnival only comes around for a few days every year; for float makers, Carnival is alive the whole year round, save a few weeks. "We started to think about the design in March and then in August the real work began" Jeremy explained, meaning that it is only a matter of weeks till the potential design for 2019 will be brainstormed.

During the design stage, different ideas are put forward, and for this year's float, the DreamTeam company settled on the idea of creating a float celebrating musical legends. The final design for the float was thought up by artist Alvin Levorei. John Lennon, Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Freddie Mercury and Tina Turner are all set to feature around the colourful facade.   The float was one of 20 on parade in Valletta's carnival celebrations.

The model is not the only thing which makes up the show. "The performances will feature music by the legends and the dancers will do a routine inspired by them too. The dancers, of which there are 20, are going to be dressed up as showgirls and the dance will be performed alongside the float," explained Jeremy.

The building of the float is not a job that can be completed by one person alone. The project which originally starts off with roughly 10-15 people will end up having at least 25-30 people helping out by the end of it. The formation of the structure begins with welding the metal, and moves on to building forms out of wood and card around the structure. The bright paint work follows, and the float is then concluded with the lighting.

As a coordinator, Jeremy provides a helping hand in all areas. From the month of August, he explained, full weekends are dedicated to building the floats, "we are all volunteers here and financially it is far from easy to keep us going. The cost is at least €15,000; which does not even include the material, metal or costumes."

What keeps them going is their love for it. "This is our hobby. We are a mixture of people; from old to young, all with one common interest - to build this float," said Jeremy.   "Carnival is a form of creativity, it's a way for us to share our emotions and express ourselves through different ideas."

The float will be presented in all its glory during the Carnival parade, and not before.

The company began its venture five years ago, and has already won awards twice since. Last year, the group won an award with its Spanish themed float.

Photos by James Caruana

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