Everything you need to know about Atlanta Carnival!

Atlanta Carnival is a Caribbean. American carnival celebration that is colorful, chaotic and filled with revelry. Here is everything you need to know about attending carnival in Atlanta!

May 23rd 2020

May 25th 2020

Days to start

What is carnival in Atlanta?

atlanta carnival

Atlanta has its very own Caribbean Carnival celebration! In 2020 they will be celebrating the 33nd Annual Atlanta Caribbean Carnival and everyone is welcome to join the fun! You do not need to be Caribbean to take part!

Carnival in Atlanta is about promoting a deeper appreciation and understanding for Caribbean culture amongst the Metro Atlanta community. The Atlanta Carnival embraces multiculturalism and is about uniting people all across the city.

Atlanta Carnival celebrates Caribbean culture through music, dance, cuisines, masquerades, costumes as well as Caribbean cuisine. It is a fusion of influences from lots of different Caribbean cultures.

When is Atlanta Carnival?

The dates for the 2020 Atlanta Carnival will start on May 23rd 2020 and finish on May 25th 2020. The highlight of Atlanta Carnival and busiest day is the Road March which will take place on Saturday May 23rd 2020.

Where is Atlanta Carnival?

atlanta carnival

The centre of Atlanta Carnival is the Festival Village. This is set up for the duration of carnival and is a hub for lots of carnival events as well as where all the shops and food and drink vendors are. The address is:

Festival Village


  • Central Park
  • 400 Merritts Ave NE
  • Atlanta, GA 30308

atlanta carnival

What is the history of Atlanta Carnival?

In 1987, a group of Caribbean islanders, from different islands came together with the goal of familiarizing the Atlanta metro community with Caribbean culture. They wanted to do this by throwing a West Indian style of carnival. The first ever Atlanta Caribbean Carnival was held in 1988 and was the first Caribbean Carnival to kick of the US Caribbean Carnival season.

This first carnival was a huge success and brought in thousands of visitors to Atlanta for the Memorial Day Weekend. The carnival continued to grow more and more popular every year and continued to increase awareness of Caribbean culture.

atlanta carnival

Atlanta Carnival The Parade of Bands

The 2020 Atlanta Carnival Parade of the Bands will take place on Saturday 23rd May 2020.

 The Atlanta Carnival Parade of the Bands is more than just watching a spectacular show. The Mas Bands compete against each other for the title of best band. A panel of judges sit along the parade route watching the performers and rewarding them marks on different aspects of their performance, including costume, energy, creativity, performance, etc.

Thousands come out to watch and partake in the Parade of the Bands, it is a colorful, vibrant and energetic spectacle. The masquerades are dressed in the most colorful, beautiful costumes that are adorned with feathers, jewels, headdresses and wings. The soca pumps loud and everyone dances the day away. Everyone is united and having the time of their lives.

Atlanta Carnival Parade Route

The 2020 Atlanta Carnival Parade Route will be released in May, you will find the map released here. 

What is playing mas?

Can I be a part of the Atlanta Carnival? Yes of course you can! The best way to enjoy the Atlanta Carnival is to join in and play mas! There are several carnival bands that you can take part in and each offer their own unique Atlanta Carnival experience. All you must do is pick a mas band, buy a costume and march with your band on the day.

atlanta carnival

The Atlanta Carnival 2020 Mas Bands

The Mas Bands for the 2020 Atlanta Carnival are:

  • We Kinda Ting: Their theme for the 2020 Atlanta Carnival is ‘Hello Bacchanal’. To check out their costumes or register to their band you can do that here  wktmas.com, or call (678) 622-4452
  • Calabash Alley: Their theme for 2020 is ‘Ascensopn’. You can contact them on (404) 378-5014 or Calabash_alley@yahoo.com. You can view their costumes here.
  • Vivacious Mas Band: Their theme for 2020 is ‘Godesses’.You can contact them at (404) 519-6120 or phenry0405@gmail.com.
  • Fun Zone: They are a T-shirt band and you can view their shirts here. You can contact them here Bandleader: Oungku, Contact: (646) 403-7384, rhnfunzonesexo.com
  • Taste of Elegance: To contact this band you can do this through bandleader: Karen David at (770) 837-6375 or atasteofpureelegance@gmail.com.
  • Mystikal: Their 2020 theme will be Revelers. You can contact them to vie their costumes through bandleader Cherie Rhymer on (407) 310-6171 or look at facebook.com.
  • Chinapoo: Their 2020 theme is ‘Colors’.
  • Panasonic Steel Band: You can contact the bandleaders Vere Henry: (865) 256-2158, Carver Joseph: (770) 262-0443 at psteelband@gmail.com.

▷ How to choose a Mas Band for Atlanta Carnival? 

Well that’s a difficult decision because you have so many good options.  Maybe you will select your band based on their costumes, with some bands wearing very sexy costumes, and others being more conservative. Maybe you will select the band that your friends do so that way you can march together.

Obviously, money can be a big factor when choosing to play mas and honestly if you are on a tight budget then you probably won’t play mas. But then again it is the ultimate carnival experience.

Mas Bands may also be all-inclusive, and you will not just get your costumes, but you may also receive food and drinks, bathrooms, security, medical services, and whatever else you may need for your carnival experience. However, some bands have a better offering than others. So, investigate what you will get along with your costumes.

The more popular bands sell out early, so reserve as soon as you find the costume you love!

Atlanta Carnival 2020 J’ouvert

The 2020 Atlanta Carnival J’ouvert will take place on the Friday 22nd May 2020 at 9pm. It will run until 4:00am.

 What is J’ouvert? J’ouvert is a large, popular morning fete/parade that takes place at sunrise. J’ouvert is a French creole/Patois term that means – “opening of the day”.   J’ouvert is a feature of the Trinidad carnival that spreads to most other Caribbean Carnival celebrations.

 J’ouvert is a large street party that sees revellers take to the streets before the parade to dance and jump alongside music trucks that blast intoxicating soca music. J’ouvert is similar to playing mas as revellers join a J’ouvert band which covers the cost of their t-shirt, breakfast, alcohol, music and paint and powder.

 There are no pretty costumes to be seen here. If you do get up and attend J’ouvert a little warning is that you must be prepared to get hit with flour, paint, mud, water and maybe even clay. Thousands of partygoers throw paint and mud at each other and there is nothing you can do to avoid it, just get ready to get down and dirty and join in the fun!

How much and where do I purchase tickets to Atlanta Carnival?

General Admission tickets cost $22.85 and VIP tickets cost $107.72 and come with food and drinks.

You can purchase your tickets here in eventbrite.com

How to get to Atlanta?

atlanta carnival

By Plane: Whether you are coming from interstate or from overseas, it is very easy to get to Atlanta. Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. There are over 150 cities that have daily, non-stop flights to Atlanta. To get a quote for a flight click here.

By Road: If you are coming from interstate then driving to Atlanta is easy to. There are three major interstates that all come together in downtown Atlanta. They are the I-20, I-75 and I-85. Get a quote for a rental car here.

Where to stay in Atlanta?

In terms of proximity to the carnival we recommend staying in Downtown Atlanta. This is also convenient because it is located near the city’s biggest tourist attractions like CNN World Headquarters, Phillips Arena, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, and America’s Mart.

The hotels in this area are a little less luxurious than the ones you will find in Midtown or Buckhead. So, if you prefer five-star luxury you should look in this area. That being said if you have a smaller budget there are also a lot of very affordable accommodation options in this area. Of course, you can always check out private rentals too.

Check out some accommodation options here.

For more information about tours, things to do, sightseeing tours, day trips and more click here.For longer vacations check out Tour Radar for some cool trips.

What to wear to Atlanta Carnival?

Atlanta Carnival is one of Atlanta’s most legendary events. A celebration of cultures from all around the world.  The parades are colourful AF, with women dressed in colourful and elaborate feather headdresses and bejewelled bras. If you want to be in the parade then you have to purchase a costume from one of the mas bands. 

If you plan on being a spectator then you don’t need to dress like the people in the parade but why not wear some playful pieces that will help you stand out from the crowds. It’s the time to let your imagination one wild and get creative and wear something fun, you can check out some cool outfit ideas on Amazon. Remember though to wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet all day long! 

Before you go!

We can’t stress enough the importance of travel insurance! Never travel without coverage! Being protected on your travels gives you an irreplaceable peace of mind. Don’t learn the hard way about the importance of travel insurance. Get a quote through our recommended insurance provider, World Nomads!

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