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saturday & Sunday

The D.C. Caribbean community can be tough to please. Every year after the annual D.C. Caribbean Carnival ends, local West Indians take to the radio waves to vent—the parade did not start on time, Banneker Park got too crowded, etc. But organizers of this year’s 14th-annual edition of the event vow that the parade’s 20 troupes will start heading down Georgia Avenue promptly at 11 a.m., which is bound to get people talking—as if stilt walkers, percussionists on big steel oil drums, and plenty of old and young marchers in bikinis and headdresses shaking what their mamas gave ’em wasn’t enough. They’ll all be parading amid flatbed trucks loaded with sound systems booming the gloriously frenetic beats and lilting vocals of soca, the main musical style of the bacchanal. Some dismiss soca as novelty dance music with trite lyrics, and some of the time they’re right, but the artists at Banneker Park and club shows throughout the weekend don’t make it easy on the naysayers. Take Machel Montano (pictured) and his band Xtatik, who perform Sunday afternoon: Montano’s cleverly arranged songs dabble in reggae, rap, and rock—but even the most jaded observer can’t refute that a tight Trinidadian core lies at the heart of it all. The parade begins at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 24, at Georgia & Missouri Aves. NW, free; Iwer George, Fayann Lyons, Jason Benn, and the BQE Band perform from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Banneker Park, Georgia Ave. & Barry Place NW, $10; Machel Montano & Xtatik, Rupee, Allison Hinds, Patrice Roberts, Benjai & Zan, and Elephant Man perform from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday, June 25, at Banneker Park, Georgia Ave. at Barry Place NW, $15. (202) 726-2204. (Steve Kiviat)