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Time to scrap Dimanche Gras! Best suggests Culture Minister take page from Machel and Kees

An Open Letter to Culture Minister Nyan Gadsby-Dolly

Dear Madam,

It’s over, madam. Dimanche Gras is dead. Like the numerous, onerous pretty costumes the Pegasus Fancy Sailor and Tan Tan and Saga Boy relegated into irrelevance, the show is arguably now exposed as a creaking, antediluvian anachronism, not merely moribund but dead.

In pacem requiescat.

Photo: The Dimanche Gras 2018 programme.

I don’t expect you to agree. Still, although there were some encouraging elements, I doubt that producer Dr Rudolph Ottley, NCC chairman Colin Lucas or you, Madam Minister, who are ultimately responsible for it all, will be entirely pleased with the way things went on the night. For the second year running.

The Power and the Glory, madam? The Horror and the Sorry was more like it. Oh, David Rudder ruddered and Olatunji olaed and young Turner had his turn on stage. And Dane Gulzton (sic) and Johann Chuckaree et al ramajayed.

And I suppose Shurwayne Winchester and Dil-e-Nadan would have wooed some potentially disenchanted souls to the Forecourt Jam, a welcome addition to a programme attempting to meet the young crowd halfway.

But that’s the problem right there. The old-stagers have long been certain that they can simply tweak Errol Hill’s and Aubrey Adams’ format and draw the big crowds of yesteryear. However, they have to ask themselves whether they aren’t wrong. The economic realities of the times certainly seem to dictate that other options be considered, including, I submit, scrapping the Sunday night show altogether.

And the best people to help us decide, I submit further, are those impresarios and entertainers who have been making money from Carnival despite the economic times.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President Anthony Carmona (left) embraces soca star Machel Montano during the 2018 Carnival season.
(Copyright Office of the President)

Machel Montano, Madam Minister, makes maybe millions with his massive Machel Monday. Kes’ On the Rocks seems on its way, if the reports are to be believed, to attaining the same kind of mega-status. And there are dozens of other smaller organisations making money out of Carnival events. And without trumpeting any of that Greatest Show on Earth twaddle.

You don’t really believe that rubbish, Madam Minister, do you? You don’t seriously expect the Dimanche Gras to be a success, do you? You don’t actually define success as it relates to this event in the same terms in which Aloes defines Revue success, do you? In the same terms in which the promoters of other Carnival events define their success? You have not tried to talk to these promoters about the secret of their success, have you?

But let’s start at the beginning. The evening began with an apology from narrator Sharon Pitt that the rain had delayed some of the competitors and so the start would be deferred. Really, Sharon? Really? An event of this magnitude a year in the planning and disrupted by a sprinkle? Really?

Earlier in the evening, as I have done on countless Carnival Sunday evenings since Rudder’s annus mirabilis in 1986, I had voluntarily made my way to the Grand Stand. By the end of the evening, I realised that I had been thoroughly bored for long stretches of the programme.

Traditional mas on stage? Pioneers of the Steelband and calypso icons on the big screen? And the Junior Queen? And the Junior King? And the Junior Calypso Monarch?

Photo: Carnival King Earl Thompson takes to the Dimanche Gras stage with “Death And The Maiden, The Fancy King Sailor Plays Pegasus” at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain on 11 February 2018.
(Copyright Avalon/Wired868)

Oh, the names were different this year. But was the fare? No, déjà vu!

For me, the paper programme provided the first clue that the requisite care and concern would be absent.

PROGRAMME, it began, Mc’s–Jason Williams and Gizelle Blanche.

You see that common c after the capital M? It sent a shudder down my spine. And there were two or three dozen little errors of spelling and punctuation, etc. even before I got to

“Credits Conceptualized and Produced by Dr Rudolph Ottley.”

That told me unequivocally what I feared; the evening’s programme—not just the written document I held in my hand—was in a mess.

Now I take note of Dr Ottley’s credentials and I have no reason to doubt his competence. But I have seen the Dimanche Gras crowd age and shrink over the years and I know we have a crisis on our hands. I have a theory about the reasons for the crisis. And my theory gave me reason to doubt the good doctor’s ability to produce material to, not even excite, merely interest a 2018 crowd.

Madam Minister, do you have a theory about why the crowd has been shrinking? I think you do. You shared it with Sugar Aloes and co. when they came, cap in hand, knocking on your door. Didn’t you tell him that the tents had to improve the quality of their product? Or did I imagine that?

Photo: Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly.
(Courtesy Elections.TT)

Does that stricture apply only to those whose circumstances require them to turn a profit? Are those who are spending a modest TT$1.3m of taxpayers’ money in 2018 exempt from such considerations? Is there no obligation on the part of your Ministry and the NCC to improve the Sunday night product? To improve branding? To consider, if not increasing profit margins, at least seeking to reduce the quantum of the event’s loss?

Are you perhaps content with cent, five cent, ten cents, dollar margins? Or is it that big money whine only matters when it comes from Sugar Aloes and George Singh?

I suspect, Madam Minister, that you will argue, like Aloes and Singh argued for their events, that Dimanche Gras brings tremendous revenue to Trinidad and Tobago. What, I hear you ask, would Carnival be without Dimanche Gras?

My tentative answer would be “Improved.” But I have another answer and, like a good Trini, I frame it in the interrogative: Do you know? Have you done the research? Has the NCC?

I put it to you that it’s time you find out.

You see, Madam Minister, I’m a sexagenarian and a huge calypso fan. So my children, now half my age, grew up consistently hearing calypso and pan in my house and watching mas in the Savannah every Carnival. But if they get free tickets for Dimanche Gras 2019, I’m sure they won’t attend.

Photo: Helon Francis performs during the Calypso Monarch final at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain on 11 February 2018.
Francis, 24, won the title with “Changes”.
(Copyright Wired868)

Me? I may buy tickets next year; it depends. Not on whether Helon Francis and Voice and Rondell Donawa are in the Finals again and hopeful Cro Cro gets in and Chalkdust and Duane O’Connor are left out—by fair means or foul!

No. If the Calypso Monarch competition, which is what attracts me, is in the package, I’ll consider going. But 16 singers are just too many; quality must suffer.

As I left—after number 16!—I noticed that many people, sexagenarians and septuagenarians many of them, were literally sleeping on themselves.

Perhaps, Madam Minister, you should return the favour and put the Dimanche Gras in its current iteration to sleep.

Permanently.

About Earl Best

Earl Best
Earl Best taught cricket, French, football and Spanish at QRC for many years and has written consistently for the Tapia and the Trinidad and Tobago Review since the 1970's. He is also a former sports editor at the Trinidad Guardian and the Trinidad Express and is now a senior lecturer in Journalism at COSTAATT.

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99 comments

  1. As a Trinibagonian, I want so badly to love this show….but the poor quality of production strains my patriotism. At least improve the lighting and sound system for goodness sake!!

  2. Who are you selling this show to in foreign? Tighten up the production and keep the culture.

  3. We can market our culture nothing wrong with that we just need to realize that nothing is fixed Kodak is dead because they refused to embrace the digital camera we must be dynamic in thinking and continuously asking how can we make this better there is no room for 16 people competing on stage while having intermissions and guest performers.

  4. Take the competitions out of the Dimanche Gras and showcase the best of our Carnival traditions.

  5. Time to scrap Carnival. It has taken us no where. What is the Social, Economic and Political costs that Carnival; a plagarized culture has had on T&T ? Can the academics answer?

  6. There is no need to scrap such a Carnival tradition Check historical analyses and documentaries of Carnival (Hill; Liverpool etc) to address the need for it to be properly done. Understand there is a mega community spirit which can emerge from that show, so provide zestful and sensitive creativity for a programme of surprises; and highs which can engender audience anticipation of joy, relaxation and inspiration onto Monday and Tuesday.

  7. This reality of this decision lies within the argument of commercialization of our culture over the customary traditions of our culture. Commercialization is making us lose our identity and destroying the art know as Trinidad Carnival. Carnival is not about us trying to sell a product to the rest of the world. Carnival is a celebration of our culture, our music, our dance, our art, our uniqueness, our traditions and our values but instead we choose to mimic and copy outside influences to create a product and at the same time sell our souls at an ever increasing cost and with it a increasing separation in the unity of our nation causing the spirit of Trinidad Carnival to die a little more. Is Carnival for us or is carnival for dem? You decide, but I guess we always want to be like somebody else and not weself.

    • Martin Paul Fermin you very accurately hit the nail on the head. Carnival is about us – not the visitors. TT ppl want to immitate every thing foreign forgetting their roots. Look what Minshall did with a sailor band and the reality is that we need to envision who we are. The producers of bikini, beads and feathers are both totally non-creative and destroyers of Our Carnival Culture. They are big money making business men and women. We now have a nearly naked party full of tipsy crude dancing women who think its their right and “culture” to (un)dress and behave as they please “freeing up” . Until attitudes change and we start feelin our real true culture, our carnival will never again be “the greatest show on earth”.

  8. Get qualified and talented people to put on the show. All options re format should be on the table. Objective: a show that leads logically to the two days on the streets.

  9. And make road march literal….not staged on the stage.

  10. My opinion put back calypso final and big band pan final again start at 6pm end And we head straight to jouvert. That use to be fun.

  11. Singers just need to up their gm. U cant be using the same boring melody every year. Plus d show is too long but dont scrap it at all

  12. It was always boring. It has never improved.

  13. I actually found this year an improvement on recent years, but there is much room for improvement and change, but please let us keep some carnival traditions.

  14. Politics killed Soca Monarch
    Politics killed Calypso Monarch
    Politics killed Calypso Tents
    Politics killed Dimanché Gras
    Politics kills everything culturally
    MM success model is based on allowing individuals/entities to do the things that they do best, with a strong economic return on investment at the end… mind you there are still strong elements of government financial assistance built into it… just indirectly… no big rocket science behind it

  15. Lol.

    But of course because the highlight used to be the calypso competition which has turned into a shameless political football

  16. What of the Parade on Monday and Tuesday. Should that be promoted as the greatest show on earth? Or rather the greatest street party on earth?

  17. Why scrap Dimanche Gras? Because it stopped being entertaining over 20 years ago!
    Come to think of it, why not scrap J’Ouvert Monday mas too? Because it ain’t funny no more, and hasn’t been funny over 20 years ago.
    You mean street Carnival celebrations should be confined to Carnival Tuesday only? Why not? That’s how they do it in Toronto, Brooklyn, Notting Hill, and several other Caribbean countries. And why hold it just before Ash Wednesday sometime in February or early March? No reason really. That’s when the Catholics held Carnival, and no reason to bother with them! Some West Indian countries hold it in August, during the long vacation when schools are closed and many workers take their holiday, a much less disruptive time than February or March. We know that in Trinidad almost the entire month before Carnival is wasted in schools and many workplaces.
    Oh oh, somebody jump up and ask why have Carnival Tuesday masquerade at all? Do we have costume creativity as in the old days? No sir, mostly wining women in bikini- nothing creative there. Steelbands and pan around the neck folks belting out the tunes for the masqueraders? Sorry, gone away. Lively road march calypsos? Whoops, most of them road march more like road crawl. Lively dancers on the street? Double whoops. No dancing going on Carnival Tuesday, just people dragging their alpagat, some piece of cripe they call chipping meaning drunken dragging of said alpagats.
    So what’s the good reasons for holding Carnival Tuesday mas on the street? Ah scratching my head but ah only getting dandruff! Ah try scratching my rear but you know what ah getting there! Somebody scream! Scream out the good reasons for holding the masquerade!

  18. I don’t agree that dimanche gras should be scrapped.

  19. Nah Dimanche Gras is very important and must NOT go. Was a survey done to see how many persons actually view it on television and abroad? Maybe that’s where the money lies. I do agree that the product can be improved though like everything else change is inevitable.

  20. Carnival and it’s organizers have not improved in anyway. They treat it the same way everything else is in T&T which is wait until it’s dragging on its ass and taking its last breath then try to fix it.

  21. We have Radio and television and Internet, yet through out the year, these venues (cause that what they are) kill us with foreign music, promote foreigners, kill we with movies shows events of a foreign nature we do not promote our own culture, so many other countries do shows movies and events but they do not let the foreign aspect of it take over they encourage and promote their own but not we, we throw an event and it have everybody singing foreign music, we have a sitcom and everybody either sound like they just get off an American or UK flight where they have been living for years. Our children are taught whose history and culture ours or majority England where are they events throughout the year promoting our culture….we have Americanized our country we should be happy ent that is what we want….

  22. The problem is intrest, when these types of shows and events should be promoted on TV and radio they are not. Clips, snippets and then only the final event is televised. There is no lead up no intrest. Is not people don’t care is the interested parties don’t want to have to deal with 1) the crowd 2) parking 3) the venue, these shows should of changed yes but not cut out. It is long time they should of changed to television, Internet radio yes the events could still be in stadium and tents but it should be televised from begin to end. The intrest for these shows are no longer on that level of filling a stadium. But it is our culture. If it is not brought up to date and continued then we will be like all the other countries who have now copied and surpassing us because we have failed in so many other areas, security venues and the fact that it takes 2 to 3 hours to arrive leave and find park.

  23. you can’t squeeze blood out of a stone

  24. We are always ready to dig up our foundation and in the process lose the essence of who we are.The problem is all these “wash yuh foot and jump in the dance”culturally mis-educated people.All that is needed is proper planning and by that I mean working on next year’s show from as early as today Ash Wednesday 14th February 2018.So @Best the problem is marketing.The Dimanche Gras was a better show this year than previous years.

  25. I think the concept of having the Kings and Queens and the calypso finals on Sunday night is a very good thing, you can’t blame the organizers for poor presentations and performances, remember this is a competition where the finalists are selected by judges. It just shows that the standard of creativity has reach an all time low, both calypso and Mas presentations.

  26. “The requisite care and concern” absent … I could not say it better…Dimanche Gras and other events like it, are what separates us from all those “carbon-copy” carnivals. They represent our truth, our core, our carnival roots which is only ours to have. However, if we continue doing business as we do it today, without the required care and concern to package that core properly, create a hype around it and display to the world in the finest of ways, we will have no choice but to let it die.

  27. You want to earn foreign exchange and want to reduce tourism. What an idea? Never thought of it before.

  28. I don’t know who teaches marketing 101 in TnT but it seems we fail at it at a National level quite horribly! Tourism/Carnival/Tobago/Trinidad…we seem to “knows” nothing about how to market anything! At the rate we are going we are gonna be axin’ Jamaica and Japan how to market our own crap, because we are doing a damned fine job of handing it over already! Smh…

  29. Too many armchair experts..Too many persons who knows what should not be done, for it’s not of them so its easy to say “nay”..

    • Has Mr Best and all other “nay” advisors ever been part of any consultation or advisory body to inject “solitions”?

    • What was the viewership of Americas biggest viewing event Super bowl, up or down? NBA, Baseball ?

    • One time they took out the Mas aspects, so it was Calypso and other Traditional aspects..the show ran smoothly finished on or before midnight.

      Now they complain bout the Calypsoes boring, those who jus will criticize that the sea too salty. Calypso is an artform of many attributes, it primarily catered or addressed the woes and views of the common man. It was the voice of the little people, on issues of Political and Social issues. It poked fun at serious matters, it allowed the natives the opportunity to laugh at themselves; jammettes, funnymen, drunks, Creoles, black boy, big head, the horned, the hornerman, obeahmen/obeahwomen, those who sought remedies from these services, panmen, stick fighters, impotence etc..

      Calypso said things that were taboo, or were frowned upon. It spoke of racial and cultural norms that up to today isn’t a today not openly addressed.

      So when people say East Indiand and the Syrian/ Lebanese Communities dont attend Calypso tents because calypsonians make them uncomfortable, is pure hogwash and hypocrisy. How many of them really did before, how many understand what the artform is about? But in the past we saw the Dupreys, Knox, and other influentials in society at the front of Calypso Tents, taking their “pong” on behalf of their respective social or ehthnic group. The late Dr Eric Williams as Premier, then first PM of this country was up front and took his Political ” blows” and befriended one of his harshes critics, Dr Hollis Liverpool Chalkie.

      So all who are offended or uncomfortable, I ask, are the issues sung about untruths, based on spite or hate; or are they taboo issues in society that are not addressed or aired?

    • Friends are called to stakeholders meetings and consultations, not true stakeholders. What utter rubbish was presented as the opening of Dimanche Gras.

  30. Mr. Best n everyone of the commentators have touched on some aspects of the negatives of the show. Mr. Best went further by recommending that research be done. N I think that is where we should begin. I would stick my neck out n say that I am sure the management team is without a qualified n experienced Marketing Manager. To me, it is clear that the organization is far from a Marketing/consumer oriented one. The fundamentals of Marketing n Marketing Management r in short supply at the NCC. This is why I would recommend a Re-Launching of the show, with capable people doing the day to day job of managing the organization. If the Minister is serious, she can do this, with support from the new board of the Tourism Company – that is if we r also serious about tourism.

    • I think I should add this: Machel Monday is now the new Carnival Friday. Let me explain; Carnival Friday, for yr was the major night on the carnival calendar. Soca Monarch made it more so until Machel started to do his thing, so Machel Monday has replaced Friday as the Major day n night of the carnival week. N Soca Monarch is now on the declining side of the Bell Curve/Product Life Cycle. Yrs back, Soca Monarch did something similar to the Dimanche Gras show. During Soca Monarch’s prime, Carnival Friday became the new Carnival Sunday. So now the Big day is neither Carnival Friday or Carnival Sunday, it now Machel Monday. The “market” is shifting all the time. Given all that shifting, n if research is done to confirm it, I believe there is a BIG window of opportunity for Dimanche Show to be re-launched n refitted to capture the “market” n return Carnival Sunday its supremacy.

    • I think they might be afraid of what the research may show. One surprise finding might be that Carnival consumes more foreign exchange than it generates after all practically every single item used in Carnival is imported , from the pre-assembled bikini costumes to the feathers and fabric . Every promotional item , cups ( even ones that light up ) and caps ( even ones that light up) , every gimmick gadget and rag is imported . The majority of tourists who come are from the diaspora ( and stay with family) and those who are not don’t tend to be big spenders. Rum is just about the only thing we produce locally that is consumed in large quantity, even so the scotch import bill must be impressive. Carnival certainly does help with the redistribution of funds locally but I doubt it’s much of a net earner of foreign exchange , the research will also have to focus on all aspects ,socioeconomic, cultural, public health and safety etcetera

    • Paul Bissessar They will have to face the facts some days.

  31. To be honest the Carnival Sunday night show in the Savannah was boring. This is the first time I switched the channel. It pained me. The costumes for King and Queen looked like recycled creations. No creativity in Carnival. It has become a street party for bikinis and bare skin. Sameness there as well. Last year’s bikinis and years before that can be utilized for future carnivals. Nothing new. Carnival has become an entity of a recycled, no creativity, substandard festival. I mourn its demise.

    • My friend,
      Maybe rebrand is not the word to best describe what I mean. They need to change the structure / format, do something different or at least try before closing up shop. Only after all over options are exhausted, it’s then we can say close up shop.

    • Chica Emery Rebrand is the correct word Chica. Many a dead product have gone through a rebranding exercise and come out winners. Case in point, Pepsi. I’ll leave the research to you.

  32. I think they should re-brand, re-package and come again not stop it completely. Form a committee of stakeholders from across Trinidad & Tobago and let them brainstorm and save this product. While they’re at it, they should rebrand Panorama semis too, and make it a bit shorter on the Sunday. Maybe let the small steel bands play on another day for example the Friday before on the Avenue, make it a big lime. We can save these products, make people flock to the savannah to hear calypso again.

  33. As the writer CORRECTLY STATED, Machel Monday/TOTR have almost but PERFECTED THE ART OF WHAT A TRUE CARNIVAL SHOW SHOULD BE. Perhaps they can get Mr. MM himself to plan and organise next year’s Dimanche Gras. Look at the Emmy’s/Grammy’s/Ocars. No longer than 3-4 hours, and ENTERTAINING. The BET/MTV/VH1 Awards can be held to the same standard, and the entertainers are almost countless. There have been too many square pegs fitted into round spaces for FAR TOO LONG. I don’t know where it starts, but I can surely state with utmost confidence , (if we so desire to SAVE OUR CARNIVAL ), that these people NEED TO GO. Even the parade of the band pales in comparison to Rio Carnival. Every year it keeps getting worse. This year being no exception.

  34. Best pushing ah racist agenda with that talk. Well, he would be if he was Indo-Trini… to hear some tell it.

  35. Sadly, this is looking more and more like the way it’s heading. Too many competitors, too many boring songs that are unfamiliar to the audience. Too many other options on the night.

  36. Machel and Kees caters for a young/middle age party going crowd, so the mas is no longer for the elderly. I read an article this week where an 86 year old foreigner celebrated 50 years of attending Trinidad Carnival, She said she visited tents where she is able to hear Calypsoes, and that attending parties is not for her because the music (noise is not for her age), I have heard several suggestions this year regarding CARNIVAL (1) don’t pump money into Calypso tents (which mean let it die) (ii)A SOCADROME boasted official tonight that this year was a success and Ms Jones remarked during the interview “we not competing with the Savannah” (who fooling who? ) The Savannah numbers have dwindled over the years because their is no mas (bikini and beads). People pay to go to the Savannah.After two failed attempts this year SOCADROME officials gave FREE entry along with “bring your coolers” . Two bands YUMA and TRIBe were in attendance. Who are the band leaders?
    (and you telling me you not competing with QPR) Trini like freeness, so they took advantage. Charge them next year and see how many attend.(iii) Now shut down DIMANCHE gras, and take a page from Machel and Kees. Really? Is this a workable solution to the dying Art form, that is Carnival, Is it so simplistic? Does this means there is no place for the elderly in mas.anymore? Are lines being drawn in the sand for who can and cannot actively participate in the mas. Who killing the CARNIVAL?wake up people the Carnival dying and no one seems to have a SOLUTION.Insanity is doing the same things over and over and getting the same results, That’s T&T

    • Interesting thoughts here. Love a thought provoking post. On the Socadrome you mentioned. The Savannah is a competition venue. The Socadrome is a show with various aspects of carnival which was created because stakeholders complained of the congestion caused by party bands and how they inhibited competing bands from visiting required judging points. The Socadrome has been open for five years. Successful in year one on congestion and for the last two on audience size. Only carried a fee in the first year. Cooler scene ever since. The Savannah remains the mecca for POS carnival. The very epicenter of carnival in the city for those who compete. The Socadrome is an option. 9 bands came this year including three that competed. 2 more wanted to come but found it logistically challenging to get to the venue before 5pm when we closed (with Mardi Gras on stage). 12 performers performed at the Socadrome including legends Baron, Rudder and Aloes. Extempo started the day and traditional mas was displayed with descriptions read to the audience to help them understand this critical aspect of carnival culture. The traditional mas characters, many of school age, then went into the stands to take pictures and interact with audience members. Starlift played a full and wonderful set on stage to rowdy applause. Pan came to the Socadrome following feedback from last year’s guests that it would add to the show. We are reviewing feedback now to see how we can improve next year. That’s part of this new initiative – to keep evolving. We can’t keep doing the same thing, the same way for decsdes and expect new audiences. No one wants tents to die. I have been to tents. I’d like to take my son one day. They need to stick around as commentary through Kaiso is history documented in music. Dimache Gras can evolve – I grew up watching it as I grew up watching the Grammy Awards. One evolved faster than the other. No one wants the Savannah to die – especially not me. The sound, feeling and experience of the Savannah and stage cannot be replicated. I’m sure there will be agreement here as, mas on the move the years with no stage were just not the same for me as a masquerader and my aunts as spectators who never returned to the Savannah thereafter. However, innovation and collaboration can make a difference. Just ask festival organizers in America, Japan or India where parades are done for centuries but change and evolve to attract and keep audience participants of all ages, stages and physical ability. Or maybe we can learn from Crix. I love Crix tins. Growing up when that tin reached home, it heralded something exciting and new in our home. Crix tins = happiness for me. A generation later, I sure like the Crix in single serve packages too – for my son to enjoy the same (OK it’s similar) snack I loved as a child. The snack is close enough to what I knew to still drive nostalgia but convenient enough for me and my family to want to keep buying it. It’s not a complete change needed for some of our carnival celebrations but maybe a more convenient or attractive package for another generation to want to fund and consume it. I’m not saying that any one person has all the answers, but knocking innovation and then complaining about dwindling support? Not sure that’s the best approach for any culture/event, now or ever.

    • I personally find the Socadrome to be a welcome addition to the carnival Tuesday. Especially for people who would not normally take the trouble to take their kids to the savannah to “watch mas”. And I assumed that bands who cross the Socadrome stage move on to their regular route and end up at the savannah anyway. This year was a very well packaged show. My whole family came. My daughter sat with my husband and I and my 16 year old son was liming with his friends in a safe secure environment. We were able to see everything Danielle mentioned above and the kids got to appreciate aspects of carnival up close that they usually see only on TV. I thought the show started late but I realised I missed the extempo and having the traditional characters come up in the audience. This year we also saw a lot more bands. At the time we left we saw Bliss, Tribe, Yuma and Lost Tribe was entering as we were leaving. All in all we had a very enjoyable day without having to walk down the avenue in all the crowds or risk getting your car wrecked. As long as the Socadrome is there I’m sure a lot of people would continue to support it.

    • Sigh. Complaints about organic growth come off as sour grapes. You feel a loss? Then you didn’t participate or create, what you should be feeling is guilt. To criticise those who are trying to develop what they love… sigh.

    • Actually Bliss was also in Socadrome – I was there when they passed through, just fyi

    • Tourism stats states that over the last decade support for Carnival has dwindled. Less tourist are visiting at Carnival time. Locals have also opted to stay home or go to beaches or Tobago.Interviews have been done and people complain that mas has been replaced by bikini and beads. The stands have long been empty because there is no mas. One bead at 7 in the morning to 7 in the night is monotonous. Mas bands used to have a history and creativity in depicting their mas. Today its “nakedness” The mas does not cater for spectators.Who in their right sense will leave their country/ home to pay to see nakedness, when they wear their own bathsuit free of charge?. The only people laughing today are bandleaders and MM. Additionally festivals organizers across the world are TRANSPARENT and ACCOUNTABLE and they ensure that communities where the festival occurs includes the community, elderly and physically challenged persons. Someone spoke about innovation, explain what you mean. FREENESS to get people to sit in the stands. Who killing the MAS?

  37. An interesting discourse, but, as with most opinions only a thought. When one walks with a complaint, always advisable to walk or present a solution. What I’ve patiently read is reminiscent of a lecture from an ageing lecturer. As a born ‘Trjni 2. d bone’ do look forward to Carnival.

  38. U know there r people who love dis show! I saw people in Panorama sleeping on themselves.

  39. I loved looking at the costumes and I felt it was better this year. Sometimes getting rid of the old isn’t always the best thing to do. We can tweak yes but not erase it because it has become ingrained in our carnival tradition. The stage this year was pretty cool too!

  40. 16 calypsonians! That’s a lot to sit through. I think I conked out after Helon Francis. Glad I got to see him.

  41. Shows like Xfactor and the voice make money,maybe do a format like that and put it on pay perview. Invite Simon Cowell. Change is good.

  42. “… it depends on whether…. Chalkdust and Duane O’Connor are left out—by fair means or foul!”
    Like Mr Best living near de airport? #PlainTalk

  43. why not combine soca monarch with DG

  44. Don’t agree. It could be re-launched.

  45. It must be sellable and in a format which encourages foreign media and money. There have been foreign media houses which have called for a revamped program which could be televised for example on the travel channel. We have to start packaging shows and events which sponsors will support. Not only does this provide an economic incentive but because it does, encourages innovation and quality

  46. Taxi and PH drivers in South ran empty all day……no passengers…….and vendors went home empty handed…..no customers..

  47. true…if i get free tickets i still may not go