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July launch for Carnival
Carnival 2014 takes off next month when the National Carnival Commission (NCC) opens the season with a July launch. Also there is to be a restructuring of the NCC management and a possible future elimination of the Dimanche Gras show.
Speaking with the Sunday Guardian NCC chairman Allison Demas said following a series of consultations with the various stakeholders, a number of decisions were taken with regards to Carnival 2014, including the decision to have an early launch. With Carnival Monday and Tuesday falling on March 3 and 4, the July launch means the Carnival season this year is eight months long.
Demas, however, revealed neither the exact date nor details of the launch. A source told the Guardian that the details which the chairman is keeping to herself still has to be brought before the board which was expected to meet but failed to do so last Thursday.
Another detail which Demas did not reveal was the projected cost of Carnival 2014.
“The cost is subject to what we receive in the budget allocation in October, so that is something I cannot yet speak to,” she said.
But even without knowing what sort of funds they have at their disposal, the NCC has also planned as part of its Carnival promotion a massive “band launch type event,” Soca Fest, to be held in September.
“This is going to be a major event featuring a number of soca and chutney artistes. It is going to be big,” she said, adding that there are also more surprises in store which she preferred not to reveal.
Restructuring NCC management
“Carnival 2014 is all planned out and we are in the process of restructuring the NCC management and we are looking to recruit a brand new CEO. We have completed our strategic planning and budgeting, have identified the events and have come up with a budget making provisions for all the activities.”
Asked if action was being taken to ensure that there is no repeat of the fiascos that were the Dimanche Gras and Calypso Monarch final shows, Demas responded, casting doubt on the future of the Dimanche Gras show.
“While there is all this clamouring for Dimanche Gras, the audience attendance has decreased, so one has to question if there is really a demand for this show. Are we reaching the younger audience or Indo-Trinidadian?
“There is a lot of introspection to be done where this show is concerned. There has to be changes to reflect new market and new demands.
“If you look closely there is a lot of emotionalism attached to it but when you measure that against the attendance and the gate receipts, it merits close and very careful consideration,” she said.
Calypso monarch remains separate
The Calypso Monarch finals will again remain a separate entity outside of Dimanche Gras, a preference of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) and the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Association (Tuco).
“They are staying separated, reason being the NCBA, the entity responsible for the kings and queens, was adamant that the shows should continue as is. We did discuss the possibility of some competitive element within the Dimanche Gras but they did not want that. Tuco also felt that it was important for the Calypso Monarch, which in their view is a premier event of the season, to have its own night.”
Regional Carnivals are to be given a more prominent position in the Carnival.
“There is a lot of potential in the regional Carnivals. There are 52 regions which have events annually, we want to bring some of them to the main stage.”
One such event, the stick fighting competition will now be held at Skinner’s Park, and the Paramin Blue Devils competition and Canboulay Riots are to be brought to the Savannah.
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