Dr. Fraser- Point of View
July 8, 2022
Carnival Over! What next?

Vincymas is over so I guess now is the time for post-mortems, reviews, bad talk and getting rid of any steam left. Seriously, much will be said about 2022 carnival, about the good, the bad and the ugly, but let us remember that there was only a short period to prepare, for even when the first announcement was made a number of conditions were put in place. But of course, that should not mean that anything goes. The late start of some of the shows must be condemned as well as the tossing of projectiles at the closing stage of the Soca Monarch show. I have heard no explanation as to why persons who paid for “Pay For View” did not hear Zion -I who was the first calypsonian on stage for the calypso finals. I have heard of no criminal incidents and must applaud the police for their presence and their vigilance in seizing potential weapons.

Any criticisms levelled must be with a view to making things better next time around. One serious question that has to be asked is, what is carnival? I say this because we have been seeing a rapid growth in all-inclusives and other private shows. Is carnival the atmosphere that prevails, giving opportunities for anyone to do whatever to satisfy patrons, or is it about Pan, Calypso and Mas? So, persons can come to SVG for carnival, not go to any of the shows at the Park but take in all the private shows and then declare that they enjoyed VincyMas. There were those days in the past when either a written or unwritten rule specified that public fetes outside those organised by the CDC were to take place after the CDC shows at the Park. I remember in the early days of the street bars, persons coming for carnival, spending all their time at Hillocks bar because that was where they met their friends. Those were however different times. In these hard times, I imagine hard decisions will have to be made, whether to spend time at official carnival functions or at the private ones.

Without doubt private shows will increase. Is it a warning to the CDC to lift the standard of their shows or lose patrons? The question remains, what is carnival? What do we expect from it? The hope is that visitors will be attracted to our shores and spend some of their money here. But to do this doesn’t mean that they have to spend their money at CDC organised shows. So, what is carnival all about? What do we expect from it? How do we factor into this equation those artistes who spend time and money displaying their skills? If we say VincyMas 2022 was good, what are we talking about- the quality of what was put on display or the fact that you had a good time?

In all of this we must never forget the calypsonians, the soca artistes, the mas men and the steel pan men who look forward to carnival to put their talents on display and to earn an income. It was certainly good this year to see calypso regaining some attention with the crowd responding the way it did at the tents and shows. I am suggesting that the organisers of the tents try to attract some sponsors and make the tent a place that people will want to visit. Maybe a start could be made with a government grant and some serious reorganisation of the tents. I am putting this responsibility in the hands of [Earl] “Caba” Bennett. It is not an impossible task. Steelpan also needs some room outside of carnival. What of workshops for all the carnival artistes! Our task should be to continue to lift the standard of the components of carnival. Make the shows attractive so that attending the shows becomes a vital part of carnival regardless of the other activities around.

Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator and historian