July 2, 2004

Vincy Mas amidst mixed signals

We are well into the reign of the Merry Monarch King Carnival, and we must make one observation. There seems to have been, thus far, a very lukewarm response to many of the pre-Carnival shows, and those held since at Carnival City. The sole exception has been the Queen of Calypso show, which saw a relatively large turnout.{{more}}
Many have been the reasons proffered by those who express a genuine interest in seeing our beloved cultural festival continue to improve. Among them is that lack of transportation at nights makes it difficult to move around; another is that persons do not have the finance to afford attendance at multiple activities. Yet another is that persons have just become plain tired of suffering long hours at shows that do not start on time and drag on for too long.
Now, it may be all the above or a combination of them, but it all points to one thing, we need to arrest the decline, and urgently.
It must be cause for concern among calypsonians when the largest crowd at any tent show for the season may have numbered just over three hundred persons. It must be even greater concern for the Carnival Development Corporation that the National Calypso Semifinals show could not attract anyone under the age of 35. We think that some serious messages are being sent out here that must be taken note of.
But then, when we see that the Junior Soca Monarch show could not attract the thousands of school children a show of this nature could potentially have brought out, it says we need to get back to the drawing board. Or, at least, we need to get back to the conference room to analyse where things have gone wrong.
The quality of our calypsoes, this year, seems to have taken a nosedive, it is generally agreed, and it was thus easy to predict just who would have made it through to the semifinals. Now, after the quarrels over whose favourite calypsonians have been left out of the finals this Sunday, it is our hope that the Dimanche Gras would arrest the trend we have been seeing thus far and not be a bust. This could be demoralizing for the organizers and participants too. We have already been seeing the usual high standard of costumes our masmen are known for, and look forward to more of the same Sunday night and into Mardi Gras.
We hope, though, that tonight’s Miss Carival show would attract the usual large crowds and thus bring some measure of comfort to the CDC.
Our festival remains at a crossroads, and one senses that the organizers are searching, once again, for the right mix of product offer, on the ground, to match their improved marketing efforts.
While we seem to be getting mixed signals, in the end we expect to hear that this was, once again, a great carnival.