Local Vibes
June 27, 2008
Today is Fantastic Friday

Will calypsonians turn up for competition?

Acknowledging the fact that Fantastic Friday just wouldn’t be fantastic without the calypsonians, all efforts were being made up to press time to make sure all is well between the semifinalists and the Carnival Development Corporation.

An intervention by the Minister of Culture René Baptiste may bring a resolution to the tension leading up the opening of Vincy Mas 2008; Fantastic Friday.{{more}}

After a meeting on Wednesday evening at the Victoria Park, the twenty calypsonians were adamant that there should be an increase in the appearance fees for the semifinals from EC$800 to $1200, despite an offer by the CDC to up the offer of $900 to $1000.

A similar request had been made by the bands backing the singers at the semis and finals for an increase in their fees, but discussions had not taken place up to press time.

“The CDC’s position is that we would love to pay more (to the semifinalists), but there are constraints, constraints that don’t start with the CDC.”

That’s according to Acting Chairman of the CDC Lennox Bowman, who commented on the issue earlier Wednesday at a press conference at the Victoria Park.

The acting chairman cited constraints that are being felt globally as one reasons for the lack of funds.

These are the very constraints which are making it difficult for the artistes to cope with the appearance fees that they have been receiving for the past 15 years, said one calypsonian.

As rehearsals continued up to the yesterday (Thursday), president of the Calypsonians Association Hassan Kennedy remained confident that a solution would be reached in time to save Fantastic Friday.

“The calypsonians think it is full time they get $1200 for the semifinals. Its tough going but I think with the help of the minister (Baptiste) things will be worked out by then.”

Thankfully, there are no problems with the appearance fee for the finals, where the finalists each receive $1800 for taking the stage.

Kennedy did not want to make any predictions as to what would happen if things were not worked out in time, believing that things would not reach that stage.

This evening’s grand opening of the Hottest Carnival in the Caribbean is slated to be a tribute to two deceased calypsonians; former president of the SVGCA and past leader of the Graduates Calypso Tent Josiah Ash as well as Winfield ‘Mighty Rey’ Williams.

The competition is to be preceded by a cultural package and speeches by top culture and Carnival officials.

Fantastic Friday will be followed by Junior (Kiddies) Carnival on Saturday and the Soca Monarch Semifinals on Sunday to top off the opening weekend of this country’s largest cultural event.