VincyMas 2022 will be packed into two weekends this year with scaled down, vaccinated events, unless 70 per cent of the eligible population becomes vaccinated against COVID-19.
Should the 70 per cent target be met by March/April, the cultural festival will be held in its full unrestricted state. But until those figures come to fruition, the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) has curated a list of events in keeping with existing COVID protocols.
“The feeling is that there is a need for a larger, more inclusive scale of Vincymas for it to be truly successful but that will depend on the rate of vaccination and the state of the COVID pandemic at that time. All plans for VIncymas are obviously subject to change and at all times, we will be guided by the updated protocols as issued by the CMO [Chief Medical Officer], and the security authorities,” CDC chairman, Ricardo Adams said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“Should there be a reversal of fortunes and the event has to be cancelled, the CDC has been required to make a proposal for a rational compensation package for financially dislocated practitioners of the art form to be approved by the Cabinet. The CDC and the government of St Vincent and the Grenadines look forward to hosting the best possible VincyMas 2022 in the interest of all of the stakeholders of Vincymas and for the nation of St Vincent and the Grenadines.”
VincyMas is slated to run from June 24 to July 5, after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic.
All street parade activities have been excluded from this year’s staging of the cultural festival, as current protocols do not allow for that kind of activity to take place.
Adams noted that the event will begin on Friday, June 24 with a launch party “that encompasses the energy and embraces the energy of Vincymas featuring all the heavy hitters of our culture”.
This year, Junior Carnival will take the form of a fun day for children at Victoria Park on June 25.
Calypso, Ragga Soca and Soca semi-finals will be held in a single, all-day event on Sunday, June 26 in Pembroke.
“…We’re hoping we can have that at what was the old Emerald Isle Casino grounds down in Pembroke so that will allow for picnic style again, open air, allow for social and physical distancing and a lot of breeze blowing through…”the CDC chairman said.
EVO — an event highlighting the evolution of Vincy music over the last 40 years of the cultural festival will return on Sunday, July 1 at the Cruise Ship Terminal, while the much anticipated and high energy Soca Monarch competition will be held on July 2 at Victoria Park.
An event dubbed “Pan-Kai-Mas” will replace the traditional Dimanche Gras event on Sunday, July 3 at Victoria Park. The pan finals, Calypso finals and a mas display will be featured at this event.
“On Monday July 4, we’re looking at having the traditional J’Ouvert probably on the steps of the Grammar School or somewhere in that area because unfortunately, realistically, we know that normally doesn’t attract a very large crowd so we think that we can get away with that in a small area where there’s a display stage,” Adams also disclosed.
“And what we’re looking at is the modern bands, which tends to be the paint bands, etc. We’re looking at them having a bubble party where they can do their paint and a lot of them have been doing this for years, where there’s a pre-j’ouvert gathering and they’ll have a party in a venue and then they’d hit the streets. What we’re basically doing is removing the hitting the streets but you can still go into enclosed venues and have your events.”
The Monday t-shirt band event will also be held in an enclosed venue, all while exercising the established health protocols.
July 5 has been set aside for the mas display, but in a more restricted setting without the fanfare of a street parade.
“The proposal is for the costume bands to be able to go to the tarmac of the old ET Joshua and use the northern end of the runway and be able to do a level of parading in front of the judges and then the bands can return to their bubbles and have their parties in that area,” Adams said.
He explained that this “allows us a fairly large area. It allows us to use multiple stationary music points that the masqueraders can get the feel of music and it allows us obviously, if we have to move the masqueraders, because you can’t judge masqueraders in a stationary position, it’s called mas on the move. We have to be able to move the masqueraders past the judges.”
Miss SVG, a previous staple event in VincyMas has been moved to October 29, 2022 — two days after this country celebrates independence — to allow for the required detailed planning of the event.
Adams used the press conference to encourage citizens to get vaccinated, noting that the more persons that do so allows for the growth of the cultural festival.
He said the CDC will do what it can to execute VincyMas this year, but without the required vaccination numbers “we are preparing actively, to put on, as a minimum, a vaccinated VincyMas, which I refer to as Vaxxi-Mas”.
“So VincyMas is now Vaxxi-Mas. I think that if we all work together and we put our best foot forward, we can continue to show the world that VincyMas is the hottest carnival in the Caribbean,” Adams said.