It is high time that we revisit our Carnival Organization.
We cannot afford to have our Carnival run by persons who love what they do, but who do not feel that they have an obligation to government / the island.
I admire and respect volunteers, but our Carnival cannot be left up to volunteers that let egos get in their way.
Proposal for Carnival Board
A carnival board should be established, consisting of at least 3 persons. This board must funded by the Departments of Culture and Tourism and must report to those Departments.
There should be at least, a President, a Secretary and a Treasurer. There should be someone in charge of Marketing, someone in charge of Organization and someone in charge of Fundraising.
These 3 or more individuals should be on payroll and work from August to May.
Carnival must become an independent part of the Department of Culture and the Department of Tourism.
This, with proper fundraising, would avoid having to wait for funding from Government before Carnival Starts.
The Festival Village should be turned over to that Carnival Board to be used to generate funds all year long.
All Calypso competitions should be broadcasted.
It is when our artists get an opportunity to showcase their talent to the outer world.
The Carnival Board should sponsor the night of the finals, by absorbing the cost of the village that night. That helps to keep the admissions fee low and ensures a larger attendance.
We should have a roadmarch elimination 5 weeks before Jouvert morning.
5 songs should be selected to compete for the roadmarch title.
The judges at the elimination should be troupe leaders, revelers and musicians.
These songs will have to be the only songs on the road.
5 weeks gives a band enough time to practice our local music.
If a band plays a foreign song during the parades, the troupe(s) they play for should lose points.
The press can be among the judges for the Roadmarch.
Split the Junior Calypso show into a Junior (8 to12 years) and Teen Calypso (13 to 17) competition.
More Senior Calypsonians should ‘adopt’ Junior Calypsonians.
Bandorama should determine band of the year.
Have bands select from 5 previous roadmarch songs and rearrange 3 of them in a medley.
Have them rearrange a local song, whatever genre they choose.
Have them play a song of their choice. Most could play their roadmarch if they have one.
The bands will be judged on these 3 selections.
This exposes our local music and artists to our visitors and gives our music longevity.
25% of the booths should go for a 2-year lease, 25% should go for a 3-year lease, 25% for a 4-year lease and 25% for a 5-year lease.
When a lease expires, the next person to take the booth gets a 5-year lease.
All entrepreneurs should be able to apply for a booth and provide proof that they can operate a booth. They would then be placed on a list to get a booth when a lease expires.
Sports organizations and service clubs should be encouraged to take booths. This could be great for raising funds.
This also avoids all booth holders having to re-apply every year.
There must be a time limit for current booth holders to inform the Carnival Board if he/she will keep the booth he/she has.
Steel band must become a vital part of our carnival. An area in front of the stage could be ‘roped off’ for the pans. They don’t have to be on stage most nights.
Businesses and promoters should be encouraged to sponsor the steel band to play in the village between 8PM and 9PM and have promotions during that hour. That could attract people into the village earlier as well as expose our young talented pan players.
Attempt should be made to have schools form steel bands and compete.
Junior and Senior Carnival Queens should play a ceremonial role in most activities.
They should be among welcoming parties and among those making contributions etc.
This would encourage them to be more responsible citizens and better role models for the younger ones. It could also encourage others to take part in future queen shows.
It would be nice if education could be included in the criteria. (The contestant’s grades at school or evaluation at work)
Get a 6’ X 6’ space in hotel lobbies and airport/seaport terminals and put a mannequin in a carnival costume. Play a DVD with carnival activities and information and a narration, especially during check-in / checkout time. This should be done year round. It should be a contribution by the hotel and can also be a marketing tool for the hotel.
The Carnival Board must maintain the costumes.
The cost of the nights in the village should vary depending on the day of week and the time of the month. Someone who wants to put on a show during the week should pay a lower price, if that show does not precede a holiday. The later the date is in the month of April, the more the cost could be.
The Carnival Board should advise promoters not to bring any shows during carnival that will cost more than $20 at the gate. It is an abuse of residents and visitors to bring expensive shows during carnival. There should also be a limit to how many acts are presented. Most of the time, patrons leave the village before the main act gets on stage.
There should be a possibility for the Carnival Board to ‘co-promote’ shows with promoters.
This could be done by lowering the cost of the village for sharing in the profit from the show.
A lot more can be done.
It is high time we respect carnival for what it is.
Clifton R. Wilson