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Emotional MacFarlane blasts T&T Carnival: Not the greatest show on earth (with CNC3 video)
Defending Band of the Year champion Brian MacFarlane gave an emotional farewell to Carnival stages in T&T as he led his last presentation titled Joy The Finale. Last October, MacFarlane announced that 2013 would be his last year participating in Carnival. He is expected to lead a T&T band in Brazil next year at the opening of the FIFA World Cup.
MacFarlane said T&T Carnival was “not the greatest show on earth” as has been claimed by citizens for several years. He said: “We keep talking about how we have the greatest show on earth...We don’t! Rubbish! We don’t have the greatest show on earth. We have the greatest street party in the world.”
MacFarlane said based on the developments taking place in Rio de Janeiro, “we can’t touch them.” He said the costumes in Brazil were elaborate and people are trained at Samba schools in that country. “The only nakedness that you see are a couple of the floats...and they are very true to their culture, we aren’t.”
“MacFarlane said the people of T&T “are becoming a very shallow, empty people and it is reflected in our Carnival.” “We need to be more creative than the nakedness we are doing...We need to have more substance,” he said. He said the authorities must provide the right incentive to improve the production of mas in T&T.
While he said “nothing was wrong” with paying winning soca and chutney artistes $1 million, MacFarlane said, “We are still getting $300,000 for a large band and that cannot sustain us—and unless they put the right incentives, $5 million—$3 million for the winner and trickle it (the remaining $ 2 million) down more and more we are going to lose it. I am gone and I don’t know who is coming.”
In loud tones, MacFarlane said he was sure others will fail without the required support. “I have tried everything in the book to make this work and it just can’t,” he added. He said the country’s economic success should not only be based on oil and gas. He said Carnival was a “big part of our culture and we could sell it to the world. Rio does an incredible job. We think that we are doing it but we are not doing it right.”
He said a new committee was recently established to “fight the NCBA (National Carnival Bands Association) and I am part of that committee.” He said he will continue working with the committee in the interest of developing T&T’s Carnival. As for his future, MacFarlane said he intended to “create fabulous shows” which will be staged in T&T and subsequently internationally.
He said despite what people may say he never made one cent from his band.
MacFarlane’s band made its final presentation to the music of SuperBlue’s Fantastic Friday. “Thank you, thank you and Good bye,” he said to the judges and the appreciative crowd shortly after 4pm yesterday after crossing the stage at South Quay. He received a standing ovation as he departed. Spectators applauded him and he symbolically went to a girl child in the crowd and put his hat on her head.
MacFarlane has won Band of the Year title for the last seven years. The veteran bandleader quite literally left his mark on the Carnival scene yesterday, not only through a dramatic presentation, but by actually writing his name on the Queen’s Park Savannah stage.
After his band MacFarlane Carnival crossed the stage, MacFarlane made his way centre stage. He bowed to both North and Grand stands and received applause from patrons. Then, in very ceremonious actions, a band official handed MacFarlane a bowl of white paint and paint brush which he used to write the words “MacFarlane Carnival” on stage directly in front of the judges.
Joy The Finale appeared on the Savannah stage at 9 am—uncharacteristically early for a band that is usually among the last to cross the stage. The presentation opened with drumming from the Laventille Rhythm section and a musical theatre piece including dancers wearing white clothes and later painting themselves yellow and red. Joy had 13 sections, each based with white cloth and brightly coloured accents and flags.
MacFarlane also won the King and Queen of Carnival and both costumes appeared with the band. MacFarlane Carnival took approximately one hour to get across and was one of many large bands crossing the stage early this year.
Spotted in the bands
By noon, popular bands such as Ronnie & Caro, Harts and Bliss had already made their way across the stage. Outgoing President George Maxwell Richards and his wife Dr Jean Ramjohn-Richards were in Bliss. In Harts, former Miss Universe T&T representatives Wendy Fitzwilliam and Gabrielle Walcott paraded elaborate frontline costumes with hundreds of feathers.