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Bad timing left Harts out of Socadrome

Thursday, March 6, 2014
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams is greeted by Tribe bandleader Dean Ackin while National Security Minister Gary Griffith looks on during their visit to the Socadrome at the Jean Pierre Complex on Carnival Tuesday. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ

The Socadrome initiative endorsed by five of the major Carnival bands ended up with mixed reviews on Carnival Tuesday. Harts and Passion did not get to cross the specially built stage at the Jean Pierre Complex because of a timing clash with the much bigger Tribe. 



Arriving at the end of Fitzblackman Drive, having spruced up their costumes and prepared to cross the stage, Harts masqueraders told the T&T Guardian they then heard announcements from their section leaders telling them to return to the trucks because they were diverting to have their lunch in Victoria Square earlier than planned. They then saw Tribe beginning to enter the arena to cross the stage. “Two hours later, after our lunch, Tribe were still crossing the stage, so we didn’t get to,” said a Harts mas player. 



“But Harts still had an excellent day. We knew we were going to the Socadrome, we just arrived at the wrong moment, and the thing about our bandleaders is they want to keep us on the move, not standing for two-three hours partying on the spot like Tribe do on Carnival Tuesday because of the size of their band.” Harts crossed the Savannah stage early, as is traditional. The first section began crossing at 7.30 am.


Another Harts masquerader said, “I think sending the bands west and taking it away from downtown was a failure. Harts didn’t make it to the Socadrome and no one seemed too concerned and upset about it.” For those masqueraders who did cross the stage the Socadrome was a more positive experience. 



Gabriella Bernard, 19, playing mas for the first time with Yuma, said, “The Socadrome was great. It was definitely a great substitute for crossing the (Savannah) stage and mimicked everything that was embodied in that experience.” Crowds inside the Jean Pierre Complex were small, with just a handful of people paying $25 for access to the banks of seats. But the same could be said of the North Stand at the Savannah.


Acting Commisisoner of Police Stephen Williams said yesterday the major challenge in the previous years was bands getting to the Savannah stage. He said the Socadrome “aided in easing the levels of traffic for it to flow.”



Officials: It went well
Socadrome officials released a brief press statement yesterday which read, “Crowds at the facility were small as expected for the pilot project,” but added that the project “went fairly well. Feedback from our masqueraders so far is largely positive as it removed congestion and long wait times from their mas experience.”


On behalf of Carnival TV, which live-streamed the Socadrome mas, Camille Parsons told the T&T Guardian, “On TV it looked absolutely amazing, with the backdrop of blue sky instead of a field. The sunrise was beautiful and it would have looked magnificent at night too.”


As it was, the complex was only licensed up until 4 pm as fears of congestion along the highway and Wrightson Road meant an early finish time had been agreed upon in advance. Parsons suggested that an extended stint next year would allow all the big bands to cross the stage.


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