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Lessons from the Socadrome

Monday, March 10, 2014
Bit Depth
Yuma was the first band to cross the Socadrome stage on Carnival Tuesday. This panoramic photo is a composite of four separate exposures merged using software. DIGITAL IMAGING BY MARK LYNDERSAY

If there had been tumbleweeds in the Jean Pierre Complex, they would have made a quite cinematic sight as they rolled across the vast grey stage built for the Socadrome. 


Workers with heavy gloves pulled cables through routing troughs, a particularly keen young man paced the stage diligently with a blower, blasting unseeable specks off its surface. Ace videographer Selwyn Henry hefted and swung the mighty boom he would manage for the duration of the show.


What happened after all that preparation is now public record. Only three of the bands scheduled to appear at the new venue appeared, though they managed to account for an almost continuous stream of masqueraders for four and a half hours of stage time.


So many questions arising. Like this one. 


Why are we building the North Stand?


Once the North Stand served a real purpose, along with the open bleachers that bracketed the parade route onto the big stage. There were thousands of people who wanted to see pan and mas and there was a real need to accommodate them.


For most of Carnival 2014, though, the North Stand was effectively, when it wasn’t completely, empty of an audience. Or even the odd straggler. Even when there were people there, the Grand Stand could have handily held them.


So let’s stop wasting time and money building it and just put up solid temporary bleachers in the Greens at pan semi-finals to hold the few among that lot who actually want to see what a steelband performance looks like.


Why doesn’t Carnival Tuesday in Port-of-Spain have a stage manager?


Part of the reason that people don’t turn out to look at Carnival any more is that they have no idea what they will end up seeing.


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