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After Joy comes more joy
Congratulations are well-deserved to masman Brian MacFarlane and soca artiste SuperBlue (Austin Lyons) for winning two of Carnival’s most prestigious prizes—Band of the Year and The Vibe 105.1FM Road March, respectively.
Despite being reportedly penalised for staying too long on stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, on Tuesday, MacFarlane’s Joy: the Finale defeated Ronnie & Caro’s The Mystery of the Cascadura by 144 points, while SuperBlue’s Fantastic Friday (511 votes) trounced Machel Montano’s Float (56 votes) by a whopping 455 votes, the largest margin in Road March history.
One of the most significant aspects of SuperBlue’s accomplishments for C2K13 is the manner in which he has been successful in bridging generations.
Young people who were not even born when the Point Fortin bard won his first Road March title in 1980 were able to experience the buzz and euphoria that my generation felt 33 years ago when he sang Soca Baptist.
Infants of the Holistic School mobbed SuperBlue last week Thursday when he made a surprise guest appearance at their Jeudi Gras fiesta at Queen’s Hall. It was the same thing wherever the much-loved calypsonian went this entire season, the adoration increasing after he tied with Montano at Carnival Friday’s International Power Soca Monarch final.
With most of the masquerade bands in Port-of-Spain displaying excellent organisational skills in moving thousands along our capital’s narrow streets, made even more challenging with convoys of 40-foot trailers in tow, my choice of the most efficient organisation in C2K13 is Cepep (Community Based Environmental Protection & Enhancement Programme).
The staff of the state-run environmental company was highly visible at most events staged by the National Carnival Commission (NCC) and special interest groups (SIGs), cleaning up after bands, artistes and masqueraders.
On Tuesday, I admired their work as they removed debris left behind by every band that paraded at the competition venues, even having trucks to collect and dispose of the bags of garbage gathered.
This is now my most-repeated post-Carnival mantra: the Government, planners and implementers of Carnival should have initiated planning for Carnival 2014 since Ash Wednesday.
They have more than a year to correct this year’s problems, with special attention being paid to the parade route in Port-of-Spain, and management of the major competitions and events.
As I mentioned before, the Panorama final needs to be shortened by at least three hours. One way of doing this, is by extricating the medium band final from the same night as the large band competition, leaving Carnival Saturday exclusively to the latter category.
Something drastic has to be done to the finals of the King and Queen of Carnival competitions, especially with backstage management and the length of the programme. By having finalists sing one song rather than two, the duration of the National Calypso Monarch final can also be shortened considerably.
Dimanche Gras on Carnival Sunday night is a massive undertaking and five weeks to get all of its components precisely in place is way too little time. Planning for this all-important night must begin long before the year ends.
Historically, Dimanche Gras marks the commencement of two days of revelry on the streets, followed by J’Ouvert. Sans the calypso monarch and costume finals, the new format was a disaster, and the NCC really needs to strip the entire programme and produce a completely new show.
Some serious thought and planning needs to be put into the route for the Parade of the Bands before next year’s Carnival as bands are still subjected to a five-hour wait on Charlotte Street to access the Savannah stage.
The streets of Port-of-Spain accommodated small vans and horse and buggies back in 1913, not 40-foot trailers a century later. They have not been widened, expanded or enhanced.
I agree with the MacFarlane plan—let large bands draw lots to decide a day to parade before the judges. On the next day, they parade on an alternative route. The route is just inadequate for the thousands of masqueraders on parade and numerous, huge trucks and trailers.
Another suggestion is to have the non-competing bands parade along an alternative route, perhaps to the west.
Otherwise, C2K13, which seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye, was a balanced mix of good and bad. It was good to feel safe thanks to the presence of the police and security personnel at every event. So much so, that on Carnival Monday morning, it seemed that security personnel outnumbered masqueraders.
It was good that the two days of mas were blessed with perfect weather. It was good that the general behaviour of the public was exemplary.
And so, we look ahead to C2K14, scheduled for March 3-4; 380 days away.
Steel in concert
I have been assured by officials of Pan Trinbago that tomorrow night’s Steel in Concert...Plus will not be a reprise of Sunday night’s Dimanche Gras. For starters, unlike Dimanche Gras, the programme will have the best steelbands of C2K13, including Junior Panorama winners St Margaret’s Anglican Boys (Primary); St Francois Girls Steel Orchestra (Secondary); Success Stars Pan Sounds (Non School).
Also headlining the pan segment of the programme will be 2013 National Panorama champion Petrotrin Phase II Pan Groove; Tobago’s NLCB Buccooneers; Arima’s Golden Symphony; and, San Juan’s East Side Symphony.
Completing this showcase of champions are the major winners of Carnival 2013 in mas, calypso, soca and chutney soca monarch competitions.
Laughter follows Carnival
One of the biggest post-C2K13 shows is the Annual World Laugh Festival Reloaded. Produced by YMG Productions, it is being staged at six venues nationwide, premiering today and running until February 24.
Tonight’s premiere, scheduled to begin at 8.30 at Jean Pierre Complex, Port-of-Spain, will feature Jamaica “king of comedy” Bobby Smith, USA’s Susan Kennedy, Barbadian Trevor Eastmond, impersonator Gary Jagrup, Sprangalang, Tommy Joseph, Peter Joseph, Cleavas Charles, Damion Melville, Clifford Learmond, Louis Antoine and many more.
Other stagings are at Creative Arts Centre, San Fernando (February 16); Signal Hill Comprehensive School (February 17); Samar Entertainment Centre, Princes Town (February 22); Naparima Bowl, San Fernando (February 23); and, Centre of Excellence, Macoya (February 24).
As a special to its loyal supporters, for the Jean Pierre premiere, YMG will admit two patrons on one ticket.
Another post-Carnival biggie is The Alternative Comedy Festival, premiering tonight at Arima Velodrome. This one stars Learie Joseph, Errol Fabien, Hott Mouth Granny and her Hot Mouth Posse, Wendell Etienne, The Saint, Delores Alexander, Penelope Spencer, Cyclops, Kenneth Supersad, Crazy Catholic Crew, George Gonzales, Dr Choonkie Ting, Knutslanding, Guyana’s Chow Pow, and Canada’s Marc Trinidad and Jean Paul.
The show will be reprised tomorrow at Centre Pointe Mall, Chaguanas, and Sunday in Port-of-Spain, at the Queen’s Park Savannah.
Next weekend it will be staged on February 22 at Guaracara Park, Pointe-a-Pierre, and at the Centre of Excellence, on February 23 and at Simplex, Princes Town, on February 24.
This evening, Keensdee Productions premieres Talk Tent ‘13 at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, at 8 pm.
This production is celebrating its 30th anniversary and is being headlined by Paul Keens Douglas, Raymond Edwards, Raheed Hosein, Bro Superior, Miguel Browne, Felix Edinborough, Farida Chapman, Short Pants and Roy & Gloria. The show will be repeated tomorrow, at 8 pm, and on Sunday at 6.30 pm.
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