You are here
Bandleaders mull following McFarlane
Several Carnival bands may follow in the footsteps of Brian McFarlane and pull out of 2014 Carnival. The bands say they are disappointed and fed up with what they describe as the disorganisation and poor management of “the greatest show on earth.” Many claim that they received a raw deal for Carnival 2013.
The bandleaders have also expressed disgust at what they see as the backward steps being made to Carnival and they believed that their efforts to improve the mas are an absolute waste of time. They complained that Carnival is not being branded properly and the festival is being diluted annually.
The issues include:
• poor stage and general management of mas
• unfair allocation of time onstage
• favouritism shown to some bands
• unfair disqualification
• poor judging
• poor and untimely communication
The source in the Carnival bands fraternity told the T&T Guardian two bands would be seeking legal action against the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) and National Carnival Commission (NCC) arising out of issues in the 2013 Carnival.
This was a result of what they called poor judging, unfair disqualification and the backing up of masqueraders on Carnival Tuesday at the corner of Charlotte and Park Streets, Port-of-Spain, which led some bands to abandon the original route and sacrifice not crossing the big Savannah stage. The source said the bandleaders took that decision in the interest of their masqueraders, who suffered at this spot for more than seven hours.
The T&T Guardian was told that chaos prevailed on Carnival Tuesday when the near eight hours bottleneck developed. According to reports the band Legacy was heading to Charlotte Street from Piccadilly Street at around 9.40 am but was blocked when Island People came onto Charlotte Street off Park Street. This frustrating hold-up also affected Fantasy. Behind Fantasy were first-timers Colorz Fuh So and then Yuma.
This triggered a chain reaction, causing about nine mas bands to stand still for more than seven hours. In front of Island People was Spice, Trini Revellers, Renegades, Tribe, Bliss and Ronnie and Caro in that order heading to the top of Charlotte Street to the Queen’s Park Savannah. The source said the bands were not moving for several reasons, one of which was the inaccurate information from the operation centre at the Savannah.
“The React Operation Centre, which was responsible for the communication and the free flow of bands via GPS, conveyed a lot of inaccurate information as to where the bands were actually located. For example the monitor showed Legacy at Belmont Circular at the time when the band was stuck for hours at Charlotte Street.” On investigation, the source said, a React official who was wearing the GPS and was supposed to be with the band was found at a friend’s house in Belmont.
Another reason, the source said, was the absence of any kind of stage management to direct and guide masqueraders on and off the stage, which had previously been implemented for many years.
The source said National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF) head Satram-Maharaj, NCC head Allison Demas and Brig Carl Alfonso were informed of the situation and quickly came to the scene. As they walked from the Savannah to the point of confusion, they witnessed thousands of masqueraders either wearily sitting along the pavements or leaning on the walls, without music in some cases.
When the delegation arrived there was an animated discussion with Fantasy, Tribe and Legacy officials on the bottleneck. One bandleader asked NCBA official Sam Lewis, who joined the delegation, why Island People was allowed to come across Park Street. The source said Lewis said some people asked for certain privileges which were granted.
The rule said no bands were to come across Park Street after 7 am, the T&T Guardian was told. In a bid to alleviate the confusion, the source said the NCDF head negotiated with two of his member bands, Fantasy and Yuma, to forego crossing the Savannah stage and divert onto Gordon Street to relieve the tension, and for Yuma to turn left onto Prince Street. This would have been Yuma’s second year in a row of not crossing the stage.
The bands, however, wanted to cross the stage, but made the sacrifice to alleviate the congestion. Notwithstanding that this was very helpful in defusing the situation, the T&T Guardian was told that it still took these bands more than seven hours before crossing the stage.
The source said Legacy was prepared to follow the allotted time, but when it got the green light to go it could not because there was a fight at the end of the stage and there was no police presence. One of Legacy’s security guards tried to help the situation but was reportedly beaten up. When contacted, Satram-Maharaj confirmed the reports. He said Fantasy and Yuma should be highly commended for sacrificing the Savannah stage to help defuse the situation.
He agreed that chaos and confusion prevailed on the route on Carnival Tuesday.
User comments posted on this website are the sole views and opinions of the comment writer and are not representative of Guardian Media Limited or its staff. Guardian Media Limited accepts no liability and will not be held accountable for user comments.
Please help us keep out site clean from inappropriate comments by using the flag option.
Guardian Media Limited reserves the right to remove, to edit or to censor any comments. Any content which is considered unsuitable, unlawful or offensive, includes personal details, advertises or promotes products, services or websites or repeats previous comments will be removed.