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Carnival 2013

Dimanche Gras, Calypso Monarch ‘not so good’

By Janelle De Souza Thursday, February 14 2013

click on pic to zoom in
Fancy dames: Dame Lorraines dance across the Queen's Park Savannah stage in Port-of-...
Fancy dames: Dame Lorraines dance across the Queen's Park Savannah stage in Port-of-...

The production of the Dimanche Gras and Calypso Monarch shows was not as good as anticipated, but there would be an improvement next year, Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Dr Lincoln Douglas, declared yesterday.

“A couple of the Carnival events” did not do well, despite preparations, Douglas told Newsday. “We wanted to put together a show to represent the crème de la crème of Carnival, from calypso to mas to steelpan, but that didn’t quite happen,” Douglas said of Dimanche Gras, held last Carnival Sunday.

However, Douglas still believed the separation of the competitions for calypso and King and Queen of Carnival from the Dimanche Gras was a good idea, and has already begun to meet with stakeholders to discuss how to improve next year’s show.

Dimanche Gras has been described as boring by some and the show still ran past midnight on Sunday. The Calypso Monarch final began on Carnival Thursday night, but ended at about 2.30 am on Friday. Only the King and Queen of Carnival finals, held along with the junior competitions, ran smoothly finishing before midnight on Carnival Friday.

Despite the production and time management problems of the Dimanche Gras and Calypso Monarch finals, Douglas said he believed Carnival went well for the majority of masqueraders and spectators on Monday and Tuesday. He said people “jumped and seemed to have a good time,” and the various regional Carnivals experienced an increase in masqueraders.

Responding to Large Band of the Year winner, Brian Mac Farlane’s comments about the state of mas in Trinidad and Tobago, and the fact that the Band of the Year prize was small, $300,000, compared to other competitions where winners were rewarded with $1 million, Douglas said he understood Mac Farlane’s anxiety. Mac Farlane had previously announced that he would no longer compete or bring out a band next Carnival, opting to go to Brazil in 2014.

“I understand that he hasn’t been making money and there is a loss of creativity in the mas, but it was Mac Farlane’s choice to leave the TT mas scene. I hope he would stay on and work with stakeholders towards upliftment of the mas, even if he doesn’t bring out a band,” he said.

Douglas noted that, as a State official, his aims were to make sure Carnival was something that everyone would want to participate in and enjoy; that tourists would visit to see Carnival and thereby contribute further to the economy; and that meaningful industries would come out of the festival to support the people of the country.

He said he personally agreed with Mac Farlane and would like to see more support for mas, however, he was “not sure” it was the Government’s job to do so.

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