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Socadrome bands cross Savannah stage

By Janelle de Souza Tuesday, March 4 2014

Several of the Socadrome bands yesterday crossed the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) Parade of the Bands main stage at the Queen’s Park Savannah, although only Harts and Passion were registered to compete.

The Mas bands which chose to take a new route and cross on a new stage at the Jean Pierre Complex include Tribe, Bliss, Yuma, Harts and Passion. However, Passion, Bliss and Tribe all crossed the Savannah stage, with Tribe taking about 50 minutes to do so because of the share number of masqueraders, and well as their unwillingness to leave the stage.

By 3pm, approximately 18 mini, small, medium and large bands had crossed the stage, most of the music trucks playing Machel Montano’s “Ministry of Road,” and very little else. In addition, just after 4 pm, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar entered the Savannah with a large entourage and eventually crossed the stage with Island People.

While the very small crowd in the stand was expected for a Carnival Monday, many were surprised by the unusual number of masqueraders who came out for Monday Mas. The large bands especially had a very good showing, especially Trini Revellers who came out to support their Carnival Queen, “Zamara, Mirage of the Oasis,” portrayed by Peola Marchan.

A few bands stood out from the Mas for various reasons. Wee International, which portrayed Reef of Life, actually had a dance performance from four girls dressed in red and a moko jumbie who danced, wined, bent and generally showed his skill on the stilts. Vie, The Rise of the Sanctuary, while small in number, did not use the usual t-shirt and shorts for Monday’s “dress down” Mas. Instead, the women wore blue spotted blouses with a tail and long, flowing sleeves which blew in the wind, while the men wore blue sleeveless shirts.

Separate to the Mas, was the operations of the NCBA which was taking place at the Savannah. NCBA President David Lopez noted that an independent company was contracted to calculate the bands’ scores from the judges. The results from the four judging points were scanned and automatically entered into a computer and calculated. He noted that there was a special competitor’s number on each sheet of paper, a judges’ numbers, special paper and pens. If any of these are not in place, the score is rejected so that the official results can not be tampered with.

The GPS Company of Trinidad and Tobago Ltd had installed GPS devices in all the large and medium bands including the first and last trucks of the large bands, and one in the medium bands. “Security must be of utmost importance at these large events, especially with our nation’s leaders, diplomats and other people of importance attending,” said Lopez.

Working in conjunction with the GPS Company was the Radio Emergencies Associated Communications Team (REACT), which deployed over 100 reactors to bands depending on the size of the bands. This allows the bands to call in for information, permissions to reroute, or to relate any problems along the way.

“NCBA is gathering information for future planning with the National Carnival Commission. We are looking to develop an optimum route using information such as the number of trucks, the amount of time it takes to complete the route, the number of times they had to stop, etcetera. we are working closely with all Government agencies,” he said.

Lopez also stated that there was too much focus on the event itself. “It would come and go but Carnival is a major industry and we have to build the infrastructure and put it in place to carry Trinidad Carnival global,” he stated.

He said many persons focus on gate receipts, and the small number of people who come to view the Mas. However, the NCBA is taking its show online, and getting persons to pay to see it. The NCBA has fed the show to Ontario, Canada and New York on Seen Television, and was streaming it online live on Pay-per-view. An app can also be downloaded on smartphones to view the live show, photos and video clips of the Mas in the Queen’s Park Savannah.

Lopez noted that when the organisation began streaming the show online in 2012, they had 365,000 hits, and 1.5 million hits in 2013. By 1pm on Monday, the site had received approximately 13,000 hits from West Indians and foreigners in Latin America, China, Africa, the United States of America, and Europe.

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