Vincy Mas 2K5 is now history. A successful festival we’d say, but how does one measure success? More importantly, how can on ensure continued success.
Barring final figures from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture and the Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) we must of necessity review several areas that beg our attention and make some suggestions.
The first is the vexing question of where we are really going with our beloved calypso. It is a collective shame on our calypso fraternity that no single tent has been able to attract more than two hundred patrons to any one pre-carnival show.
Many have been the reasons proffered. But, with the cry from tents for start up monies and with the inability of tents to secure venues, we have to agree that there are just too many tents. Quantity abounds yes, but quality is sadly missing.
The competition must begin, not at the prelims, but to get into a tent. We just cannot afford the number of tents that struggle each year to make ends meet. We want to propose too that calypso tent shows need not wait until Carnival time to put on shows. A competent four-man band can adequately provide accompaniment for a cast of ten calypsonians.
And we must question why is it that, at a time when there are so many visitors and returning Vincentians here begging for action, the tents refuse to continue to function. This is the time when they stand most to be able to attract good paying audiences.
And on the issue of the lack of tent venues, why can the Peace Memorial Hall not be used to showcase our calypso talent? That location was so used in that past and, with the small audiences being attracted to tents, we suggest that this could signal the resurgence of tent action at a respectable standard.
The other often troubling aspect of our festival, pan is finally showing promise of a renaissance after some years of floundering with a lone nursery though what was until this year the Cable &Wireless Junior Panorama competition.
This nurturing process has to be carefully managed through a comprehensive plan to encourage the formation of bands in schools and communities or through a combination of both. This will of necessity require an injection of funds through sponsorship from the corporate community, which can pay dividends for all. We do have competent pannists who can be used as tutors if we are serious. Pan cannot be something we remember a few months before the national arts festival.
Similarly the continued forward thrust of Mas can be planned through the nurturing of designers and masmen not in the ad hoc manner we have done traditionally. We can encourage young budding artists to become involved in Mas but through a concerted programme as we spread the teaching of art in schools.
And while we have honoured the Miss SVG with a university scholarship, the people who really create the spectacle, which is Vincy Mas, have been left behind. Have not been given the same importance. We suggest that consideration be given to the awarding of bursaries, even though short term, to members of steel bands, to calypso arrangers or composers or to young carnival designers to schools of art or music to assist them in developing their craft.
Finally, on the vexing question of judging and what has ensued with the Miss Carival result this year, we recommend that judges be allowed to confer before giving their final verdict. Surely we can trust the intergrity and intelligence of the persons we call upon to carry out this task.
Our onward development has to be scientific, it has to be planned. This way, we can ensure that we plan for a festival that is truly second to none.
We can do it.