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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Spice Sold Out Online

Spicy news from Spice, they are SOLD OUT online:


Hello Spice crew,

The Spice Online Store is now SOLD OUT!!! We would like to thank our international masqueraders for your continued support.

This year we welcome our international Spice crew from The Caribbean, U.S., Canada, England, Australia, Japan, Dubai and New Zealand to mention a few.

If you missed your opportunity to register online, you can still registerby simply contacting our office. For further information, feel free to contact our office @ 1 (868) 222-0475 or email us at admin@spicecarnivalband.com.

See you on the road as we take The Spice Route!!!

The Rich Man's Carnival

When it comes to Carnival I have always been an eternal optimist especially when challenged with criticism that the celebration has become too commercialized and nothing resembling the grass roots celebration borne from slavery. In the face of protests against rising costume prices, allegations of classism, racism and elitism in Carnival I have defended the concept of a place and space for everyone arguing that you can still enjoy mas in a band that meets your budget or choose not to support expensive all inclusive fetes over the non inclusive. However today I am eating my words with a second helping of resignation that Carnival today is no longer everyone's Carnival but the rich man's Carnival after reading on the Trinidad Express that not only have prices for Panorama increased again for another year, but that even the man who is going on the "drag" (track area by the stage) will be charged a fee! The last bastion of freeness, a man being able to actually enjoy our national instrument supporting his band of choice and participating in Carnival is over.

I may be dating myself here by telling you that I remember the days when Panorama Preliminaries was free, that's right, the North Stand was a place where you went for the lime with the people and the Grand Stand was where they charged you to hang out with the bourgeoisie and officials. The year they started charging $20.00TT to enter the North Stand my friends and I developed a strategy to storm (get in for free) and storm we did for the following years until the fence got higher and the price reached $100.00TT; I guess when the President of the country no longer wanted to hang out in the Grand Stand and chose the North Stand instead it became "grand" and we got charged "grand" prices. In the last few years I have watched Panorama prices steadily increase for the preliminaries and semi finals , leading to a whopping $300.00TT entrance fee in 2010 if you choose the North Greens. The paddock stands are $260.00TT and the track will be between $60.00 to $80.00TT. Apparently the track will now boast stands and washrooms so I guess the public has to be charged for these amenities that should have been in place all along.

Going to Panorama Preliminaries will now cost you the price of an all inclusive fete if you choose to patronize one of the popular social outfit's "pan limes" that can run you an extra $250.00 to $400.00TT (excluding the cost of your ticket) to party with the likes of Red Ants, Cesar's Army or Insomniacs. This gets you a t shirt or tank top, drinks, food, snacks, a goody bag and your own rhythm section, depending on the lime, making what was once a bring your cooler and pot of pelau type of event into an all day all inclusive party affair. I have never subscribed to the philosophy of paying for a pan lime because I was never inclined to pay extra for food and drinks at Panorama when my friends and I could walk with our own for MUCH less. I am very much old school in that respect as Panorama for me was more about the pan and the people than about the party, because frankly the true pan lovers are not found in the North Stand.

It makes me feel very jaded that I have to admit the critics were right, it is all about money. I held no illusions on that fact but I still had hope that even the poorest lover of Carnival could still find something to enjoy that did not cost a cent or a television. Carnival 2010 we see no free concerts held in Woodford Square, the end of getting into Panorama free;what will 2011 and 2012 bring? Will they make Jouvert an affair for the Stadium and charge you to enter?And when the Carnival Centre gets built will you have to pay to view mas as well? No more spectator stands on the street? Sounds insane to think this way but  never would I have I believed that the man who sweats over pushing  the pan would be standing  outside the tracks for Panorama, while the rhythm section drowned out the sounds of steel in the exclusive all inclusive stands, and he will not be allowed in without a dollar in his pocket. 13 years ago I would never have thought it and look where we are today... a sobering preview of the future of Carnival in the 21st century and beyond. Carnival has become once again, the rich man's Carnival.

Answers To Your Frequently Asked Questions

As it gets closer to Carnival 2010 many people are finding their way to this blog in search of some bit of information or the other pertaining to their preparations and apart from emails I receive interesting web searches that lead them to the blog. People are looking for information on  "What Should U Bring to Carnival TT" to "What To Expect In Trinidad" to "What to Wear to an All inclusive Fete", all topics covered before and listed under the Carnival Tips and Advice section on the right of the blog. So here is a direct link to some of the more popular answers to your questions.






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