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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

People's Partnership Proposes People's Band For Carnival 2011!

Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston "Gypsy" Peters, has revealed plans for a wholly inclusive FREE Carnival Band where all masqueraders are welcomed to bring their costume and participate in next year's Carnival parade. Sponsored by the Government, the People's Band will provide music for masqueraders with the emphasis on your own costuming. Both The Trinidad Express and Guardian Newspapers are reporting on the People's Band; see the following quotes or visit the links for the full article:

You can play mas free on the streets of Port of Spain for Carnival 2011.
This was announced yesterday by Minister of The Arts and Multiculturalism, Winston "Gypsy" Peters.
The Ministry of Multiculturalism will provide music trucks and anyone interested can play mas in the band that will require only that one wears some form of costume.
"We are bringing out the People's Band. Just bring your costume and come. We will provide the music trucks. I want the people to be creative. There will be no restrictions, no sections. This will encourage the return of traditional mas and I'm hoping people will pull out those antique costumes they have stored away, clean them off and come play mas," Peters said during a walk through the Queen's Park Savannah. He was accompanied by the board of the National Carnival Commission.
As for how this People's Band will affect registration and ultimately income of the commercial mas bands, Peters said he is not concerned as they have been taking away jobs from people by importing ready-made costumes from China and India as well as denying food vendors from earning income through their all-inclusive services.
"I am not concerned about taking away sales from the mas bands. They import costumes from India and China putting people out of jobs. Carnival is about people enjoying themselves, not about having to buy costumes for $3,000 and $4,000. When they provide their premium bars and food the small man on the street not making any money because the masqueraders just passing them by. Make a costume and come, just not one from India or China," Peters said.

People's band
One of the ministry's plans is to bring out a "people's band" where the People's Partnership Government will provide music trucks and "anybody could bring their costume and come," Peters disclosed. The aim is to draw away some of the Savannah masqueraders and decrease the crowd there. "People will go to that (the people's band)," Peters said. "I hope to see the return of antique costumes and creativity. There are no restrictions. If you are unemployed, make a mas face and come." Peters also dismissed questions about taking away sales from mas designers.
"That's not my concern," he said, frankly. "They are bringing mas from India and China and I don't know if they are taking away jobs from the people and suppressing their creativity." Asked the cost of the exercise to beautify the Carnival "place" in the Savannah, the minister replied: "Whatever it takes for us to be here. "I'm not saying we're sparing no cost. The whole country is under financial constraints but Carnival is also a business." De Silva said his passion was Carnival management and said the NCC board held its first meeting on the site yesterday afternoon. A Ministry of Works engineering team and an architect also were supposed to visit the area to begin preparations, De Silva said. "I'm looking forward to coming up to everybody's expectations," he said.

While I applaud the idea as critics have been lamenting the fact that rising costume prices and the exclusivity of all inclusive Carnival bands are leaving those who cannot afford a costume without the experience of playing mas, there are a few concerns for me personally.
The first is with the band being open to all what measures of security will be in place? Where will the band headquarters be and who will be distributing information on meeting times, parade route and the such? How many masqueraders is this band catering for and will they be crossing the Savannah stage, adding to the "grid lock" to enter the Savannah?

On the positive side I am hoping that this move might help take some spectators off the street and put them on the road as well as divert some of the stormers from the more popular bands as they can now "storm for free". 

What are your thoughts on the proposed "People's Band"?

Bliss is SOLD OUT!

Bliss has finally updated their website to officially show that the band is SOLD OUT! All these sold out signs made me excited somehow; SECOND band to sell out, after TRIBE. Maybe some bands do not need the fanfare!

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