Showing posts from March, 2011

The Future of our Carnival

The website last week advertised a Symposium to Examine Carnival’s Creative and Commercial Inputs.  The symposium hoped to address the question of “Trinidad and Tobago masquerade’s traditional creativity and what presence it commands in the highly commercialized 21st century look of the festival today”.  It was scheduled to take place on March 24th at Medgar Evers College in New York and I do hope that some of its findings would be published on the web.  
This symposium is of course very timely given the recent debate raging on the future of this national festival.  I spoke with one well known band leader last week who wondered what all the fuss was about.  In his mind BBF (bikini, beads and feathers) were just the next step in the evolution of the art form and evolution is natural.  On the other hand, a carnival researcher was clear that if BBF evolution continues, we will have a festival that anyone with some working capital and the email addresses of some costume s…

Event Driven Tourism

Last week the Barbados Advocate carried a story about the Barbados Tourism Authority (the BTA) being allocated BD$ 92 million or US$46 million for the fiscal year 2011-2012.  The BTA is structured differently from our Tourism Development Company (TDC) here in Trinidad and Tobago in that their focus is purely on marketing (as is the equivalent agency in Jamaica) whereas our TDC has to engage in infrastructure projects as well.  The article was unclear as to whether the US$46 million was purely for marketing or whether the funds included recurrent expenditure for BTA operations.
Regardless, this allocation is considerably more than our TDC.  Some commentators would quickly point to this as support for their argument that the TDC’s allocations also need to be increased.  My thinking is that such an increase would be hard to justify unless there is first a shift in TDC strategy.
In the influential TTG online trade magazine last week, there was an article called ‘Barbados targets event-dr…

Taking Advantage of our Carnival

Many of us would remember carnival 2011 as the return of Machel Montano.  In terms of the debate about soca meeting politics, I am personally glad that soca has progressed to a stage where artistes are confident enough to express their political views.  Likewise, I am also happy that members of the music-loving public also feel free enough to express their own views – whether for and against.  To me, this is a sign of a healthy democracy.  We enjoy a level of freedom that would be the envy of so many others in this world.  Let us not take it for granted.
Like many of us, I hosted guests from overseas and it encouraged me to try to see our festival through their eyes.  We criticize ourselves but we need to acknowledge that we have a very well developed carnival industry.  Incredibly talented sound engineers, equipment rental professionals, caterers, security companies, artistes, lighting teams, special effects companies, decorators, deejays, event management teams and so on.  These ar…

A Riot of Colour and Noise

Last week we hosted a couple of coaches from the Dominican Republic
(DR) who were here for the Caribbean Area International Schools Sports
Association (CAISSA) boy’s Basketball and girl’s Soccer tournament.
As I chatted with one of the coaches, I was surprised to learn that in
the DR, carnival type celebrations also took place in the month of
February.   Of course, given the size of the population in DR it
sounds like their celebrations may already be bigger than ours and
this tourism dependent territory is looking at ways to leverage their
festival to attract more visitors.  Have you seen the YouTube clip
circulating of the carnival in Japan
(  We in Trinidad and
Tobago should not take our carnival for granted.

I have been racking up some frequent flyer miles recently.  So much so
that I think that I now know parts of the American Airlines welcome
video by heart.  What struck me most about it however is that part
where they say – “thank you for choosing t…