.......In Part 4 of our 5 Part article we took a close look at how costume prices and themes, in Trinidad have changed. in our 5th and final part we take a look at how the elements that made Trinidad Carnival unique can be restored.
J’Ouvert is arguably no more! in fact last year my cousins took me to J’Ouvert for the first time in 10 years and between 4am and 8.18am I saw only 7 bands on the road, and not one had over 100 people passing downtown, I saw five steel bands all sounding as if they had not been spent time learning their music selection in the pan yard and they were all on top of High trucks, so you had to be clsoe to the Truck to hear them.
In my opinion the marketing on carnival must be improved, all the events that made Trinidad great have to be rebranded so the stands can began to fill up again, can you imagine Carnival Sunday-night in Trinidad at the savannah, the calypso finals are taking place and you have under 1000 people sitting in a single lone stand and the North stand is blacked of.
Traditional mas that was a sight to see you no longer see that if you do see a band it’s a family band and they have no more than 25 people in the band, there must be an incentive to return to creating beautiful mas beautiful costumes, the time has come to stop what has taken over Trinidad carnival Costumes look like an advertisement, and I mean a poor one for Victoria Secret products The music is now heavily influenced by Jamaican Music and Hip Hop it’s Trinidadian Influences are slipping away. No more national identity, and no more traditional and Live Calypso and soca music,
Sadly that is the reality of what greed can do to the art and culture of a Nation. it will take a very brave and strong-minded person to fix it, So much that I cant see it taking place so expect the same, old same old, if not then these things would never ever return to make our carnival the greatest show on earth.
Today Trinidad is playing catch-up to the carnival in Jamaica and Barbados, two of the strongest countries when it comes to tourism and now it could be argued that Grenada is not far behind, and foolishly this is because no one is thinking about marketing, its been left to die, if you are into marketing on any level you will know that its pointless going down the same road as these Islands that are tourist orientated.
It may work well for a few years but once people have been and experienced the event and realise that it offers nothing different from other Islands that are not creating their Carnival from the resources that they have on the Island, and the unique Culture that exists there it is doomed to fail. As it can now be copied and re-created elsewhere easily. It is the unique identity of a National Carnival that gives it it’s value and keeps people coming back for more, as you know it’s the only place in the world that you will experience it.
Trinidad carnival needs a remake to compete now, it exists in an era where the internet is king social media being the massive influence that it is in todays world means marketing has to be done consistantly.
But if you don’t have an exciting and unique product to market you cannot market it, and you cannot advertise and show what separates your festival from the rest.
I also cannot understand why Trinidad carnival has still not made a fixed date for the carnival.
Both Trinidad and Tobago carnival occur on the same day, when its known that one of Tobago’s must important revenue streams is Tourism.
Look at the UK for example. they have carnivals all over the country, and all at different times from their biggest carnival which is Notting Hill. This is the same as it is in North America, they don’t have another carnival on the same day as Labour day, not so long ago we had to book a Ticket months in advance to get there for carnival now you can get a ticket to go to Trinidad carnival easily, but you will find it difficult to get one to leave Trinidad at carnival! that tells you something is not right, no longer do you see the massive crowds we used to see at the pre-events or on the streets.
Below I have listed the things that need to happen for Trinidads Carnival to improve, we need:
Only if these changes are implemented might we possibly see Trinidad carnival raise its self from its deathbed, if not then by 2025 Trinidad carnival will be just a big Beach-party on the road no pre-shows no audience and with nothing that will make the Trinidad carnival great again.
I hope this has not been offensive to anyone, but this is what I feel must be done for things to improve and despite the seemingly dour tone of my essay it is written out of love for the Trinidad Carnival and my hope that it will retain it's place as the Mecca of all Carnivals!
Thank you for your time.
(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of an anonymous author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or opinion of Carnevale Network)