Co-founder of Spektakula Promotions Frank Martineau says managers of calypso tents may need to rethink the way they market their shows, particularly during an economic downturn.
He also said the company, which he established alongside his late brother, Claude, some 25 years ago, has never relied on State subventions to assist with their shows.
“For our 25 years running as a traditional tent, we were not part of that because we did not even know about it. We did our own advertising,” he told Sunday Newsday.
The poor patronage at calypso tents is being blamed, in part, on a lack of corporate sponsorship and government subventions.
Two weeks ago, the legendary Revue opened to a small crowd as did the La Joya-based Kaiso Karavan.
The government subsequently pledged to give the Revue a $100,000 subvention which tent manager Michael “Sugar Aloes” Osuna said was grossly inadequate to carry out the tent’s agenda for the remainder of the Carnival season.
Osuna said Culture Minister Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly upped the sum by $50,000.
Revue was expected to host a ladies show last night at its Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union headquarters, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain.
Asked about the problems at Revue, Martineau said: “I find that is very unfortunate because they are one of the staples in the Carnival.
They have a long tradition and it is a painful experience to witness what they are going through.”
He added: “Anybody that has the general culture at heart, I think, will go through some stress seeing what they are going through at this point in time.”
On the issue of poor patronage, Martineau said: “Maybe the traditional tents are not doing enough in terms of being creative to bring out the people. Maybe they need to do some more.
“They need to get brave, be creative and maybe they need to advertise more long term rather than waiting a week before the tent opens to start advertising.”
The veteran promoter said Spektakula hosted a sold-out show on Thursday, titled Spektakula Through The Years, at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya.
The event featured several calypso legends, including Relator (Willard Harris); Baron (Timothy Watkins); Nelson (Robert Nelson), David Rudder and others.
That same night, Icons and Divas tents opened to disappointing crowds at the Ambassador Hotel, St James and Playboyz Panyard, Woodbrook, respectively.
Martineau said: “I did not even know that some of them were opening so that would say maybe because it was as a result of a lack of proper advertising.”
He said Spektakula Promotions, which has organised shows for local and international artistes over the years, has tried consistently to reinvent itself.
“We have always tried to be ahead of the game in terms of advertising. We try to advertise long in advance. We try to be creative. We try to be different.”