Hard times have apparently hit tonight’s Dimanche Gras.
The show’s producer Dr Rudolph Ottley told Sunday Newsday the event, which is being held at Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, has received its lowest budget in two decades.
Asked about the exact cost of the production, Ottley would only say: “I am sure you can get that from the NCC (National Carnival Commission). I don’t want to get into that.
“But one thing I can tell you is that it is the lowest budgeted Dimanche Gras for the last 20 years.”
On whether the cutback in budget could impact the quality of the production, Ottley said: “We will hope that the quality of the show will not be compromised but you could only work with what you have.”
NCC chairman Colin Lucas told reporters at a news conference on January 19 that an estimated $1.3 million was to be pumped into the show.
With its theme, The Power and the Glory: From Mucurapo Stadium to the Savannah, Ottley said the show will seek to present a shift from the traditional to the contemporary.
He said apart from the Calypso Monarch and King and Queen of Carnival competitions, the event also will feature what he called a “fore-court jam” at which soca artiste Shurwayne Winchester and the band Dil-E-Nadan will be the headliners.
The line-up also includes Junior Calypso Monarch Duane O’Connor Jr, Olatunji Yearwood and a parade by the Junior King and Queen of Carnival.
Ottley, who also owns and manages TT’s only women’s calypso tent, Divas, could not say how long the show was expected to last.
“When you have the kings and queens, things happen. Some masqueraders come off the stage when they should but some stay longer. We are trying to make it as short as is humanly possible but all things being equal, is Trinidad Carnival.”
Ottley also said no special awards will be presented tonight.
Last year, Calypso Rose, soca artiste Machel Montano, cultural pioneer Joyce Wong Sang, pan tuner Dr Anthony Williams and others were honoured for their contribution to culture.
Asked if plans were in place to address possible hiccups in the show, given last year’s fiasco, Ottley said: “I don’t want to deal with that. You have to talk to (Ian) Wiltshire about last year. I don’t want to even comment about that.”
Ottley urged patrons to come out in their numbers.
Last year, frequent technical hitches, unexplained delays, poor stage management and an absence of professionalism hampered the production.
Wiltshire subsequently apologised for the glitches.