FANS will be the sole deciders of the $100,000 bmobile Trinbago Unified Calypsonians' Organisation (TUCO) Road March winner this year, with online voting to run from February 1-16.
TUCO and bmobile signed a partnership on Tuesday, launching the first online competition in its nearly 90-year recognised history, while announcing several changes to its traditional format. Artistes are allowed to register up to two songs which will then be voted on via unique text codes.
In a release on Tuesday, TUCO president Lutalo Masimba said the move online was a logical evolution for the competition's platform.
"It’s a very important project for us in TUCO and our steps towards doing something different to make sense of this new normal. We always aim to be proactive and this is a very important relationship for us with bmobile and our new marketing management team.
"For the artistes, it’s very important to continue to have a forum for them to share their work."
Noting this year's centennial commercial calypso tent, he said, "In 1921, the Calypso tent was born with a new slant and a whole new ambience, from which it turned into a solid institution", adding that the online Road March will bring a "new era of participation, allowing citizens to really have their opinion heard and allows a new era of appreciation."
Meanwhile, bmobile general manager, shared services, Gerard Cooper, said the company identified the move as one of the most effective ways that it could innovate on one aspect of Carnival, using its platforms.
He said it was a unique way to engage citizens at home, being the first time a Road March would be decided solely by citizens, and not by designated judges at key Carnival Parade routes.
Votes for the competition will be accepted from bmobile, Digicel and international mobile numbers. The Road March competition has been held annually since 1932 with the exception of the years affected by World War II.
Neil "Iwer" George and Kees Dieffenthaller's Stage Gone Bad won last year's competition.