SOUTH pannists and calypsonians have welcomed the opportunity to perform in the limited Taste of Carnival events, but are adamant that the price must be right to achieve any kind of balance.
Having been denied the opportunity to work and earn, because of the pandemic, for the past two years, leaders in these two creative sectors want government to talk dollars and “sense” too.
A list purported to be from the National Carnival Commission (NCC) has circulated on social media, though the NCC has denied it is an official list. It includes events apparently scheduled to take place from February 4 until Carnival Tuesday, March 1, at Carnival City, the Queen’s Park Savannah, Queen's Hall, National Library Amphitheatre and Naparima Bowl, San Fernando.
Chairman of the South Central zone of TUCO Ras Kommanda (Steve Pascall) said, “I am happy people in my fraternity will be able to get a little money in their pockets.”
To ensure the livelihood of his members, Kaiso Showkase, which he manages, had organised a concert-type show for the Naparima Bowl long before Government’s announcement of the safe-zone concert-type events that will be allowed.
“We already selected February 13 to do the show. We had everything in place, we just didn’t have money. The Bowl alone carries an extravagant fee. It is more than we pay Palms Club (Kaiso Showkase Tent venue) for the season.”
As a special interest group, Kaiso Showkase receives a subvention from Government to operate.
“I would like to see that funds are made available so we can at least attract the best possible artiste and audience, make a down payment on the venue, to artistes to purchase their garments, write scores, as well as the music band.
“I hope the Minister of Finance would do the honourable thing and release sufficient funds, and on time.”
Manager of NLCB Fonclaire Darren Sheppard said while as a musician he needed the money, he would have preferred the events to be held later in the year, when Government had a better handle on covid19.
“Yes, we want to be involved in the Carnival space and want to boost activity in the steelpan community, but if the ultimate goal is for an uptick in vaccination, then we don’t have enough time for that to be a reality.
“We are preparing, but still waiting on the terms of condition of involvement. One of the key things for us is that as a South/Central band we have transportation expenses, when the bands in the north usually have none or much less.
“All the discussions about a flat fee and the bands participating – we are agitating for consideration that our transportation is not included.”
He said it is his understanding that all the medium and large bands, like Fonclaire, will perform at a concert-like show at the QPS, while single pans and small bands will be hosted at Naparima Bowl.
He said there is an expectation that the financial arrangements and numbers will be determined by the end of this week.