Tobago Festivals CEO knocks late start to Carnival shows

Tobago Festivals CEO John Arnold. Photo by David Reid
Tobago Festivals CEO John Arnold. Photo by David Reid

Tobago Festivals CEO John Arnold says there are many lessons to learn where event management is concerned, after several shows in Tobago and Trinidad failed to start and end at their stipulated times.

Arnold, a Hummingbird medal (gold) recipient for culture and arts, made the remark on Tuesday on the Tobago Updates programme.

Arnold boasts 30 years' experience in music, education and eventology,

Discussing the Windward Afro Queen and Calypso Monarch show in Roxborough, Arnold lamented that the event finished at almost 3am on Carnival Sunday, despite being scheduled to start at 7pm on Saturday.

The THA Inter Department Calypso Competition and last week's mas were other events that started late.

"The Afro Queen Show, I was up there for the first part of it. It ran a little late. From a programming perspective, that is another thing to look forward to – to changing," he said.

Arnold said organisers must take into consideration the viewing audience as well as other stakeholders who would have been on time.

"There has to be audience empathy when we plan these events. What about the audience? What about the judges? What about everybody else – how do they feel about it being late?"

Arnold said society must reject being tardy as part of TT culture.

"It's something we have to keep working on. Some call it cultural, but it's something we have to work on and impress upon people: the respect for people's time."

Arnold also weighed in on the One Fete, on Fantastic Friday, which headlined Machel Montano and a diverse lineup of artistes including Grammy award-winning Wizkid.

The show was scheduled to start at 9 pm but got under way around 10 pm, and finished at 5 am. Patrons had to stand in line outside the Hasely Crawford Stadium for almost two hours as the gates did not open at the scheduled time.

Arnold said he attended the event as part of the management of the Signal Hill Choir, and there were "little glitches" which affected their performance.

On the late start, Arnold acknowledged the challenges of the venue being a construction site – getting ready for the Commonwealth Youth Games – and the massive crowd. "I do understand the promoters' challenges," he said.

"There are lessons to learn. What do you do when you're faced...The show goes on, and you learn, and the next one you promise people that you do better."


"Tobago Festivals CEO knocks late start to Carnival shows"

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