DRAWING from the success of its debut last year, Trinidad and Tobago Youths Will Rise leader Nickocy Phillips believes Carnicopia Carnival 2023: Mas, Calypso, Pan and Soca Fiesta, will again be a hit with locals and foreigners alike.
But, Phillips said the week-long celebration, which takes place in Tobago from October 18-25, is again challenged by the absence of sponsorship.
During a news conference on Wednesday at the Buccoo Multipurpose Facility, Phillips told reporters, “One of the major challenges is that the event is not sponsored. We have not received any form of sponsorship yet.”
She said within the past few months, the organisation sent out letters requesting assistance to over 121 entities in both the private and public sectors, including the Tobago House of Assembly.
“We have sent out letters to the various divisions, even to the Chief Secretary and the Division of Finance and the Economy, administrators, where we could source funding and nobody has responded as usual. We have not gotten any positive response yet.”
But Phillips said the Secretary of Tourism, Culture, Antiquities and Transportation, Tashia Burris, did respond three weeks ago and referred the letter to her advisor.
Phillips said the advisor, in turn, requested a synopsis of what transpired at last year’s show.
“I found that to be ridiculous because from then to now, with three weeks before the event, you now asking us for a report of what happened in the show last year. I don’t know how that is going to benefit us going forward. But I asked the question, after the report, ‘When are we going to get an answer as to the level of sponsorship requested?’”
But Phillips said all is not lost.
“People are calling to find out what it is we need assistance with, and we are having that conversation as to where we need the funding to assist with the event.”
Phillips said some claimed they were unable to help, owing to the financial losses incurred while the Cabo Star was out of commission over the past three weeks.
The organisation, Phillips said, is working with a budget of $354,150, but the figure will be scaled down depending on the level of sponsorship.
Phillips, who has been marketing the event in the US and Caribbean, assured the show will go on.
“So, we are going forward with the show as much as possible and at least the mas bands, calypsonians, all the persons who are there, who have registered so far, they are committed to putting out Carnicopia 2023.
“The team is putting together a production based on the registration. That day, people will have a proper event for their money.”
Phillips said one of the highlights of Carnicopia will be the performance of New York-based singer Hayley Comet. She is expected to arrive at the ANR Robinson airport, Crown Point, at 12.25 pm on October 19 and will perform the following day.
“You will hear more from her because in the marketing team going forward, we will be getting some videos and she will also be doing some ads. So therefore people will get accustomed to who Hayley Comet is and what her performances will be.”
Carnicopia begins on October 18 with the arrival of international guests and an island/reef tour on October 19.
The event begins in earnest from about 3 pm on October 20 with a street procession, featuring mas bands, a pan side and music truck, from the Buccoo traffic light to the integrated facility.
“This year, we are not doing any competitions in the calypso, soca, mas . We are doing a show. It will be something like the Dimanche Gras for the patrons “with all the elements that should make up the carnival in the Tobago space.”
Soca artiste Terry Seales has also agreed to launch his Carnival single at Carnicopia, Phillips said.
“He will also be bringing a live band to perform at the event and also render assistance to the other artistes who are there.”
Phillips said there are also plans to host a goat racing exhibition.
J’Ouvert takes place on October 21. This will be followed by a fish fry and cool down on October 22 and 23, respectively. October 24 has been designated a rest day.
International guests are expected to leave Tobago on October 25.