The nation’s steel bands used last Saturday’s Children Carnival Frolic (CCF) at the Tanteen’s Netball Complex to protest their abhorrence at the conditions put in place by the Spicemas Corporation for the holding of the 2014 carnival season.
The steelbands on parade were accompanied by three massive red flags during their performances to express their concerns with the Archie Bain-led corporation that is charged with the responsibility to plan and execute the annual event.
Speaking to THE NEW TODAY newspaper on Saturday, spokesman for the Grenada Steelbands Association (GSA), David “Peck” Edwards said that the various steelbands in the country only decided to send their Junior panmen to the show because of their love for the culture and artform.
However, Edwards said that the association is very concerned about the conditions that existed for the showcasing of the artform this year especially when thousands of visitors usually come into the country to witness and partake in the event.
“We are concerned about the conditions which we were given to showcase Spicemas 2014 particularly with respect to the Children’s Carnival”, he said.
According to Edwards the conditions were definitely not conducive for any aspect of the carnival – steelpan, mas and calypso – and pointed to the small venue selected and the lack of a stage for the children to parade before the patrons who came out in their hundreds to witness the event.
He was very critical of the fact that the children were forced to parade their costumes on the hard and open concrete surface of the netball court due to the fact that a stage was not erected by Spicemas Corporation.
He said it was also unfortunate that the organisers of CCF made the children stay in the hot sun for a long extended period to showcase their skills on the day set aside for them each year for carnival.
In addition, he said the spectators were “standing behind rails” on entering the complex and could not “adequately see these minute kids” playing their mas on the hot concrete surface.
“We think that despite the challenges (lack of funds), we can still do a much better job. We do understand our limitations (as a country) but if we plan right, we can do thing better”, he remarked.
“We think that the (carnival) product is being compromised greatly when we have all these dissatisfaction” he said.
Edwards stressed that the concerns as expressed to THE NEW TODAY is nothing g new since they have already been raised with the corporation and the Minister of Culture, Senator Brenda Hood.
He spoke of the Steelband Association wanting to take the matter as far as possible including a meeting with Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell but was told that they first had to raise their concerns with Minister Hood.
He said that a meeting was held “a couple days ago with the Minister” and it appears that Sen. Hood understands the concerns raised and although seemed supportive of some of the ideas advanced by the association to enhance the carnival product, the lack of financial resources was identified by her as a major hindrance for the staging of this year’s carnival.
During the CCF, Filanda Jeffrey, son of seven times calypso monarch, Finley “Scholar” Jeffrey successfully defended the Ribena Junior Calypso Monarch title he won last year, singing from position No.5 with a well composed song, “Drop”
The young Mc Donald College secondary school student looked very composed and confident as he sang to the crowd in which his father Scholar was a part of the audience on the ground.
Nathan Johnson, a student of Presentation Brother’s College, St. George’s finished as the first runner-up with his song, “Academic Abuse”.
The youngster finishing third was Jade Reubin, a student of the St. David’s Catholic Secondary School who sang “We have to Try”.
In the steelband category, Republic Bank Angel Harps successfully defended the title that the band from the Tanteen/Carenage copped last year.
The band from the Tanteen/Carenage got the nod of the judges with the tune “Sound of Pan” by Killer B.
The young Angel Harpers brought into the Tanteen Complex the largest contingent of 170 pieces of instrument and 80 steel band players, mostly female players.
The second spot was taken by Coyaba New Dimensions of Melville Street in the heart of the city.
Playing Ajamu’s “White flag”, New Dimensions brought along 60 pannists and 120 pieces of equipment as it forced Lime Commancheros of St. Paul’s into the third spot with another Ajamu’s composition, “African Lady”.
Following are the official results of the CCF held at Tanteen:
(1) Republic Ban Angel Harps Steel Orchestra
(2) Coyaba New Dimensions Steel Orchestra
(3) LIME Commancheros Steel Orchestra
FANCY MASS (QUEEN)
(1) Commancheros and Associates Queen
(2) Helen Marie and Associates Queen
(3) Francis Redhead & Associates Queen
FANCY MASS (KING)
(1) Helen Marie and Associates King
(2) Francis Redhead & Associates King
(3) Manda Penny and Associates King
ROAD ~ FANCY MASS
(1)Helen Marie and Associates- A change in season
(2) Commancheros and Associates -Flying Fantasy
(3) Manda Penny and Associates
(1) Commancheros and Associates