Chief Executive Officer of the state-controlled Spicemas Corporation (SMC), Kelvin Jacob has announced some sweeping changes to the J’ouvert aspect of the annual carnival celebrations.
Speaking to reporters last Thursday at the first ever media launch at the National Stadium of Grenada’s most looked forward to annual celebrations, Jacob said that the spectacle will benefit from a few tweaks to make Spicemas 2019 more fulfilling for both patrons and participants.
He announced that as a result of several stakeholder consultations held over the past few months, all the carnival shows will be produced and changes will be made to their structures in order to improve on the overall product.
According to Jacob, the J’ouvert in the early hours of Carnival Monday will see the masqueraders start to assemble from 4.00 a.m. for the preparation of all the bands in order to facilitate a prompt start at 5.00 a.m.
“J’ouvert will be more structured this year to ensure that no one mas dominates the J’ouvert, but that a spectacle for various J’ouvert bands can be seen as they move through the parade on J’ouvert morning. The call time for Jouvert is 4.00 a.m. and the start time is 5.00 a.m. sharp. Masqueraders – you … get yourselves ready at 4.00 a.m. but you are actually moving off at 5.00 a.m,” he said.
Jacobs also announced a change in the length of time being given to bands to parade with their masqueraders and costumes in the Parade of the Bands on Carnival Tuesday.
He said: “This has been something that the masqueraders have been clamouring for and I am happy to report that the call time for mas this year is 11.00 a.m. for a prompt 12 noon start. The routes will be extended to as far as the Grand Anse Post Office for the last band in the parade, with all the other bands falling in front. Both competing and non-competing bands must be on the parade route”.
Jacob indicated that the bands will move into the Lagoon then onto the stage inside the Roy St. John Playing Field and to the Tanteen Main Road as part of the extended route for Spicemas 2019.
The CEO announced that the Monday Night Mas will be sectioned off into two categories – large and small bands – this year to ensure that everyone gets a fair play and chance in the competition.
“The small band will be 500 or less masqueraders, while the large band will be 500 or more masqueraders. So, there are two dimensions for the Monday Night Mas this year, giving fair play to the competition and we will be encouraging people who would like to have their mas bands, that may not necessarily be from a large company to come forth and have a mas band, register with Spice Mas to bring out their mas band”, he said.
As it relates to the Junior Calypso Monarch, Jacob told the media launch ceremony for Spicemas 2019 that there is every likelihood that there would be a semi-final aspect due to the number of artistes who have signaled their intention to take part in the competition.
“There is a very strong possibility that this year we will go back to having the Junior Calypso semi-finals because of the number of young Calypsonians preparing for Spicemas Junior Calypso Monarch this year. It has happened in the past and we are looking to bring that back to facilitate as many of these young Calypsonians,” he said.
Jacob indicated that both the Junior and Senior Panaroma will be held on the same day which is a departure from recent years.
Minister of Culture, Senator Norland Cox who also spoke at the ceremony said government is cognizant of the fact that the product needs to be improved as expectations are high for the event.
He said: “We have reports that there has been anticipation in terms of increased arrivals to our shows for 2019. We are very much encouraged by this, but also we are challenged by it, because at the same time we don’t want persons to come here and have a bad experience…we want them to have a wonderful experience. So each one of us has to work together to ensure that we create an experience that persons would not forget for 2019”.
According to Sen. Cox, discussions are taking place with the Calypso Association to help improve the Dimanche Gras which has been on the decline in recent years.
“In our engagements we have been talking a lot with the Calypso Association in regard to how we can improve on one of our shows, which is Dimanche Gras. It has been dwindling a bit and it’s not because people don’t like calypso, there is calypso show taking place next Sunday and I am certain that it is booked out, so we know that Grenadians love Calypso but we have to do some work to improve that show (Dimanche Gras) in particular.
“…We have been working with the Calypso Associations and they have been responding very well to us in that regard and one of the initiatives that we are looking at in terms of development aspect is (to hold) a series of workshops and seminars for Calypsonians and Soca Artistes to help them in a number of things – looking at song writing, looking at what you putting out as Calypso…these are some of the things that we are looking at.
“…We believe that these are critical areas that we need to work on because at some point in time we do not want to run out of Calypsonians, although I hardly believe that will happen in Grenada.
There is already a new logo for Spicemas 2019 to be held under the theme, “Many Events, One Carnival”.