Tobago Carnival and J’Ouvert bands are reporting an increase in demand for costumes from revellers hoping to participate in this year’s Tobago Carnival festivities at month-end.
Over the past days, masqueraders have started buying up the last few remaining Carnival kits, leading to a quick sellout, bandleaders said yesterday.
Jade Monkey Mass leader Shawn Anthony told Guardian Media issues surrounding the marketing and branding of the festival by the Tobago House of Assembly had not interfered with sales.
Anthony said, “We are doing our homework and getting things done the right way, as we are today sold out in (the) pretty mass category in parade of the band. We currently have only J’Ouvert available.”
The THA announced a $12 million budget allocation for the Carnival only last week. Following this, Caribbean Airlines announced a 40,000 additional seat capacity for October.
While the Tobago October Carnival Association (TOCA) felt these announcements should have been made earlier, Anthony said bandleaders have taken up the responsibility to keep the excitement of the Carnival alive.
“There were ways where this Tobago Carnival could be a force to be reckoned with, but we all need to hold the same headspace,” he said.
Asked how he felt about the decision to move the J’Ouvert celebrations to Scarborough, Anthony, a Crown Point businessman, said, “I’ve always looked at the bigger picture.
He added, “I’m imagining: Scarborough, the waterfront, ‘I Love Tobago’ sign, film on pictures, drone shots. I’m about Tobago … For years we have fought for Tobago Carnival and we here are so fortunate to be the only country in the world that has two Carnivals in one year. We must embrace it and take our Carnival to the next level.”
He said anticipation among masqueraders seemed to now be growing and he predicted another successful season for his band.
He told Trinidad revellers who may still be indecisive about attending Tobago’s carnival, “If you are for Carnival, if you are for J’Ouvert and the celebrations, get your ticket. You will find somewhere. Call a family, call a friend, share a room. If you are a carnival jumbie, share a room and come to Tobago.”
TOCA interim president Dexter Sandy said bands were expected to sell 85 per cent of their sections in the coming days.
He said, “It is good we getting that sort of feedback. The bandleaders were grateful that we came together as a team coming up with a band house at Shaw Park where they had all their costumes on display for sale and market their costumes.
“There are sections that are sold out. I know Jade monkey (is) 100 per cent sold out. So, other bands such as Zain, Iconic Mass and Angles have some sections that are sold out. The smaller bands are pushing sales and are saying they are getting positive feedback. We are hoping that by the end of next week, bands should be up to 90 per cent sold out. And, in the final week leading to Carnival, the last-minute sales should take them to be sold out.”
Tobago will come alive from this weekend with a line-up of events leading to the main celebration from October 27-29.
Article Courtesy Trinidad and Tobago Guardian: Elizabeth Gonzales
File: A masquerader from the band ” Stoute Next Generation” cross the stage at Milford Road, Scarborough, Tobago on Carnival Tuesday. VINDRA GOPAUL-BOODAN