Fuelled by Power Soca Monarch Machel Montano’s “Ministry of Road” and “Happiest Man Alive”, thousands of masqueraders danced in wild abandon across the stage at the Queens’ Park Savannah, Port of Spain, yesterday.
Posses, couples and individuals taking “selfies” jumped, pranced and wined vigorously to sweet soca music. David Lopez, president of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) said about 15 bands had crossed the “Big Stage” by 2 p.m. He also said today will be the “true testing period.”
Among the other popular songs were Farmer Nappy’s “Big People Party”.
Traditional mas characters like blue devils with painted red faces from the band Best of the Red Head Devils held court, too. They opted for SuperBlue’s (Austin Lyons) 2013 renaissance gem “Water and Powder”.
Lopez, a Carnival administrator with 30 years experience, said of the parade: “It started at 11 a.m. We started with Claudette Sinnette’s Minstrels (traditional mas characters). It was followed by Fantasy. We have had a constant flow of bands. Of course, there will be challenges. If we are looking at setting up an industry, we cannot do things the way we are accustomed to.
He added: “I am prepared to hear the complaints. I am all for a democratic style of Carnival. It is ‘of the people, for the people and by the people’. Carnival cannot be done in such a manner that it benefits only a few people. We are off to a good start.”
Lopez said they have implemented social media and technological developments to provide optimum enjoyment for the masqueraders.
With respect to the route issued, Lopez said: “I am relying on reports from different people who are manning the routes at different areas. We will use the data to plan Carnival 2015.”
Reverting to the Junior masqueraders’ bandleaders torn between Adam Smith Square and South Quay, Lopez said: “Out of 105 bands who had registered with the NCBA about 74 started at Adam Smith Square.”
Asked about disqualification, he said: “It is not about risking disqualification. If you signed up with the NCBA, then you abide by the rules of the NCBA. In any competiton, there are rules to be followed. People are disqualified in the Olympics and they are penalised in the Rotary. We hope people will just follow the rules.”
Sharing his sentiments regarding today, Lopez said: “We have things in place and we are ready to go. Today is the real McCoy. The true test. Of course, Murphy’s Law can always come into play.”
Lopez said: “The mas is going ahead despite a few people’s attempts to frustrate its efforts.”
In the long term, Lopez said: “We should develop a proper system to archive our Carnival. We need to have proper research and projects for our Carnival to ensure it is kept alive for posterity.”