TRADITIONAL LAUNCH: Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Dr Lincoln Douglas, right, is entertained by a Dame Lorraine during yesterday's media launch of Carnival 2013 at NAPA in Port of Spain. Looking on are Pan Trinbago president Keith Diaz, left, and Deidre Bascombe, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism. –Photo: CURTIS CHASE

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CARNIVAL SHAKE-UP

No more competitions on Dimanche Gras night

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

THE Calypso Monarch competition will be held on Carnival Thursday and not the traditional Dimanche Gras Sunday night.

This was disclosed yesterday by recently appointed chairman of the National Carnival Commission (NCC) Allison Demas, as she announced several sweeping changes to next year's Carnival schedule of events.

The competition to determine the winner of the "most prestigious title" in the "calypso world" will have to compete with Tribe Ignite and several all inclusive fetes, including Headley and Beach House, on February 7.

The Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation (TUCO), however, is of the view that the shift in date would enable the organisation to "increase revenue", Demas said yesterday.

The Calypso Monarch competition and the King and Queen of Carnival finals had traditionally formed the nucleus of the Dimanche Gras show.

Next year, however, "you will see a completely refashioned Dimanche Gras which will not include any competitive aspect," Demas said yesterday.

Demas said the new format for Dimanche Gras would "allow the show to be packaged and sold more easily and attract a greater level of sponsorship".

Tenders are currently being requested for the production of Dimanche Gras 2013.

Randy Glasgow of Randy Glasgow Promotions and William Munro of Caribbean Prestige Foundation have teamed up in an effort to become the successful producers of the new Dimanche Gras show, the Express has learnt.

The new "King and Queen of Carnival" final will now be held on Carnival Friday, the same night as the Soca Monarch competitions—Power and Groovy.

"Rest assured that it (the King and Queen of Carnival finals) will not clash with Soca Monarch since the gates will open at 6 p.m. and the show will not run for more than three hours," Demas said.

"Big Friday will be a made-for-television Carnival show that will have a graceful marriage of all Carnival arts," Demas said. It will be produced by Geraldo Viera Jr.

Reigning Calypso Monarch Duane O'Connor yesterday lauded the decision to move the National Calypso Monarch competition out of Dimanche Gras, saying the move could be a positive change for calypsonians.

O'Connor said, "I think it's a plus for us; it has been done before. Let's see what the change is going to bring. I think that calypso is only going to get better. People have been complaining that the show at the Dimanche Gras has been too long and exhausting, so giving us our own space would be a plus. This might mean more artistes will have an opportunity to get into the finals."

Demas announced the shake-up to the Carnival calendar during yesterday's media launch of Carnival 2013 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts in Port of Spain.

Apart from the changes to Dimanche Gras, Demas said the Panorama semi-finals would be held over two days. "The small and single-pan bands will perform on Saturday, January 26, whilst the large and medium bands will perform on Sunday, January 27, which means that we will not have to wait until the wee hours of Monday morning to hear the popular large bands," Demas said.

Pan Trinbago will also hold a steelband competition, "Groovy Soca Monday Night", which will be held on Carnival Monday in the country's four regions. "Each competing steelband must play a groovy soca tune for adjudication in this competition," Demas said.

Demas said the parade route will see changes next year, "both in terms of an expanded route, time allotted to bands on stage and reduction of the number of vehicles which accompany bands, which in some instances could be in excess of 20".

The issue of vending will also be addressed, Demas said. "Vending is indeed a problem especially in Port of Spain, where vending encumbers the parade route affecting spectators and curtailing the flow of bands," she said.

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