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MacFarlane, 3 others disqualified

By Renuka Singh

This year's Band of the Year winner Brian MacFarlane was among the four large bands to be disqualified at the Queen's Park Savannah in Port of Spain on Carnival Tuesday.

MacFarlane, Tribe, Trini Revellers and Legacy overstayed their allotted 30 minutes and received zero points at the main judging point.

National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) head David Lopez yesterday said MacFarlane received his "lowest score" at the Savannah.

Last year's rule allotted one hour for large bands to cross the Savannah stage, but that rule changed this year. This was to ease congestion and reduce the length of time most bands had to wait to cross that stage.

"So whatever score he received would have been deleted and he would get zero," Lopez said.

MacFarlane yesterday expressed his disappointment but said he was glad he was able to say good-bye to the Savannah stage in his own way.

Despite this, MacFarlane copped the title after accumulating high scores at the other three judging points-Adam Smith Square, South Quay and Piccadilly Greens. Dean Ackin, Tribe's band leader, said the 30-minute rule change was "ambitious bordering on unrealistic".

Ackin, in a telephone interview yesterday, said Tribe took just under 50 minutes to cross the stage.

"And that was moving at a fast pace," he said.

Ackin said the reduced parade time across the main Savannah stage does affect the masquerader, who for the most part pays money for the Savannah experience.

"The simple maths is that there is not enough time in the day for all the bands to cross," he said, adding that he suggested two Savannah-like stages to disperse the congestion.

David Cameron, bandleader for Trini Revellers, said he was querying that ruling.

Mahindra Satram-Maharaj, head of the National Carnival Development Foundation (NCDF), spoke on behalf of Legacy.

He said the 30 minutes was a "whole heap of stupidity".

"Legacy structured its presentation to last under 30 minutes, about 28 minutes, but it was not their fault that the stage was not being managed properly," he said.

"At one point, there were three or four sections meeting on the stage because the stage management did not move the sections across the stage," he said.

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