The vibrancy and energy of Carnival was not present yesterday at the new venue for some of the big bands of Carnival— “Socadrome”—as both masqueraders and spectators were left wanting.
Socadrome was the brainchild of four major mas bands—Tribe, Harts, Yuma and Bliss, later joined by Passion—whereby these bands, with some 15,000 masqueraders, would pass over a stage at the Jean Pierre Complex, Woodbrook, instead of the Queen’s Park Savannah in Port of Spain.
The bands were scheduled to cross the stage at the complex from 8 a.m., but the first band, Yuma, did not get to the stage till around 9.50 a.m.
Yuma took around one and a half hours to exit the stage and was followed by Bliss.
“I miss the Savannah; this area is too small, it doesn’t have enough spectators. I am a masquerader, I like to portray myself,” said Selena George of St Joseph, a masquerader in Bliss.
“We just not feeling the Carnival vibe here, we need more spectators; this is the third time I playing mas since 2010 and the vibe just off,” said Kaye McKnight in Yuma.
But according to Ashish Dawar, from the section Beasts and Bacchanal in Bliss, his Carnival experience was worth it.
Dawar said there was less of a waiting time to cross the stage and he preferred the higher stage at the complex.
Karina Ramsingh, 25, of Tribe, told the Express she preferred Socadrome because of the organisation structure.
One of the reasons for having the bands pass through the Socadrome was less waiting time to cross the stage.
“We don’t need to line up as we did before for four and five hours at the Savannah...to me, this was the best advantage,” said Kearin Ramrattan.
Collin Sookhoo said the Savannah was sentimental to him, in that it has been the place of Carnival for decades.
“The soul has sentimental attachment, but I have recognised that Carnival has grown over the years and we must embrace alternative accommodation,” said Sookhoo from The Spirit of Tribe.
Another Tribe masquerader, reigning Miss Trinidad and Tobago Catherine Miller, 22, said it was her first time crossing the stage as she portrayed her national costume, with which she placed second in that category at the Miss Universe pageant in Russia last year.
Miller said she was happy to participate in the mas as it was reflective of the unity of the Trinbagonian people.
Soca star Fay-Ann Lyons, who also played in Tribe, told the Express she preferred the Savannah for mas.
She said Carnival was about everyone—both masqueraders and spectators—and there were not enough spectators at the complex.
Minister of Community Development Winston “Gypsy” Peters said he preferred the Savannah but will leave it up to the masqueraders to decide what is best for them and what they want.
Minister of the Arts and Multiculturalism Lincoln Douglas played it safe, saying he will have to get feedback from the bands to determine whether Socadrome was a success or not.
According to an Express check, only three of the bands crossed the stage at the Jean Pierre Complex— Yuma, Bliss and Tribe.
Patrons waited from 1.30 p.m. to almost 4 p.m. for another big band to cross, but the place was deserted.
The venue was lacking in patrons, and the few who were present started departing by 3.30 p.m.
There was no sign of Harts or Passion and the Express was told they were stuck in traffic,
Patrons at the venue unanimously told the Express that while they were comfortable, they preferred more bands to be passing by and more excitement at the dull Socadrome.
Machel Montano’s Ministry of Road was the most popular song played at the Socadrome, but it did not count for the Road March title as the venue was not a judging point.