CARNIVAL — the parade of bands especially — cannot continue in this old-fashioned manner designed so many years ago. We have not really outgrown the Savannah, we just don't organise it correctly.
To put it simply 74 registered bands cannot cross the stage in eight, nine or even ten hours.
The bands must be split in two lots and allowed to draw places to appear on the savannah stage in full costume for either day.
This will correct several problems we seem to be determined to live with and quarrel about every year.
(1) It will give a much better show on Carnival Monday and fill the stands both days.
(2) It will eliminate the boring custom of wearing T-shirts on Carnival Monday when patrons do not want to pay good money to see a bunch of uncostumed revellers whether they are good winers or not. No one bothers to come out on a Carnival Monday after Jouvert anymore.
(3) It will give large bands a chance to open the day with an "Olympic-style" display of street theatre on our extraordinary stage, as only Trinidadians can do it. We must remember our programme is viewed all over the world where, in many places, it is noon when the parade begins. Just imagine the world viewing a Minshall performance to open Carnival on Monday morning followed on Tuesday by a MacFarlane or Legacy production.
(4) More importantly, band members will not have a five or six hour wait and can spend both days having a good time in full costume still viewed by the world. There will be more worldwide coverage generating more interest built to show that we are the real home of carnival.
The length of the route is not the problem, the fight to get into the savannah is. Everything must be moved up a notch to support our costuming—Kings and Queens will get the chance to show all their hard work, more of our music will be heard, choreographers can be hired for performance enhancement, everybody will benefit for the two days of Carnival.
In the days of George Bailey and Harold Saldehna when bands numbered 100 fully costumed players and the music travelled on foot, bands generated large audiences and still gave a great performance. Some of us still remember Nero from Saldenha's Imperial Rome throwing the leg of lamb into the crowd?
To my amazement Edmund Hart informed me that Flagwavers of Sienna he brought in 1962, which I thought was a large band, numbered only 250 players. It must have been the flags everyone waved happily that did the trick. Today the large bands number anywhere from three to five thousand, while one or two report that their membership is even larger. What a show we could have!
Let's get the real show on the road, Trinidadian style, and bring the world to our shores all year round.