PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD – The Trinidadian Guardian reports that plans for Carnival 2011 were outlined this week at a press conference at City Hall, Port-of-Spain by Deputy Mayor Keron Valentine which will see changes to how bandleaders, judges, vendors, spectators and even drivers of music trucks will experience the festivities.
Valentine predicted his new plan will erase the problem of “bottlenecking and the backlog” of bands. Valentine said spectator encroachment on the parade route has in the past presented a major challenge to the free flow of bands and he noted that measures proposed for 2011 will assist in alleviating the problem.
Band leaders and members will now have to adjust to some new routes including parades down St Vincent Street toward South Quay. Service trucks will now have to make a left-turn into Independence Square South and remain there until masqueraders have paraded for the judges at South Quay.
It is customary for bands to proceed along Independence Square North, however, Valentine said it would be an “easier turn” for music trucks to proceed along Independence Square south instead of making the turn to go north. The trucks will continue to proceed south towards Piccadilly Greens. Bands going to the Savannah will take the usual route up Frederick Street.
There will now be no vending zones along the parade route at South Quay. Instead, vendors will now be situated at “corners”. Also, spectator-viewing bleachers will be set up at Broadway east and west and police barriers will be placed along St Vincent Street and Broadway where spectators usually crowd the road. Valentine said this will allow for a better management of the flow of bands and crowd control along the parade route.
From the perspective of judging of the bands, Valentine said that 2011 will see a change in the joining of both the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) and the Downtown Carnival Judging Panels. He said he is expecting a high level of standards to be maintained by the NCBA
In the area of vending, Valentine said the issue of vending in areas such as Ariapita Avenue Adam Smith Square, Victoria Square and South Quay will be alleviated. There will be no vending allowed in the space in front of the judging venues. Vendors will now have to construct their stalls in a more decent way along the side walk. There must be no vending booth or stalls along the parade route. This will create a smoother flow along the parade route.
Valentine also said the City will take a serious stance against masqueraders who deface walls and property during Carnival celebrations. He said mechanisms will be put in place to ensure proper vigilance and bandleaders will be fined for such offences
Some bandleaders have welcomed the change, which they say would assist in the development of Carnival.
Legacy Bandleader, Big Mike Antoine, said he welcomes any change for the better. “I am in support of anything to enhance the Carnival experience. We need to continue to raise the bar so I welcome any change which aim to do so,” he said. He also said he is happy to see the parade of the bands is back at the Savannah.