Carnival 2023, with its festivity and pageantry is being viewed as a major boost to promote Saint Lucia as a ‘Festival Country’.
Defining the role of the Cultural Development Foundation (CDF) as “a custodian of culture and artistry”, its Chairman, Darwin Guard spoke about ensuring that the authenticity of the cultural showpiece stays relevant, and that the CDF gets ‘up to speed’ with progressive strategies.
He said the CDF remains committed to celebrating and promoting the “cultural richness” of the island’s cultural exponents and to assist in forging a way towards the overall development of the various art forms.
“For us it’s about getting in most of the conversations, because we believe in all of the developments that culture plays a major role,” said Guard
“So we get into these convervations …so that the authenticity of the carnival and any other major event, we make sure that we inject all of those relevant elements into that,” he explained.
On that note, he declared, more input has to be invested into aspects of the event, and particularly, the role of steel pan as “pan on the road for jazz” will feature as a prelude to the carnival celebrations. “At the end of the day, our job is to nurture talent, so that when carnival comes around, they’re able to pick the fruit that we have invested in and we’ve nurtured,” added Guard.
He noted that the CDF’s mandate for the year, is to rectify certain structures within the management process, such as judging, expanding and getting different perceptivities of the art form into a mode of expression. Consequently, the process would involve training, “so that the judges could get a perspective …and we can rotate and get new ideas as it pertains to carnival”.
The CDF, he says, is set to play a pivotal role in this transformation with focus on training, development and advocacy.
Chairman of the Carnival Bands Association (CBA), Barry George disclosed that a total of about 16 adult bands will participate in the 2K23 revelry.
With emphasis on getting more participation into the Grand National Parade pageantry, there are some new bands in the mix, including from the south – the Southern Invasion and a Laborie-based band, along with Expressions Carnival Band, and Paws Carnival Band.
“We are happy that Kiddies Carnival is back …and this carnival is back in a very big way,” George added. He said with Kiddies Carnival being out of the limelight for the past three years since 2019, over 12 junior bands will be featured in the parade , to be held in the William Peter Boulevard.
A total of 12 J’ Ouvert bands will also be on the road for the popular day break ‘street-jam’ session.
Describing the King & Queen of the Bands segment as one of the CBA’s “prize events”, George said, “we are hoping that bands do present a number of kings and queens as last year we saw major growth…and I think this year will be no different, there will be increases in numbers and it will be a spectacular show with much more participation this year”.
The popularity of the Kaiso and Soca Monarch shows cannot be diminished and plays an integral role in the carnival festivity. Chairman of the Calypso Association, “Popie” Paul, revealed that five calypso tents will participate with four doing the regular calypso and one band presenting with Soca.
He added, “Behind the scenes, the calypsonians are getting ready and there is a lot of excitement …and it looks like since we had an early start this year , in terms of the behind the scenes planning. It has resonated within the fraternity and people are getting ready.”
Paul announced that the first tent is due to come off on May 20 with the Ultimate Soca Tent, and the first calypso tent in early June with KPT, followed by South Calypso Tent and other traditional tents.
A representative of the Steel Bands Association stated that six steel bands will participate in this year’s festivity; with the inclusion of St Lucy from Micoud and including the Laborie Steel Pan, Pan Beat (Soufriere), Pantastic Music, Lucelec Steel Orchestra and reigning champions Courts Babonneau Steel Orchestra.