Nation e-Edition

Fetes seeing low numbers in Trinidad

A costume paraded at the fete. A partygoer on a high perch. (Pictures from the Trinidad Express.) ARTISTE CHUCKY performing at the Harvard Fete.

Sat, February 02, 2013 - 12:01 AM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Some things do not change. The fete season leading up to Carnival 2013 is as frenzied as ever, with parties every weekend.

But some fete promoters in Trinidad and Tobago are complaining that things are different now, the economy taking a toll on Carnival partying.

There may be more and more fetes every year, but coupled with a stagnant economy, this means fewer and fewer patrons and reduced revenue.

Roy Maharaj of TriStar Promotions told the Business Express that it was difficult locally for many party-goers in terms of finance.

“Average people who support mass market fetes have no salary and can hardly buy bread to eat,” he said, and working-class people were choosing to go to one or two events for the season to keep costs down.

“That is what it reach to in terms of entertainment in this country,” he added.

Carnival this year will be held on February 11 and 12, a shorter season compared to February 20 and 21 last year and March 7 and 8 in 2011.

Asked if the reduced season this year was having a negative effect on fetes, Maharaj said the problem was more about economics.

He cited the Christmas season as an example, noting that it was not shortened but vendors and businessmen were complaining about low sales.

“People have no money. One set of people enjoying the inheritance and others suffering,” he said.

“Not only the shortness of Carnival, [because] we had short Carnivals before and everybody could make money still. But now is worse, because there is too much interference with too many groups in the country.”

Cliff Harris, manager of Village Promotions which puts on the Fire Fete and other events, said he has noticed a trend of decreasing patron turnout for about two years, and the industry has been “dwindling”.

He noted that every year the cost of putting on an event, including security, sound, infrastructure and venue rental, was increasing “but then your gate receipts and your tickets remain the same price” and this was negatively affecting the business.

At its first event, Fire Fete held on January 12, it did not get the turnout as expected.

Harris, like Maharaj, also cited the bad state of the economy for reduced patronage.

“These days now they don’t have the disposal income,” he added.

He continued: “[Fetes now] cost a lot more [but you] not getting the amount of people would have gotten in the past [at the] same price as five years ago.”

Harris said because of this trend, promoters have to cut down on costs.

Before they would have four bands at their events but they have had to cut it down to two or one. (Trinidad Express)

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