National Cultural Foundation chief executive officer, Carol Roberts-Reifer. (FILE)
Two days shy of the sponsors’ launch for Crop Over 2019, there is already controversy.
The Sweetest Summer Festival may be in for some major changes following a meeting with tent managers and newly appointed National Cultural Foundation (NCF) chief executive officer, Carol Roberts-Reifer, on Monday night at NCF headquarters.
Well-placed sources told THE NATION there would no longer be separate competitions for Sweet Soca and Party Monarch, but one overall competition going under the name Soca Monarch. It was not clear what other changes might be coming to Soca Royale. Previously, both monarchs won a vehicle and $10 000 cash.
With regard to the Pic-O-De-Crop competition, there would now be one song performed at the finals. Calypsonians would perform two songs in tents and 16 finalists chosen to go forward to meet the reigning king. There would be no semi-finals.
The winner would choose between a car or $100 500. Previously, the champion got a vehicle valued about $120 000 and $10 000 in cash, along with other prizes. The prize money for second place is set to increase from $20 000 to $40 000.
One source, who asked not to be identified, was not too pleased about some of the changes.
“For a long time now we have been trying to get the prize money increased but this is no increase. The winner choosing between the $100 000 or a car, that’s basically the same thing. The only increase would be second place,” he said.
He added it made no sense asking artistes to sing two songs in the tents and one in the finals.
“That’s waste money. It’s an expense the artistes shouldn’t have to incur. Why ask them to sing two songs up until the final? What’s the sense of recording two songs in the first place then?”
As for the Soca Royale changes, the source said it was a “backward step”.
“The same reason they separated it back in the day, the same reason still exists. One genre is going to suffer. The reception isn’t going to be the same. I’m really surprised they have taken this step,” he said.
In the artistes’ camp, the changes don’t seem to be sitting too well with them but many are tight-lipped and awaiting the official announcement of the changes.
The Crop Over 2019 sponsors launch is set for Friday at Ilaro Court. (DB)