No parade of kings and queens
ACCORDING to Wayne “Cool” Simmons, the Kings And Queens Of The Bands parade needs some work. And that’s why the parade won’t be on the Crop-Over calendar this year.The corporate communications specialist of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) says “the show needs some developmental work in order for it to improve”.And one veteran bandleader is in full agreement. Gwyneth Squires doesn’t feel “any way about the show being cancelled”. The designer who has been taking part in Kadooment for 25 years said: “Bringing a Kings And Queens show right now with just two and three kings and queens is a waste of time, where I am concerned. I would like to see it come back, but it has to be properly done. “Everyone looks for Kings And Queens on the night before [Kadooment], but if you are not producing the right things, it don’t make sense,” she stressed. Simmons, unable to give an actual date when the show would return, said it “will simply be back in the future”. Squires who has won numerous titles, said she would consider going back into the competition when more bands entered.“I would like to see it come back with at least seven or eight kings and queens, because that is real competition. I would like that!” But most of the bandleaders and former winners of this segment of the Crop-Over Festival are peeved over the NCF decision.Bandleader Reggie Cave, who has been in and out of the competition, said that he was sorry to see it go, and did not believe the NCF had put much effort into keeping the show.“If it is just economic problems that are causing them to stop, then I would have to sympathise with them because we are in a deep reccesion. It is unfortunate that they could not have found another method of hosting it. “I do not think they fought hard enough to keep the competition alive. I think they just let it go; and that is sad,” Cave said.He also said he knew it would come to this since the standards had dropped “tremendously over the years”.“People have not been entering the competition lately. I guess some of the people were fed up with the judging over the years. “It is really sad because I think the whole carnival aspect of the festival will be brought down; some of the splendour will be lost without the large costumes, because they tend to give a great effect and overall look to the band,” he lamented.Cave further said the show had to be brought back, since without it, Barbados’ carnival could become the laughing stock of the region.“We would look like fools; we would be the mafia of the Caribbean because people come sometimes to see the splendour of those costumes and the creativity.”Oral Welshman, a former winner of King Of The Bands, said the NCF decision would take away from the excitement of Crop-Over. “Every band should have a king and queen.” Veteran bandleader Trevor Chase, who is disturbed by the decision, said it was a “regressive step”.“I think any time that you have gone on record and said that you would like more creativity [but] you are going to stop the major creative aspect of the festival, then you have taken a regressive step. And I make no apologies for saying this.“You are saying to the people that we can put this on the shelf and bring it back. It does not work so. Once that enthusiasm for that event starts to wilt, when you try to start it back, they would have difficulty in getting it going again.” Chase complained that three, four years ago the NCF was to have brought in wire-benders out of Trinidad for clinics to show bands how to work with big costumes. “It never materialised,” Chase added. “If you do not put the mechanisms in place for something to develop, then it is going to die a natural death.”Efforts to reach veteran bandleader and designer Betty West were unsuccessful.