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Tough times for some calypso tents


Anesta Henry

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MOST CALYPSO tents this year have felt the full brunt of the downturn in the economy. Meanwhile, some such as Bachanal Time, has seen the greats.According to president of the Barbados Association of Tent Managers (BATMAN), Sinclair Gittens, from what he had seen in the last couple of weeks, “this year has been the worst when it comes to attendance”. Gittens attributed this mainly to the current economic climate and the “increase in free limes”.“People want to go somewhere where they don’t have to pay; and there are lots of free limes out there. But with the tents you have to pay around $25. It is bothersome because tent managers invest a lot . . . and people don’t see it that way. Bacchanal Time manager Kevin Hinds, whose tent was launched last Sunday night at The Party Stand said his was “an opening that most tents wished they had”.“We tried something new called the Sweet Soca Session that went down really well. Don’t be surprised if you see other tents trying it. Merle Niles of the Big Show said attendance was “reasonable thus far, though we really didn’t have a full house”. Sharon Carew-White of House Of Soca was trying to hold her head above water in her effort to produce a good tent.“I have had three shows and the public’s response has been favourable,” said Carew-White. Ridley Greene of the Celebrity Tent, and a spokesman for The Alliance, shared a similar view to Gittens. The tent manager believed a contributing factor to the drop in calypso audiences was the rise in free limes.“All of these fetes and social events have been successfully competing with the calyso tents. “Furthermore, I do not think that the main shareholder in the Crop-Over Festival – the National Cultural Foundation, or its festival arm, is disposed to promotion of the tents as a whole. I think there should be a national budget for the general promotion of all tents on radio and TV.”

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