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No to four tents from managers


Yvette Best

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THE CALL from National Cultural Foundation chairman Ken Knight for a reduction in the number of calypso tents to four has raised several questions from the managers.They want to know what will happen to artistes who want to participate in the festival in an environment where many already have difficulty in finding a place to showcase their work; there is the question of which four Knight think should remain, and some are also wondering if it is within the chairman’s ambit to call for such a reduction.Concern has also been expressed as to why the chairman put the reduction in the public domain before discussing the matter with them.Manager of De Digicel Big Show, which is the home of calypso monarch Gabby and three others who placed in the top in the finals, Merle Niles, said four was a “harsh” number.Niles said she and some other tent managers were interested in the development of culture and expressed concern that if the number of tents were to be reduced, some calypsonians would not get the opportunity to showcase their talent.She explained that tents served as a kind of feeder, by giving artistes an opportunity to showcase, and they in turn go on to the “more established tents” in a few years. She said the tents benefited from each other in those situations.Celebrity Tent manager Ridley Greene did not elaborate on the matter, but he made his position quite clear.“It’s simply foolishness,” Greene stated.The Bacchanal Time’s Kevin Hinds had this to say: “We live in something we call free enterprise. I don’t know how you could say there are too many shops or too many taxis.”Stating he would have to understand why Knight said there were too many tents, Hinds said there were some tents “that could use an upgrade”, but he would never say they were too many tents.“Calypsonians always need a home. You got four tents, you got over 400 calypsonians, what are you going to do?” he asked, adding that if one were to put 100 calypsonians in a single tent there would not be adequate coverage.According to Hinds, Headliners, De Digicel Big Show, Bacchanal Time and Cave Shepherd All Stars had brought themselves into the 21st century and the other tents might want to fall in line.Eleanor Rice of Cave Shepherd All Stars said she would have to hear the entire statement made by Knight to see the angle from which he was coming, since he had not met with the tents.“It might be All Stars that’s being targeted,” she said.Celebration Time manager Peter Boyce queried how calypsonians who want to participate in the festival would be accommodated if the tents were reduced to four.“Right now the calypso tents that exist, as many as they are, there are people that try to get in tents and are unable to, and then they can’t participate in the competition. So if it were that we were to go down to this magical number, what would happen then to all those people? I think you should look at it seriously and see how it would impact on Crop-Over in its totality,” he suggestedBoyce said a lot of good music has come of out those tents that people say “don’t serve any purpose”, that have made it through to the final rounds of the calypso competition and a reduction would mean that those people would not see the light of day.In addition to the welfare of the calypsonians who would be displaced in a reduction, House of Soca manager Sharon Carew-White also wondered about the musicians, especially those just graduating from the Barbados Community College, stage managers and other skilled people who would be robbed of an opportunity to showcase and develop their craft.“Let’s look at it from a developmental point of view. Are we looking to develop culture in Barbados or are we looking to kill it?” an irate Carew-White asked.She said everyone that appeared on the tent stage would not be a hit in the beginning, but tents gave them the forum to develop.“What are we saying? Unless you come out and you’re a hit and you get into one of the four tents that the chairman is speaking about, you will have no where to develop?” she asked.

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