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No gains, no losses

Yvette Best

No gains, no losses

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Now that the dust from David Popsicle Hall’s spectacular win on the back of Cornwell at Kensington Oval has settled, most of the tents are hoping to break even this year.
The sweet taste of the 2011 summer festival still lingers for all the members of the House Of Soca family, who will undoubtedly agree that the July 29 fair at the big yard was the best for the season.
Tent manager Sharon Carew-White said landing the 13-18 Junior Calypso Monarch in Samantha Sammy G Greaves and the Pic-O-De-Crop calypso title were the highlights of an “excellent season” for the tent.
She said attendance was higher this season and that while sponsors did not give as much as in previous years, several of them offered cash and other contributions.
“We can’t complain this season; we’re definitely going to break even. We’re hoping that the two monarchs will offer brighter things for 2012,” said Carew-White, adding that House Of Soca felt it could keep traditional calypso alive with the youth.
She noted that people were already writing for next year and encouraged the sponsors to return to the House Of Soca family.
Jerry Roberts of Stray Cats said he was still balancing the books, but he too expected to break even. With a “major” sponsor already committed for next year, Roberts expects to expand his offering next season.
Stray Cats managed to open for only four nights, but the last was the best ever in the history of the tent. Roberts said they performed to a sell-out audience of mostly tourists at Ramshackles Restaurant in St James.
“We had to turn back people, and it felt good.”
He said he was hoping to bring a 1 000-strong costumed band for Grand Kadooment next year, in addition to the tent. There are also plans to fly in foreign acts to supplement his package.
“Next year should be pretty good for us,” Roberts projected.
Cave Shepherd All Stars did not win any of the titles but manager Eleanor Rice is still calling her nine-show run a success.
She said things picked up after the first few nights and that All Stars would “break even this year”.
All Stars had five semi-finalists, with three advancing to the MQI Banks/LIME Pic-O-De-Crop Finals.
“You want to win a crown, but this year was just as successful. Representation is just as important as winning in the eyes of the sponsor,” Rice argued.
She has given the assurance that All Stars will be back next year.
De ADC Building Digicel Big Show ran for five “well attended” nights and came up with some good results.
The Plantation Garden Theatre-based tent landed first (Red Plastic Bag) and second (Biggie Irie) in the Sweet Soca competition and second (Gabby) and fourth (Adonijah) in the Pic-O-De-Crop Finals.
Members are also celebrating Miguel’s first-time Semi-Finals pick and Khadijah Dijah Greene’s third place in the 13-18 category of the Junior Monarch competition.
She was a first-timer as well.
In terms of financial successes, manager Merle Niles said “we were okay” and that they “covered the bases”. She added that members were already working on material for next year.
The Celebration Time camp is still dealing with accounting matters and formulating plans for next year, but manager Peter Boyce expected to break even. He said the season went “okay” and that they performed to some reasonable crowds.
He believed the Rihanna LOUD concert affected numbers and that people did not have money to pay for Crop Over events and Rihanna’s homecoming concert as well.
Boyce said he had a difficulty with the timing of the show, which came at the “highest revenue-generating period. He said September would have been better.
“No one would have been adversely affected. Spending power was reduced. The bandleaders were correct in their assessment,” he said.
Errol Griffith of the Experience tent had a different view about last Friday’s Rihanna LOUD concert. He said it served as encouragement for those involved in wholesome calypso to dig deeper and push harder to achieve a level of excellence and he urged more people to come on board and contribute.
The tent has not been charging an admission fee in recent years, but patrons are encouraged to make contributions. Experience opened for three nights and landed a semi-finalist (Apache) and a finalist (Sammijane) in the Party Monarch competition. According to him, people are saying that this year was Experience’s best ever.
Griffith said the three shows they did was to ensure they could break even. Looking to 2012, he said the prospects were “exciting”. Experience is hoping to have one last tent for the season on August 25.
Celebrity opened for only one night this season. Manager Ridley Greene said bad weather (which forced cancellation on opening night), clashes with rehearsals for band members (who played for other tents) and other “logistical challenges” contributed to Celebrity being restricted to a single night. They are exploring the possibility of holding a show in the coming weeks.
He said this year, as with any other, Celebrity would try to cover costs.
“You don’t make money in tents. It’s a labour of love. You have to be dedicated and be prepared to make sacrifices for it,” Greene explained.
He gave the assurance that there would always be a Celebrity.
“It has nothing to do with a subvention or participation fee,” Greene stated.