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EDITORIAL: Don’t let the festival suffer


BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

EDITORIAL: Don’t let the festival suffer

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The news that four of the so-called calypso and soca shareholders have pulled out of the competition this year should not come as a surprise to anyone following the annual Crop Over festival.
This happens periodically, and calypsonians across the local spectrum sit out seasons for various reasons, but the media and the public usually make a fuss over the “big guns”.
The belief obviously is that if a Gabby, Red Plastic Bag or Lil Rick is not in any of the competitions, the crowds will not flock to the National Stadium or the other venues.
The belief has merit, but there have been times when one or two of the current four or five now sitting out the competition have removed themselves, and Crop Over came and went, the music drove the festival and monarchs emerged from the Pic-O-De-Crop, Party Monarch, Tune Of The Crop and Sweet Soca contests.
The public therefore should respect their decisions to some extent, knowing that calypso and soca in this country have the depth to throw up alternative champions when the “shareholders” are absent. In fact, even when the Bags and Gabbys are present, the proof is there that a new monarch can emerge, as occurred in 2011 with the triumph of Popsicle – hitherto an unknown in kaiso circles.
While the reasons given by Bag and Gabby – weariness – are plausible, since competition demands the best out of the competitor, we cannot help being slightly quizzical about the reasons given by Lil Rick and former triple monarch Edwin, particularly the latter.
Rick’s view is that he gets “unfaired” annually, which may have some weight if one tallies the sum of money such an artiste puts into his five-minute appearance at Party Monarch or Sweet Soca compared with what he may earn if he falls anywhere below second place.
However, in competition there are no guarantees so he, or any other soca artiste, would have to give deep thought to the true worth of such an investment.
Edwin, meanwhile, told his Facebook fans he wasn’t “feeling” the vibe this year, and went on to state the many private shows he would be appearing at throughout the season.
This raises these questions: If one is tired or not “feeling” it, why not sit out the tents and other events altogether? Is the festival first and foremost about money?
What about the moral responsibility of these artistes to a festival that has nurtured and, yes, paid them and given them the fame and popularity that now allow them to tell their fans they’re not competing but would be appearing at fetes, tents and every other dogfight across the local landscape?
Let us, the fans, hope that our calypso and soca idols consider these things for the future lest they eventually turn off the public, and in turn disappoint sponsors and organizers, leading to the obvious result: a festival that would be seen as merely a stepping stone instead of an entity whose growth we should all support.

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