CDC continues experiment with carnival format

National Cultural Advisor and Head of the Carnival Development Committee, Alwyn Bully addresses media launching

For the second consecutive year, the carnival costume parade will be staged on Carnival Tuesday, preceded by the parade of t-shirt bands on Carnival Monday.

Chairman of the Carnival Development Committee (CDC) Alwyn Bully said the decision follows a survey among stakeholders and concerns that costume bands are not as prevalent during Dominica’s carnival season as they were in the past.

“As you know we’ve been very concerned about the development of costume bands in Dominica. We have no shortage of t-shirt bands, and that’s all well and good. It’s good for our corporate citizens and corporate entities because of promoting their work… At the same time, we’d really like to see the creative aspect of carnival in Dominica developed to a large extent,” he explained.

Consequently, on Carnival Monday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. the bands will come out to perform on their trucks. From 10:30 a.m to 2 p.m. there will be a parade of traditional costumes followed by the t-shirt bands. In the evening, at about 7 p.m., bands with battery operated lights, fluorescent necklaces, flashing lights and flashing swords are expected on Roseau streets.

The Carnival Tuesday costume parade will begin at 10 a.m. with the showcase of the 2010 carnival queen contestants, the new Miss Dominica, the new calypso king, costume bands and traditional costumes.

According to Bully, costumes were more creative in carnivals of the past.

“…Persons who have been promoting the costume bands have been concerned about the fact that following up on J’ouvert, which itself has become a larger event than it was in the past, it is difficult to get the revelers, the masqueraders who are in costume to be back on the street even by mid day,” he said.

He also noted that in previous years J’ouvert began at 4 a.m. and was over by 7:30 a.m. However, in Dominica and other Caribbean islands J’ouvert has turned into a much bigger event. He recalled  that in J’ouvert events of the past, music trucks with bouyon bands or hi-fi systems would have been restricted from playing on the road  in order to encourage the traditional aspect of carnival, but that has also changed over the years.

“The use of Tuesday for the parade again is experimental. We want to see if it really does encourage a better presentation of the costume bands, that people are more rested and they come out more fully, that they can start more
on time …,” he said.

“Last year we felt it worked to a certain extent, but we felt there was more that could have been put into it and greater effort was put by the revelers themselves to get there on time …seeing that they are rested on the Tuesday. All these things we want to look at to make a final decision if we stick with it or go back to the main parade on the Monday. So we asking the general public to bear with us as we try to find the best way to better present our carnival … the best way to presenting a creative carnival as well,” he explained.

Bully remarked that there is always room for change. He said he is hopeful that increased public participation will make carnival a successful event.

He also noted that an end time for carnival had not yet been announced by the police.

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  1. leolav
    February 16, 2010

    Love all that Sewonice had to say. Excellent ideas. That would interest me a lot when I come home for carnival. Right now I find so little of interest–no creativity at all. Let’s try to implement some of Sewonice’s ideas, and if they don’t work, then drop them, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

  2. January 27, 2010

    papa met ohy! De man never talk about changing the date of carnival, all the man talking about is the t-shirt band business. All you already done bring up change of date in it. It’s just a switch from Tuesday to Monday…what really is the big deal? If you love mas, you love mas. Changing it from one day to the other really not going to be that much of a difference. People will participate or not if they jolly well feel like it.

  3. sewonice
    January 27, 2010

    The change of costumes on Tuesday instead of Monday was disastrous last year. I have never seen carnival more dread in DA than last year because of that change. After Monday, people are done with costumes and just want to free up themselves, not drag a heavy costume all over the place after you sewo on Monday in a t-shirt band. I agree things need to be changed because young people are leading some changes whether we like it or not. But the changes need to be well conceived and widely accepted, and participation should be rewarded. For instance, one of the more interesting things I noted last year was the emergence of small (4-6 people) costumed groups for j’ouvert. These groups were all decked out and each had a theme (some were nurses, action figures, police etc.). So perhaps they should bring back the traditional pappyshow from 4-5 am culminating in a j’ouvert jump with lapo cabwit and then the small costume groups until 8-9. Then at 11, the traditional bands come out with no t-shirts on that day. In the evening, you could have the neon lights bands with steelband. Also, the types of costumes during the day on Monday should run the gamut of sexy and raunchy for the young’uns, to more substantial, innovative costumes that anyone can wear. I saw some costumes during carnival opening and they were just bad. Older women was dressed like preschool children! Do you know how scary that was to watch? There was no creativity whatsoever. Costume band designers should have better ideas than that.

    Then Tuesday should be all out t-shirts. Not only logoed t-shirts but embellished t-shirts as well, and by that I mean t-shirts adorned with beads etc., t-shirts tied in special ways, different accessories and so on. But the key in making people stick to such a schedule and participate fully is rewarding participation. There has to be a way to provide prizes to people who officially participate in all the festivities. Best pappyshow performance, best small group band, individual performances, best outfit, best sign etc. We can have many different categories that would encourage creativity. We have a special kind of mass in DA and we need to promote it, not change it into something it is not. It would be money well spent.

  4. Kevin
    January 26, 2010

    damnnn wrong move…. t-shirt band will always b da deailest in d/ca primarily bcus it costs less….. $270.00 to join a constume band? lol

  5. de caribbean change
    January 26, 2010

    Alwyn, we feting till the cock crow Ash Wednesday. No date change. Take a back seat and listen to the cock when it crows on Ash Wednesday.

  6. Anonymous
    January 26, 2010

    Does it really mater on the date of carnival, no matter when you have it people will definitely patronize.
    Every month in dominica has a festive activity,so why change

  7. New York Dominican Carnival Lover
    January 26, 2010

    I am all for changes to the improvement of Dominica’s Carnival. In the 80’s Mr. Bully [ who have travelled to Trinidad for Carnival] was at the forefront of our Carnival. Mr. Bully comes to the table with a host of knowledge.

    We must however embrace change and that young people must be included in the process of change. The future of Carnival is NOT in the hands of Alwyn Bully, Val Cuffy and Family, Raymond Lawrence, Alex Bruno, Pat Aaron , Ian Jackson and others. Its in the hands of our present day and future Junior Calypsion, Princesses and Teenage Pageant Contestant. Young people need a place, a day where they are the only one on show – a Junior Carnival with ONLY costume bands , no T Shirt. This will ensure a love for Mas, a love for being in a Costume Band.

    We need to look at the impact of T Shirt Bands on our Carnival. There is the positives and the negatives. While most companies use it as a medium of promoting their product and involvement/sponsorship of carnival, our designers and costume builders are suffering. Our creativity is suffering.

    I strongly believe that the T shirt Band should be on display at the official opening of Carnival. This I think will build interest for Mas players for Carnival Monday and Tuesday as they would have gotten a taste of the road. It would make for an event larger turn out at the opening of Carnival. We could declare the day of the opening at First Lap , where after the Official Opening persons take to the street. This will certainly generate more interest, more income. I know the Police would not like this, but the training of the Police Force should come to play.

  8. Ready For that change
    January 26, 2010

    I totally agree to this change. If we are to market Dominica carnival as a tourist product we are to produce something exciting and apealling to the foreign market. It will take a lil time to sink in but I believe it is somting that can grow. Dominica carnival now as it is, is too dull as compared to the other carnivals (not that I dont like its originality). If you were to experience another carnivals,(I am thinking as a tourist and not a Dominican) no matter the date, u will not be encouraged to pay your ticket and come to Dca for carnival.

    With that change I think gradually more people would be indirectly forced to join costume bands when they realise that for the better part of the day they are goin to be home.As a result we may even see the emergence of more costume bands and a bigger, brighter, more fun parade, a package we can actually sell.

  9. Fairplay
    January 26, 2010

    I think that Alwyn should take a back seat, his day are over.
    He should leave the date of carnival etc alone.

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