PRESS RELEASE – The new executive of the Saint Lucia Calypso Association (2009) and the tent leaders are determined to make the 2014 calypso season a much improved experience for all stakeholders especially calypsonians, sponsors, judges and patrons.
Several meetings and discussion forums have already been hosted with the main focus being improving the quality and delivery of calypso through best management practices and collective responsibility.
On Tuesday, April 16, an historic meeting of songwriters, judges, calypsonians and managers realised concrete plans to deal with several chronic ailments which have negatively impacted the staging of several key events.
These include greater transparency with regards to the judging criteria for all award categories, ensuring that scheduled events are delivered on time and more efficient organisational and management structures for hosting all calypso/soca events.
The decline in attendance at and sponsorship for the calypso tents are of major concern to the calypso association, bearing in mind that these shows are the breeding grounds for what unfolds at the finals. A five-person committee comprising of judges, artistes and the association, headed by Avril Emanus, was appointed to revisit the rules of competition for the season as well as long-term plans of the association.
Recent analysis of the expenditure for these shows clearly indicates that the average tent must invest close to $180,000 in payments for goods and services to stage just three shows for the season. This alarming figure takes into account sound, band, security, décor, attire, refreshments, seating, venue rental etc.
Increased demands from performers for compensation for their time, effort and investment are only reasonable and every year the tents struggle to survive.
In an effort to reinstate calypso as a critical component of Saint Lucia Carnival, the association has requested meetings with the ministry and agency responsible for carnival with a view to resolving all of the outstanding problems and establishing a much improved working relationship.
The association is confident that the new approach will make a major difference in the 2014 season. Plans are being finalised for an activity to launch the calypso season and the first tent is scheduled to open on May 24, 2014 at the National Cultural Centre.