By Kevon Browne
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Minister of Culture Jonel Powell confirmed Traditional carnival events like Jouvert, the Grand Parade, Pageants, and Last lap are being replaced with virtual events for this year’s Sugar Mas 49, carnival celebrations.
The announcement of the changes to this year’s events was made on Friday (October 2) on the St. Kitts Nevis National Carnival Committee’s Facebook page.
During the October 3 broadcast of Inside the News on WINN, Chairperson of the National Carnival, Shannon Hawley mentioned that she observed on social media people assuming that the announcement meant Sugar Mas 49 was canceled.
“Carnival Sugar Mas 49 is definitely on…even though it may be more online…and we’re going to celebrate it safely.”
Seeing the different Carnival cancelations globally, Hawley said their lessons were learned from the cancellations of Carnivals in places like Trinidad and thus a portion of Sugar Mas 49 will be “virtual” and a portion “physical”.
She assured there will be events that have crowd participation with the newer events being “virtual” with more emphasis on the inclusion of Christmas festivities into the calendar of events.
Hawley also gave a sneak preview of some of the events that will highlight the inclusion of Christmas activities.
“For the past few years, we’ve always had ‘In the Spirit of Christmas’ on the carnival calendar. ‘In the Spirit of Christmas’ is an event over four days that have been hosted by the Department of Culture, it is very popular, that event will be back. We’re also looking at a Christmas caroling competition, which I think will add some Christmas cheer to the carnival calendar.”
She revealed that the committee plans to meet with the Evangelical Association to discuss Christmas events.
“I think that it is a very important time especially during this pandemic to give thanks…it is my hope that the Evangelical Association will take us up on our offer to be part of our celebrations.”
The Calypso show will be the featured live show for this year’s Sugar Mas 49. The committee will be partnering with both calypso bands putting more emphasis on the tents with five tents per band. With this in mind, obvious safety protocols must be followed for such a live event, Hawley said that the committee is scouting venues where the tents can accommodate social distancing.
“It’s a lot to sing about and we want to hear it. We want our hardcore calypsonians who have been out of the race for so many years… we want them back in the ring and so the Calypso show must go on and will go on…”
Hawley also stated that the semi-finals will be eliminated, thus going from the tents to the quarter-finals and bringing 16 finalists for the Calypso finals. King of the Tents will also be reintroduced.
Icons, one of the new “virtual” events to be introduced, will celebrate the past road March champions 48 years. There will also be a “virtual” DJ competition as one of the new events.
The Committee also plans to partner with private party promoters for Sugar Mas 49.
“There’s going to be no competition between national carnival events and private events. We’re going to be partnering with these event stakeholders because we think that these event stakeholders are just as important; these event stakeholders make the carnival…”
While the traditional Jouvert road jam is off, Hawley assured that there will be Jouvert fetes held in a healthy and safe environment.