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Soca Monarch

The CDC says the Soca Monarch Semi-finals will now take place on Monday, June 27, 2022. (iWN file photo)

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The Carnival Development Corporation (CDC) is promising an energetic Vincy May 2022, as the festival returns after a two-year hiatus because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The CDC’s Co-ordinator of Shows, Anthony Dennie told a press conference that while the festival is open to patrons regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, the CDC is “pretty much still sensitive to the fact that the COVID-19 is here… 

“Things are very much looking pretty good for Vincy Mas 2022. I just want to appeal to persons out there that while going about, whether it’s a CDC event, a private event that you are attending, let us all keep in the back of our minds that we are still very much in a pandemic.

“Yes, the protocols have been relaxed and yes there is no mask mandate but whatever you can do personally to safeguard yourself and safeguard those around you, the Carnival Development Corporation is appealing that you adhere and do so.

“We know that it has been  a while and especially over the last two to three days [of the festival], I envisage there is going to be an explosion of persons heading into Kingstown.”

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He said the festival kicks off next week Friday, June 24, with the calypso semifinals, dubbed, “Ting Nice Agen”. 

At that show, 22 calypsonians will be vying for 10 spots in the finals.

Wetty Beatz, a Vincentian artiste based in France, will headline calypso semi-finals, which will also feature a guest appearance by Calypso Monarch Shaunelle Mackenzie and Trinidadian calypsonian, Edwin “Crazy” Ayoung. 

The festival continues on June 25, with Junior Carnival, which, Dennie said, will be different this year.

“From about 1 p.m., they will move off from within the area of the National Lotteries Carpark, head up town, Heritage Square, come back down, head into the Victoria Park.”

Dennie said that the event culminates at Victoria Park, where with “a fair-like atmosphere” from noon, dubbed “In The Clubhouse”, where there will be a lot of attractions for the children.

On June 26, Royal Rumble, the semi finals for the Ragga and Soca Monarch competition will be held in a joint show at Solidarity Inc Carpark, following a jump-up in the city.

At the show, 20 artistes will compete in each category for 10 spots in the finals.

Dennie praised the young artiste, who he said have “taken the bull by the horns, so to speak, and and come forward. 

“Yes, there is that need for that guidance. There is certainly that need for us to pay particular attention to our lyrical content. But you will agree with me that you know the young artists have come to the forefront this year,” Dennie said. 

He, however, noted that experience of the more seasoned soca artiste.

“I have no doubts based on the music that we’ve been getting from various artistes, the young and the not-so-young, that Vincy Mas 2022 certainly is going to be quite a festive and energy-filled…”

But while many young people are joining the soca artform, the CDC is bemoaning the low number of entries in the Junior Calypso competition.

The Junior Calypso and Soca competition, on June 28, is dubbed “Teen Splash”.

Dennie said the CDC has seen more being done in the soca genre, with over 17 entries in the soca categories, compared to eight in the secondary category of the primary school competition, and nine for the primary school, leading to automatic qualifications.

He, however, said Teen Splash promises to be a good one, with some young acts and a young DJ clash on show.

“It is going to be an evening for the youngsters. You can rep your school, rep  your community,” he said. 

The CDC’s signature event, “Evo”, slated for July 1, continues to be a “musical journey of carnival” is being dubbed “A Night in the Clouds” in the clouds and the CDC is maintaining white as the dress code.

The event will feature headline artistes such as Problem Child, Skinny Fabulous Jamesy P, and Fireman Hooper.

Vincy Mas 2022 continues on July 2, with what has traditionally been a largest show, the finals of the soca and ragga soca competition.

“And I need not to say much about this event,” Dennie said, adding that it is known for its energy.

“As a matter of fact, the Soca Monarch here St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and I can I can put my neck on the table as far as that is concerned, at this point in time, we’re ahead of Trinidad and Tobago, we’re ahead of Barbados, we’re ahead of Grenada. The vibe, the energy felt and experienced at Soca monarch in St. Vincent and the Grenadines it’s very difficult for you to encounter such anywhere else across the globe for that matter. 

“In Trinidad and Tobago we saw what happened the last time they had their Soca monarch — low turnouts, some of the major artists staying away but we still have our major artists being involved and for 2022 that refreshing drive from the youngsters augurs well for this aspect of Vincy Mas going forward. 

“And the CDC is very, very confident that St. Vincent and the Grenadines will continue to demonstrate to the rest of the region and the world, when it comes to soca music we know how to do it.”

On Sunday, July 3, Pankaimas will feature the calypso competition, nine steel bands as well as carnival costumes.

Only the calypso and pans event will be judged as the section of the band will be showcase.

“The Carnival Bands Incorporated and the Carnival Development Corporation’s after much engagement, the CBI indicated that a lot of the mas bands didn’t get that they were quite ready to put out full presentations.

“So that being the case, there is not going to be a King and Queen of the Bands competition, there is not going to be a band of year competition, so to speak. But  I can assure persons there would be good presentations for Junior Carnival, for the section of the bands, and, … for Mardi Gras.”

Dennie said mas bands hace assured CDC that they are working hard to ensure that they have their costumes ready.

He said the traditional aspect of j’ouvert continues the following morning and the CDC is encouraging the public to register online. 

Dennie said there will be three steel bands on the road but to date, only one painted band, “Country Meets Town” has indicated their intention to take part in j’ouvert. 

“… the Carnival Development Corporation, … apart from having those three steel bands on the road, will be having about two or three music  trucks on the streets of Kingstown for that morning, because we know what happens on jouvert morning, quite a number of persons come out just to get right of the pent-up energy, so to speak.”

He said  four t-shirt bands have indicated their intention to take part in the Monday afternoon street party.

“That being the case, persons can look forward to an opportunity where we do things in our own Vincy way in the Monday Street band.”

He said 12 bands have indicated their intention to take part in Mardi Gras, but reiterated that there will not be “big and heavy costumes” because of the  absence of the King and Queen of the Bands competition.

“But, for the most part, mas bands will be displaying anywhere between three to five sections on the streets of Kingstown.”

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