The fightback has begun! Trinidad Carnival, for so long the dominant force in the Caribbean festival calendar, has realised that it can no longer take its supporters for granted. The National Carnival Commission (NCC) has launched a roadshow to tell fans that T&T’s version is the” most original, vibrant and diverse carnival”.
The Culture Ministry launched the five-year marketing campaign in Barbados in 2017. This year, with the NCC at the helm, the course has been set for a bigger cruise round the capitals of Caribbean Carnival.
The first port of call, in April, was Jamaica, though this was more of a scoping exercise, explained NCC commissioner Dr Suzanne Burke. In August, Come TT moves to Barbados and Notting Hill before heading to Miami, USA.
So what is T&T Carnival’s ‘unique selling point’? How is it going to maintain its position in the face of fierce competition from rival events all seeking the carnivalist’s dollar (or pound)?
Quoted by looptt, Burke said: “In Jamaica we learned our Carnival is rich, diverse, has many more products than Jamaica and other carnivals… if you want to taste the real party come to T&T.” Burke cited stickfighting and traditional mas as attractions missing from other carnivals.
The aim is to build loyalty to the T&T Carnival ‘brand’, which is, claims the NCC, “a fuller, richer experience”. People will be encouraged to take photos with brand ambassadors and traditional mas characters for a chance to win a trip to T&T’s Carnival.
Expect to hear plenty more over the next year or two.