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DC Caribbean Carnival 2005! What an experience! For us it was very hectic due to us dealing with the Festival Site. It was so busy that we did not have the time and strength to make it to any of the anticipated parties and events in town. Of course, from all the reports most of the events and clubs did very well, actually one club owner described how successful the weekend was for him, he stated “…I was jumping like a Trini while counting the money I made during this Carnival weekend…”
Unfortunately we did very little except work! On Friday on our way home from the festival site we swung by Machal Montano’s event at Kili’s Kafe, and that looked real nice. So many people were in attendance, and the outdoor atmosphere was real nice too. We stopped by Ice Entertainment's Camouflage Fete at the Tunnel to show support, but didn’t stay, that seemed ok too. Finally, we dragged through Crossroads, in the “wee” hours of Carnival Saturday morning, and that was rocking too. Well, that was the end of partying for us despite all our plans; we were just unable to make it to any parties that weekend due to taking care of certain aspects of the actual Carnival event. Please forgive us, because we know you were waiting for all the details and reports. For those who made it out to all the different events, please share your experience with us, so we can share it with all our Arious family.
Now that Carnival is over there are lots of talk about the event, (1) parade started too early; (2) parade too short; (3) event ran as if it was an American style parade and not a Trini style carnival; (4) unable to take a jump with a band as in previous years; (5) police officers on parade route was unbelievable and extremely overbearing; (6) moving the entire event altogether to another location, possibly Maryland (a more carnival friendly zone). Folks are even talking about not attending future Carnivals, which we feel is not reasonable and should be given more thought. First off, we as a people must support our heritage and events, we must analyze all the facts before making decisions, and we must listen and learn. From all the talks and discussions via e-mails, we see the bottom line to all of these comments being the lack of community involvement. It seems the community is completely unaware of the issues surrounding the Carnival with the city. At least the ones talking feel they should be more a part of things, and they are disgusted by the new rules the city has laid upon the Carnival Committee. Moreover, it seems they feel cheated and is angry the city does not understand their culture (by making all the changes and implementing guidelines and rules.)
For us being somewhat on the inside, we know first hand all the problems the Committee have encountered with the city year after year (the most taking place this year 2005), and we know it was a very hard road to pull this event off. So we must congratulate them!!! Actually, Carnival almost did not happen this year, down to the very last day, and if I was in charge I would have said “to hell with it” and walked away. Nothing should be so difficult, especially after 13 years of it being in existence, it really should be getting easier!!!
As we all know the economic impact this Carnival brings to this city is outstanding, and it baffles and angers me that this city acts like it doesn’t realize the profit it makes from this event. As a matter of fact, everyone (promoter, club owners, shops/businesses on the Corridor, Airlines, hotels, car rental companies, etc.) in Washington DC and the surrounding areas make tons and tons of money because of this Carnival, except the Carnival Committee itself. Everyone is truly capitalizing on this event, yet is always talking about all the negatives.
I am not taking sides in this issue, but I have to point out some things I observed during the Carnival season, and Carnival weekend. The main one (which to me is a core problem) regarding the Organizing Committee is the entire board needs to work as a team. Teamwork is very important, it’s not a one person or two person Carnival, it’s an entire group/team working together to achieve one (1) common goal – making sure this Carnival happens, and is successful. That was definitely not there, and has never been there in the past, (at least, not since I’ve been around.) I’ve only noticed "hating", mistrust, complete unwarranted accusations thrown at each other, and not much genuine likeness or love for each other...to me just plain “crudeness”. Of course, this goes back to the “crab mentality” which is embedded into our souls, so it may be a little difficult. However, I am certain it can be achieved if they recognize this major problem and work on making it better. Even with all their personal problems, I am happy to see though, they focused on their individual projects, pulled themselves together for a "minute", and pulled this event off real well. They are certainly trying to correct their personal problems!!!!
The other major issue that is the "talk of the town" and that I observed was the many police officers on the parade route on the day of Carnival, but we all must realize that this event attracts close to 700,000-1 million people (an estimated count by the police from the 2004 Carnival), and we are living in a time of war and terrorism. Keep in mind the police has a formula they use to estimate the amount of officers they would need to control and secure a crowd the size that normally attends DC Carnival. Of course, we all know nothing has every happened, and Carnival is a time for fun and enjoyment, but in "these times" all precautions must be taken to secure people's safety. Imagine if something did happen, and there was not enough police to protect us, the complaints would be "there were not enough police... who were not doing their job and didn't care about Caribbean people to protect them." Even though the cost for all this police protection is outrageous, it must be done especially in this time of war and terrorism - Protection is # 1, and someone has to pay for it! Unfortunately, it happens to be the Carnival Organizing Committee that pays for all the protection.
Also, from all my trips to NY Carnival, I am always baffled by the massive amounts of police officers that line the parade route (Eastern Parkway), and who congregates on every corner and cross street. So much so, that no one can cross the street until they open up the gates and herd the people through like cattle. Yet, everyone seems to forget the amount of police officers are present at the New York festival, and is surprised about them being present here in DC. Bottom line is when you have lots of people, you will have lots of police, or else there may be a possibility for chaos.
The talk about the parade being an American Style parade where folks could not/were unable to take a jump certainly did upset some spectators. However, from my experience with, and talking to the bandleaders (being a bandleader myself in the past) it was a plus for them. They really do not want spectators who have not purchased a costume to jump in their band. Their main concern is if everyone were to jump in their band without buying a costume, the bandleaders would not be able to create revenue to pay for their band and all their expenses. Actually, Carnival would not be as we know it, but it would just be a big street party, with nothing from our culture being exposed. Understand the bandleaders concerns, and support them by purchasing a costume and participating in their band!!! I hate to continuously bring up New York's Carnival, but I don't ever recall seeing a non-masquerader jumping in any "Mas" band in NY. Yes, I've seen people jumping in the VP Record Company band, and that's because the VP band never has costumes or actual mas. Anyway, please correct me if I'm wrong.
The issue about the Pan Bands being in front of the parade was upsetting to some, but to me it's only logical for them to start off the parade. After all they are a major factor to Carnival and it showcases the culture first off, which is the way it should be. For a number of years the Pan Bands here in DC were never seen, since they were always at the end of the parade, I know for a fact, in the last few years all the Pan Bands were rushed of the Parade route and even was barely seen or heard by the judges due to the lateness of their arrival at the end of the parade route (no fault of theirs). So, tell me how else could this aspect (Pan) be properly exposed if it was not placed in front of the parade or even throughout the parade? Besides, if we go back to New York again, they have a Jouvert, which starts in the early hours of the morning and of course most of the pan bands play at this event (they have their own event to expose themselves). So, therefore Pan is featured first in New York (by the way which is a lot earlier than 10:00 am (the start of DC Carnival)). We here in DC don't have a Jouvert, therefore, our parade is condensed and all the aspects of Carnival are featured during our parade (5-6 hours). Again, isn't it logical to make sure that such an important aspect of Carnival is exposed early?
Another issue I've heard is that the Carnival should be moved out of DC. However, a few years ago the Carnival was moved to downtown DC, which I think was the best place for the culture to be exposed (in close proximity of the White House and all the tourist). Financially, it was the best year for the Carnival, but it seemed no one in the Community liked it being in downtown DC. Yes, I agree the parade route needed to be expanded upon, and I felt certain it would have, if the community had come together and worked on that particular aspect (since I've witnessed other parades with longer routes), but everyone said it was the worst location. It was clear to me that the concern from the massive was not about the actual success or the financial stability of the Carnival, it seemed the only important thing to many was to "jump and wine". No one felt it was necessary to stick with the location and just build on the parade route. Also, Maryland already has a carnival (Baltimore-taking place this weekend).
There are so many other issues, which has come out the woodwork that is pretty negative. I've spoken to people one on one in particular, which is "the organizers need to open up to more people." Here we go looking for something to be handed to us instead of going out and getting it. I know for a fact, if anyone is interested on getting involved with the Carnival Committee, there are many ways to do so; such as volunteering to help in the many different areas they need help with. An event the size of DC Carnival always needs volunteers in the many different areas, actually from what I've witnessed help is needed in every area. I know year after year the Committee reaches out to the Community for volunteers for several different aspects of the Carnival, so just reach out and let them know you are interested, and be willing to work, share and build on this one common goal (The Carnival). One other thing I have been hearing is there should be more young people involved with Carnival. Sure, it's needed, I completely agree, but again, young people must make the effort to get involved. Of course, no one should expect to come in as a decision-maker, so go on and contact the Organizers, offer your services, get "your feet wet" and learn.
What really saddens me though about all this negative talk, is after the Organizing Committee pulled off such a large and successful event, actually staging this huge cultural presentation in the Nation’s Capitol, no one seems to see the magnitude of this. This is the only Caribbean festival that takes place in DC, and has been successful for the past 13 years, that has endured the "trying times" throughout the years and who has finally established a very good working relationship with the DC City officials, government, and agencies. This small body of people have created a venue that provided opportunities for promoters to make some money from whatever event they host in this city during Carnival and during the entire Carnival Season; they have given club owners the opportunity to "get paid" during the Carnival weekend, they have created an opportunity for international artist (old, new and up-coming) to be exposed, they have created opportunities for bandleaders to showcase and play their "mas" to an audience of over 500,000, and most importantly they have created an event that exposes the culture, the food, the crafts, and all aspects of the Caribbean. To me this is not an easy task, and is extremely time consuming. I know there were many nights they have lost sleep, worked and worked tirelessly on different projects, neglected their regular jobs, and even their families, just to make sure this event "came off" and was successful. How could we be blind to this fact????
You must forgive me for sounding a bit bias, but I know first hand what they all endured in this past year trying to make this happen, and it's not right to just condemn this small group of people for the hard work they have put into this Carnival. For the first time in a number of years, the parade was smooth and ended at a reasonable time, the festival site ran very smoothly as well (vendors made a profit) and most importantly I saw many who were happy and thrilled to be at this Carnival. As a matter of fact, a few days ago I viewed a video of the festival site taken on Carnival Saturday, and was extremely impressed by the amounts of people who paid their $5.00 and came into the park to check out the foods, crafts, and most importantly the entertainment (featuring Burning Flames and Iwer George.) The smiles on their faces were wonderful, and the joy that was glowing through them while the band was playing was very nice to see. Clearly, many of you loved what took place on Saturday, June 25th and Sunday June 26th (2005 DC Caribbean Carnival.) Check in with me and let me know who you are!!!!
If you are in the DC area and are interested in working to promote the culture of the Caribbean, hit me back and let me know. Also, everyone among my family who attended the Carnival, please hit me back and let me know your thoughts on this 2005 DC Carnival email@example.com.
If you appreciate the culture, you have got to support it!!!!
One important thing that took place on the Monday after Carnival (June 27th) was the approving by the House of Representatives, Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s Bill (H.Con.Res 71) to create/designate a National Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Click here to read the Press Release
Hit us back and let us know if you attended DC Carnival, what city you are from,
and share your thoughts on the event. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our intention was to get this e-mail out to you last week, so we could remind you to attend the Caribbean Professional Networking Series - It's 2nd Anniversary took place last Friday, July 8th, 2005 from 6-9 pm at Zanzibar on the Waterfront. We hope you made it out, because the mission of the Caribbean Professionals Networking Series is to provide a forum for Caribbean Professionals to network and connect with fellow Caribbean nationals and other professional. Also, we hope the Trinidad and Tobago Annual All Stars Soccer Tournament that took place on Saturday, July 9th, 2005, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Recreational Park in White Oak Maryland, was fun too. Finally, we hope you attended the cultural event "Pan on the move" that took place at Reedbird Park in Cherry Hill (Baltimore) on Saturday, July 9th and Sunday, July 10th. Baltimore Education and Cultural Institute presented it's 5th Annual Harbor View Festival, featuring performances by many different Steel Pan Orchestras from New York, New Jersey, etc. and even directly from Trinidad, the Point Fortin New Creations Steel Youth Orchestra. On Sunday at the Soca Reggae Fest. there were performances by Iwer George; Maximus Dan; Mr. Easy, and others. If you went out and supported these events, hit us up and let us know how they were.
Well, this weekend (July 15th, 16th and 17th) is all about Baltimore Carnival. First off, our friend Ms. Shurla Samuels (Caribbean Delight) is working with the Mud Band out of Baltimore "Mud Revelers". This year they are presenting for Baltimore Carnival (2005) "The People Want Water". They are having a band launching this Friday, July15th at 3606 Plateau Avenue in Baltimore, Maryland. For more information and directions call 410-466-0949. They are having early registration to be in their band, which ends on July 15th, if you register before the deadline you will receive a free T-Shirt. To register in our DC/MD area contact Shurla at 301-681-6329, 301-499-1270, or just stop by the restaurant (Caribbean Delight) and see Shurla so you can get registered.The 2005 Baltimore Carnival starts this Friday, July 15th, and continues on Saturday, July 16th with the Parade. Things will close off on Sunday at Druid Hill park with some great entertainment!
Special Shout out to Marcia and Clinton "Exotic Tropic Caterers" - Look out for their booth in Baltimore at Druid Hill Park. It's normally the one with the long line!
It may not be late for you to join the Caribbean - American Intercultural Organization on Saturday, July 16th, as they head to New York on their bus trip to see a Broadway Show "The Producers", taking place at the St. James Theatre in New York City. Click here to get all the details on joining (CAIO) for their bus trip to Broadway!
This Sunday, July 17th, 2005 the Trinidad and Tobago Working Women's Committee of Washington DC Scholarship presents it's Caribbean Students Scholarship Fund Awards Banquet. The keynote Speaker is Dr. Acklyn Lynch (Author/Professor) and the Master of Ceremonies is Mr. John Blake. The Awards Ceremony is from 5pm to 9:30 pm and dancing takes place after the awards. Music will be provided by "The Saint". This is taking place at Cherry Hill Manor, 9450, Cherry Hilly Road. Donation is $40.00. For ticket information and more details, click here to enter our "Events" Page!
Also, on Friday July 22nd, Sister Dera from I & I Productions invites you to check out "A Night of Rastafari Conscious Roots Reggae from the Virgin Islands". Several Roots, Reggae Bands will be featured from the Virgin Islands at Cafe' Mawonaj, 624 T Street, N.W., Washington, DC, 9pm and $10.00 at door. Click here to enter our "Events" page to get the line up of bands performing from the VI and all the details or call I & I Production at 202-744-1300; 202-332-4480.
Before we close, we want to inform you about some T-Shirts that are beginning to get popular, and flooding the market and outlets here in DC. The "Soca or Die" T-Shirts. A nice T-shirt for all the soca lovers, and most importantly it's a great way to show your support for soca music. Click on the picture to view the full size of the T-Shirt. To purchase this T-Shirt, you can contact us here at Arious 301-324-2401, or call mike at 202-491-2397. The cost of the T-Shirt is $20.00
SHANA - Special Belated Greetings are being sent to you. May all you wish for be bestowed upon you. See you soon in Sunny California!
CONGRATULATIONS Brandy and O'tus on the birth of your son.
GERMAINE - Happy Belated Birthday Greetings!
enter our “Events” Page.
Have a wonderful weekend and hit us up and let us know your Carnival Experience! Both DC and Baltimore
We are heading out west to visit family in the next week, so of course we decided to give everyone the week off. Look out for our next e-mail during the last week in July!!!! We will definitely have lots to share with you!