COVID, CULTURE, CARNIVAL
A plethora of events continues to be developed for livestreaming, which serves to address the immediate need for some form of entertainment and distraction during these challenging times.
The global pandemic, Covid-19, has affected festivals and carnivals in the region as it has affected almost every aspect of life the world over.
The nature of Caribbean cultural expressions, whether through our carnivals or music festivals, does not allow for social distancing. It therefore means that while the virtual, online space has been utilized to provide some semblance of entertainment, these outlets will by no means be an adequate substitute for the way we have grown used to celebrating, partying and generally having a good time. There will be no new normal for carnivals and festivals. The world will have to return to its normal mode of operations to facilitate our festivals that have become, not just significant forms of cultural expressions but also crucial sources of economic resources through our tourism industries etc.
A plethora of events continues to be developed for livestreaming, which serves to address the immediate need for some form of entertainment and distraction during these challenging times. However, the live streams can also serve to create content for regional Artistes – earning them more fans and revenue streams on platforms where our brand of entertainment is under-represented and definitely under-utilized. One striking example of the benefits from the proper exposure via social media during Covid-19 is the Beenie Man, Bounty Killer Verzuz showcase. After two months the Jamaican rivals have seen a 216% increase in music streams, as reported by Nielsen music. There obviously will be ‘post Covid-19’ benefits also with proposed tours and albums featuring the two Artistes.
In Grenada, several online events have popped, filling the void for entertainment, especially in what would be a very hectic on festival season.
WEE Club on WEEFM, which takes place on Saturdays between 12 noon and 1pm and hosted by Shortleg has set the pace for locally-produced events. The WEE Club features Artistes, DJs and musical instruments and has provided a wonderful outlet for Artistes to showcase their vast catalogue while premiering new material. Shortleg recently laid strong claim to the title of Grenada’s number one host with the phenomenal job he did at SMC’s virtual Carnival City.
Missy Chrissy’s weekly Upstage provides a different format for local Artistes to showcase their freestyle skills with room to feature their extensive repertoires.
Grenville based Topp FM recently hosted a fantastic virtual launch that was streamed online and featured some of the stalwarts in the local soca industry. The camaraderie and energy were evident and a reminder of Grenada’s place on the global soca scene.
Sunshine Promotions recently launched its Virtual Soca Monarch competition a very commendable venture during Covid-19. The interest will certainly be generated since the fans always gravitate to competition among the Artistes. However, even more important will be the showcase of Grenada’s music to the world. In essence this event will be a major platform that can be used to garner interest among carnival lovers and potential visitors to Grenada in the future. Grenada’s music is certainly harvesting well-deserved interest among soca and carnival lovers the world over and a virtual event of this nature will highlight why Grenada’s music is trending.
The other islands must be looking at Grenada and the success of Jab music and Jab Jab etc and, for lack of a better phrase, plotting ways to compete, and secure the benefits of having their music so wildly popular.
It therefore means Grenada should be working on its product. Ensuring the proper foundations are laid, the areas for improvements are addressed and the raw, youthful talents harnessed leading to an enhancement of the quality of musical, carnival and festival products.
All the online showcases are essential and fill voids that go beyond entertainment. However, the space granted by Covid-19 should be wisely used to grow our festivals and carnivals to continue to be provide entertainment and connectivity to our rich cultural traditions. As importantly the lasting economic benefits to the creators among us and the trickle-down effects associated with the various forms of creativity, carnivals and festivals must be secured ensuring a progressive and sustained industry.
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NOTE: The views expressed above by the writer are not necessarily the views of partygrenada.com or its affiliate