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There may be no parades or actual fetes happening in Trinidad and Tobago for Carnival 2021 but the annual festival will be celebrated in the virtual space thanks to COVID-19.
From fetes to concerts, private events will continue in 2021 across various virtual platforms.
Iwer George raised the curtain on the virtual Carnival on Boxing Night launch and he plans to continue during the season with weekly shows via his Iwer Stage and possibly a virtual Iwer Wednesday.
Other virtual concerts will include Sekon Sta’s Sekon Sunday, Erphaan Alves’ E Day slated for Carnival week, Patrice Robert’s Strength of a Woman on Carnival Thursday. Nadia Batson’s Artform, Voice’s Cavanal concert, and a new event called Soca for Love on Carnival Sunday. There will also be shows via WACK 100.1 FM's Youtube channel, Fay Ann Lyons and Bunji Garlin's Chrending platform and Etienne Charles' Creole Soul TV.
On the fete side, a few popular brands will be holding virtual fetes among them Fatima Old Boys Association (FOBA) and Soka in Moka.
Fatima will be first out of the gates with three scheduled events featuring Blaxx and De All Starz, Dil-E-Nadan and Sekon Sta and the Soca Band.
Ruthven Thompson, President of FOBA, told Loop News that they decided to go virtual since they didn’t anticipate that the virus and legislation would allow for close contact and large events and also to stay true to who they are.
He said it was also beneficial for them to support the artistes who have stayed the course with them over the 17 years of the event. Dil-E-Nadan, he said has performed at their fete for over 10 years while Blaxx and De All Starz have performed for 16 of the 17 years. Sekon Sta, he said, is a former Fatima College student and represents the future.
He said they chose to do their event over three nights so as not to be the same as everyone else and to grab viewers’ attention in a way that would encourage them to donate as the three events are free.
The funds raised would go toward the school.
Thompson said while the quantum of funds needs to upkeep the school may have changed, there are still costs that need attending to such as paying for security and maintenance of the compound.
FOBA has created a partnership with WIPAY to facilitate donations via www.supportfatimacollege.com.
Unlike Fatima, Soka in Moka’s event will not be free.
Dexter Charles, PRO of the Soka in Moka committee told Loop that they are taking a risk by charging for tickets but it is a good risk and they wanted to be different. He said so far they have had people from T&T, Barbados, New York and Jamaica purchasing the early bird tickets that are selling for US$15. Regular tickets will cost US$22.
Soka in Moka Uploaded will see patrons getting access to the YellarTV platform from January 4 where they could experience past fetes and win prizes by partaking in trivia from sponsors’ booths. On January 17 will be the actual stage show. The identities of the performers will be released over the days leading up to the event.
“We decided to have an event because we know we have to do something. Moka is known for starting Carnival and we knew that were fetes coming up before us so to keep our leverage we had to do something,” he said.
The fete is usually used to raise funds to assist Trinity College, Moka. Last year, profits from the fete were used for scholarships and in previous years the funds were used to do repairs and enhance the school’s infrastructure. Charles said this year, the Principal will decide how the profits are to be used.
Not all events will be purely virtual, however.
EEEMpire will be hosting two blended events for the season as well as a market.
Ken Sambury, Managing Director of the events company, said he will be collaborating with Sekon Sta on his annual concert as well as hosting a Tropical Luau Brunch.
Sekon Sunday will be a live event at Queen’s Hall in conjunction with NLCB and will also be broadcast via CNC3 and streamed across social media platforms.
The event will be free but open to guests by invitation only.
Tropical Luau, Sambury explained, will take the form of brunch at a restaurant and all COVID-19 protocols will be observed such as 50 percent seating capacity and mocktails instead of alcohol which is currently not allowed to be served in bars and restaurants.
The brunch will be streamed.
“My goal is to connect real life with virtual. My philosophy is that some people no matter what will not appreciate virtual,” said Sambury.
On what would have been Carnival weekend February 12 to 14, Sambury will host the second Sunalia market.
The market debuted over the Christmas weekend and will return to the spacious Cipriani Labour College grounds.
Sambury said the concept of the market is to provide a space for all those who recently started a business due to the pandemic or had a business which they are pushing more now.
The market will be an enhanced, more premium version of other artisan markets with DJs, a picnic area and special attractions. The Friday night will see an outdoor cinema, on Saturday there will be bazaar games and on Sunday, Valentine’s Day couples will be encouraged to make reservations to have dinner from a number of food vendors on-site with special menus.
He said: “We are trying to create an experience around shopping. We want to have one place that even three or four years later people could pass through our market to get different things.”
Carnival 2021 virtual events
Jan 1: Fatima Strive On featuring Dil E Nadan
Platform: FOBA Youtube channel
Jan 2: Fatima Strive On featuring Blaxx and De All Starz
Platform FOBA YouTube Channel
Jan 2: Soca in White
Jan 3: Fatima Strive On featuring Sekon Sta and the Soca Band
Platform: FOBA YouTube Channel
Jan 10: Sekon Sunday
Cost: Invitation only
Platform: Live show at Queen’s Hall and aired via CNC3, streaming on social media platforms
Jan 17: Soka in Moka XXII Uploaded
Cost: Early Bird US$15, regular US$22
Jan 24: Holy Name Convent Flight of the Virtual Phoenix
Jan 27: Phase II Another Phase
Feb 13: Tropical Luau Brunch
Platform: In-person and streamed