December Festival to Be Rebranded Montserrat Carnival

Calypso Monarch Garnett Sylk Thompson
Miss Montserrat – Vanice Tuitt

New Director of the Montserrat Arts Council (MAC) Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott today outlined several ideas that his team is working on for this year’s end of year celebrations.

Silcott launched a new segment on the local radio station, ZJB called From the Director’s Chair. In it, he revealed that his office is planning to rename the Montserrat Annual Festival in December as Montserrat Carnival. This he said was to bring the annual event more in line with other Caribbean islands which promote a signature event. He added that the festival is actually a carnival based on all of the components and so it is more fitting to change the name so it becomes a more marketable product for the tourism office to promote. The director also wants to offer travel packages which the tourism office can promote to bring people in for the top weekend shows.

He said not all of the changes will be done in time for this year’s event, however you can expect to hear the festival now being called Montserrat Carnival. New logos, a slogan will be added over time.

Kenneth Silcott, Director of the Montserrat Arts Council

Other plans the he is working on, along with the new Head of Planning and Production Vernaire Bass, is to extend the calypso semi-finals. Silcott said they plan to reschedule it on the calendar and allow for the 15 artists who make it through from the eliminations round to sing two songs on that night. No longer will a singer be able to use a good score from the eliminations round to carry them through to the finals. “Each performer must give it their best shot in the semi-finals round and battle it out for one of the nine slots in the final show,” he added.

The new director wants to introduce a masquerade competition. The desire is to increase the number of local masquerade groups across the island. He believes things are already moving in the right direction with the creation of the Cudjoe Head Masquerades. Silcott said prizes would be offered to individuals in such categories as best choreography on the various quadrilles. The groups could also receive prizes for encouraging their dancers to participate. He is hoping that the young students who were introduced to masquerade in the summer camps could get an opportunity to show their skills and possibly attract the attention of community groups. The masquerade competition would most likely be scheduled for Festival Day, which they also want to revitalise.

If all goes as envisioned, Montserrat could also see steel pan as well as live bands on the road for Parade Day.

The director said the public will be kept abreast of the plans for Montserrat Carnival, which is slated for December 21, 2019 to January 1, 2020.

Listen to the first episode of From the Director’s Chair thanks to Montserrat Radio Echo here …..https://montserratradioecho.wordpress.com/2019/09/10/tuesday-september-10-2019-from-the-directors-desk-with-mac-director-kenneth-rabo-silcott/

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