Officials have made the decision that the in-person events for this year’s carnival/festival will be held indoors at the Montserrat Cultural Centre.
Not since the 2010 festival, due to the removal of the old festival village on the Little Bay beach, have all the December activities been held indoors. Last year, due to COVID-19, the Montserrat Arts Council held a scaled down festival which was only live streamed from the cultural centre.
According to MAC Director Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott, the plan this year calls for limited in-person seating inside the island’s largest indoor venue. Silcott told the media on Thursday at Premier Joseph Farrell’s press conference that they are aiming to have between 150 to 200 people in the building. This number includes the performers and staff required for also live streaming the event.
The director explained that their social distancing plan calls for seats to be pre-booked, the provision of email and phone number for contact tracing if necessary, sanitisation upon arrival and then alternate rows of seats will be left empty. Only persons of the same household will allow to sit together. Others will have to sit with one empty seat between them. Ushers wearing masked will be guide people to their seats and ensure that social distancing protocols are being followed.
This year’s carnival has been significantly expanded from last year’s programme with the Office of the Premier in full support of the national festival.
Premier Farrell said the emergence of new COVID-19 variants and the island’s low vaccination rate of 42% means that measures must remain stringent to reduce the opportunities for residents to contract the virus. He reiterated the current mandates of five days quarantine for vaccinated arrivals and 14 days quarantine for non-vaccinated arrivals. Farrell added that travelers should take the timelines into consideration when they plan their trips as there will be increased monitoring from the Environmental Health team which keeps track of those in quarantine.
Silcott said the Ministry of Health had panned their recommendation to host events in Festival Village but did not state what the social distancing protocols for the outdoor venue would have been. He still aims to allow booth holders to open so they can have patrons stop by to purchase food and drinks throughout the season.
Details on purchasing the pay-per-view option to experience the events will be announced shortly.
The schedule of events are as follows:
The tentative schedule follows:
December 4 – Reggae on the Pond
December 17 – Market Day
December 18 – Calypso Eliminations
December 19 – Domino Knockout
December 22 – Nite of Pan
December 23 – Emerald Community Singers – 50th Anniversary Celebrations
December 24 – Shopping, Music & Masquerade
December 25 – Carol Singing
December 26 – Soca Monarch
December 27 – St. John’s Day
December 28 – Crowning of a Queen
December 29 – Calypso Finals
December 30 – King of Kings Show
December 31 – Festival Day – Vendors’ Delight/ Cultural Extravaganza
January 1 – Motorcade
January 2 – Beach Fete & Lime
January 3 – Cultural Extravaganza – The Bands – Cool Down