Calypso tents are like any other business and their managers are being encouraged to see them as such.
That is the advice from Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, who was at the time addressing the launch of the House of Soca calypso tent on Friday night at the swanky Apes Hill Polo Club in St. James.
“You are cultural entrepreneurs and that you ought to see Barbados as your only stomping ground. We have a product that has international appeal and I believe that in moving forward in the art form that we have to see the world as out market. It cannot only be Barbados because I believe that the world is for us to conquer,” he said.
What the Minister also noted was that under the Cultural Industries Development Bill, which he reiterated would be taken to Parliament “shortly”, tents could qualify for funding.
“I am aware that financing is challenge for entities, not only in Crop-Over but entities within the cultural sector and we feel that putting in place a legislative framework under which you can access funding and of course, ,other areas of technical assistance, need now to be acknowledged by law.
“The cultural sector needs to be recognised as an industry in its own right with the same and equal incentives as we have been providing to manufacturing and tourism and that is what the Cultural Industry Development Bill will do. We spent a lot of time discussing it, we spent a lot of time consulting with varying partners and I tell you that that bill will be going to Parliament very shortly. … I think that once it is passed it will do a lot not only for other genres of musical practitioners.
“… I hope you understand that the calypso tent as an institution would be able to qualify under the act as a cultural project and can apply for funding like any other institution involved in the creative sector. I hope that when that happens it will take some of the heat off of me when I go around and people say ‘Minister we want more money’ ‘we need more money this year’ and I got to see ‘cheese on bread’,” Lashley said.
Lashley also complimented the House of Soca tent for giving them the junior calypsonian a platform he noted that Aziza, Small One and Sammy G were singing about things that were important and topical.
This year, said Tent Manager Sharon Carew-White, the tent will be serving up a “soup filled with talent and culture”.
“This year our aim and our focus is to bring our Barbadian culture to those patrons who come to join us when we open our doors on June 23 at Queen’s College,” she said.
She also noted that she was pleased that the sponsors which include Turton’s Construction, Lears Plantation, and C.O. Williams, whose Asphalt Manager Paul Wilkinson presented a cheque at the launch, were committed to the tent and therefore their “yearly investment was still solid”.
“Financial circumstances have proven that it has been a challenge to secure corporate sponsorship for a quality product such as ours but with a great tem like what we have in the House of Soca, we are going to continue to try,” Carew- White added.
The Barbados Cancer Society had joined the tent this year as a sponsor after it was inspired by Gallon’s song the Big C.
The majority of the cast was also introduced during the launch. Among the line up for this year are 2011 Pic-O-De-Crop Monarch Popsicle, Sir Ruel, Jimmy Dan, Dr√, Franswa, Sharky, Delight, Malik, Speed Master, Callie, Adrenalin, GQ, Imran, Soca Ninaj, Mikard, Frost. Kid Site is joining the line up as well.
Carew-White said they auditioned more than 20 people but could not accept all of them. (DS)