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People’s Band coming strong with mas for all
Every now and again a band comes along that captures the attention of the masses. Carnival 2011 is no exception. Such a band is The People’s Band, conceptualised by Minister of Arts and Multiculturalism Winston Peters. The band, with its tag line “mas for all,” will hit the streets of Port-of-Spain and Mayaro on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, while the San Fernando entity will play mas on Carnival Monday.
Starting point for the Port-of-Spain band is Hart Street, where masqueraders will join Witco Desperadoes, six DJ trucks (with one exclusively retro soca), North West Laventille Cultural Rhythms and a tassa band. They will then proceed north on Abercromby Street, west on New Street, south on Victoria Avenue, west on Tragarete Road, south on Pole Carew Street, east on Ariapita Avenue. Starting time on both days are 1 pm and 9 am, respectively.
In Mayaro, The People’s Band will participate in J’Ouvert and then again later in the day, it will assemble at the Edric Connor Park, at 2 pm for Monday mas, while on Carnival Tuesday, the band leaves from the same venue at 11 am. Similarly, the San Fernando edition will have its revellers congregate outside the OWTU Hall at 1 pm. DJ Mr Desmond, a steel orchestra, tassa and rhythm sections will provide music. In keeping with the concept “bring yuh costume and come,” revellers can unpack their yesteryear costumes, put them on and play mas.
Communities are invited to showcase their creativity in the production of costumes, while others can collect their signature T-shirts at Sun & Sea, 7 Charlotte Street, Port-of-Spain. The only criterion given by the minister is that the revellers wear costumes made in Trinidad and Tobago. “I want the people to be creative...There will be no restrictions, no sections,” he said. “This will encourage the return of traditional mas and I’m hoping people will pull out those antique costumes they have stored away, clean them off and come play mas.”
Masqueraders’ security is a primary concern as co-ordinator Errol Peru revealed. He noted that The People’s Band will be the safest band on the road. Scores of traditional Carnival individuals will lead off The People’s Band. Several high-profile individuals have confirmed their participation. The People’s Band is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism and the National Carnival Commission (NCC) with endorsements by the interest groups.
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