Morning jam a threat to festival

by Emmanuel Joseph and Donna Sealy

A veteran costume band leader and multiple award winning designer, is suggesting that the National Cultural Foundation’s Foreday Mornin Jam, will kill Crop-Over.

And another says that the event, which has 38 registered bands with thousands of revellers chipping from Carlisle Car Park to Spring Garden Highway on August 4, was threatening Grand Kadooment.

Gwyneth Squires said that, what this country was staging as a Foreday Mornin’ Jam, was supposed to be a counterpart to Trinidad and Tobago’s J’ouvert, which really was mud mas’ or old mas’.

She was of the view that, in its present form, Foreday Mornin’ was destined to kill Crop-Over.

“To be honest wid you, I don’t think it is a Foreday Mornin’ Jam. What Trinidad has is J’ouvert. If they want to have it here like a J’ouvert, it’s mud mas’, old mass. But I see people buying materials like costuming. There are 38 bands and that is going to kill Crop-Over,” she warned.

She argued that what would traditionally be used as costumes in a Kadooment band, was now being introduced to Foreday Mornin’.

“I don’t think it could work,” the well respected band designer added.

Only 22 bands have registered for Grand Kadooment.

In addition to that, Squires said, a lot a people claimed they were not playing in Kadooment because Foreday was much more quiet and an absence of sun. “I don’t think that could work,” she insisted.

Asked what she would recommend to the NCF the veteran designer responded: “Telling the NCF anything like that, they looking for money. We all looking for money and I don’t think it would work. I am seeing Crop-Over going down.

“What they should do is tell the band leaders of Foreday Mornin’, it’s old mas’, it’s mud mas,” suggested the award winning band leader.

Best West, who is producing a 150-strong band for the early morning jump, said she had deliberately kept her concept to tee shirts.

“I’m kind of concerned now because we have about 39 Foreday Mornin’ bands and eeven some of my band members are telling me ‘Betty why go in the hot sun when I could jump at night’. I’m kind of concerned about that being a threat to the actual Kadooment because now they have more Foreday Mornin’ bands than Kadooment bands and what is really strange is they have little costumes now coming. They should let that strictly remain a tee-shirt [event] because it is going to do damage eventually,” she said.

The band leader, who is in her 26th year of costume making and designing, said that while the event was another one in the cultural calender, there must be a form of control. “Where are they going with it? Is it going to remain tee- shirt and not costumes coming in. As a person, if I could join a Foreday Mornin’ band with a costume for such little money, with little creativity, no details people don’t really care. They care about enjoying themselves and they talk about getting out of the sun …

“As a human being I know the situation, yes it’s another part of culture and I want our culture to improve but as far as I’m concerned, it has to be controlled and the costumes have to be kept away from it. It should be strictly tee-shirts with different bottoms,” West said.

Yesterday, producer of Foreday Mornin’, Fran Wickham-Jacob said next year there would be specific rules and an outline to what the event was all about so people could have a clearer understanding.

“It is supposed to be a stepping stone into Grand Kadooment for new band leaders to develop their entourage, their following and then they step into Grand Kadooment… In Foreday Mornin’ there is room for costuming but it depends on the creativity. I think what people are complaining about is that the costumes are looking too similar to Grand Kadooment and we definitely

don’t want to bring Grand Kadooment into Foreday Mornin’. /

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