Tents need new ideas

Father and son duo Ras Iley and Young Iley (right) with tent mate Michael Antoine (centre).
Father and son duo Ras Iley and Young Iley (right) with tent mate Michael Antoine (centre).

Tents need new product offerings to attract the younger crowds.

That’s the view of veteran calypsonian and former Party Monarch king, Ras Iley, who is returning from retirement this year to once again compete in the Party Monarch competition.

Stating that he was using his landmark 30th anniversary to send a statement that he was “still around” and “not dead”, and therefore would enter the competition arena again, Ras Iley who will be judging in the new Celebration Time Calypso Circus said he believed the public should give this new concept of music and the arts a try.

The tent, managed by PK Event and Media, is a combination of Celebration Time and newcomers Ragga Soca Superstars, and opens next weekend.

Ras Iley, who is a member of the cast this year, said at the press launch this morning: “I personally think the whole concept of trying … you see de word family and de word circus, I can see children being accompanied by parents, which is a source of bringing an entire family to the tent…

“One of the biggest problems with Crop-Over from my time, when I reflect on my 30 years is that Crop-Over right now is segregated. It is like they got music for one set of people out there and then music for another set of people. In my time, I know one song bringing young and old together to dance on Spring Garden to one tune or dance and party in de tents to one tune. You got to find whatever way possible to bring back Crop-Over to the point where everybody is partying to the same tune rather than frustrate.

“The mature audience is one of the most vital and critical, they does spend de money. Young people does just want a little bit of this and a ragga, but merchandising de CDs, holding the tents, these are the people we need to get back into Crop-Over that feel frustrated right now,” he said, adding that if the concept of a circus would bring the children and the adults out, he was willing to give it a try.

“The reason I am here is that I believe it can go to the next level,” he stressed.

Ras Iley said he would be entering Groovy Soca, once the song was selected, with his son, a rapper who would be operating under the moniker Young Iley.

This second release to accompany his already popular 2013 song Dey Comin’ Down, Ras Iley said would happen early next week. He said to sing with his 16-year-old son, Young Iley would be a perfect blend of 60’s meets 80’s.

Tent manager of Celebration Time and Production Manager of the Calypso Circus, Kimtara Clarke, said they had introduced the blend of the two tents to bring something new and innovative to the festival mix.

“One of the things that we heard over the past few months when we started the promotion of this tent … is that there is a buzz out there that tents are dying. That is something we thought we needed to address because they are very necessary to the festival, they are very necessary to Crop-Over on a whole.

“There needs to be a reviving of the tents and in order to have a reviving of the tents, we needed to bring a new element to the tent itself. We thought that yes, Crop-Over is about the music, but it is about the culture on a whole and the creative industries on a whole and the only way to bring it all together is to blend everything, that being drama and everything else, dance etc.”

Clarke said the tent would have stiltmen, Mother Sallies, dancers, acrobats, along with other cultural presentations and entertainment. (LB)

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