Memories: Scenes from Carnival 2020

Carnival is colour, Carnival is mas, but come February 2021, we may not see a steel band nor a mas band pass.

It is why Commander-in-Chief of Caesar’s Army Jules Sobion is telling Carnival creatives—time to pivot and transition.

He is not doing away with Carnival, instead, the lord of experiential events tells Guardian Media, he too is pivoting.

“I can tell you for sure from a Ceasar’s Army point of view, our company is in the process of pivoting and transforming,” he said.

Sobion revealed in October there would be a ‘big release’ on what the company was now transforming into—a new age experience agency.

“For Caesar’s Army, we are in the business of creating experiences so now we are in the business of creating experiences for corporate clients,” he elaborated.

Staying true to the company’s signature style of mentation, Sobion said the new company would be called CreatiV—the V representative of the Roman numeral, which translates to the number five.

“The V is representative of a five-step process plan that we have with our clients—listening, accessing, strategising, executing and ensuring results,” he explained.

He said like the experiential events churned out by Caesar’s Army, CreatiV was an experiential marketing agency with a focus on creating experiential marketing campaigns for the digital world, technology and pushing the boundaries of lasting and memorable experiences for customers even within the new normal.

“We have pivoted towards that because we realise that we can’t wait forever for same events to come back around, so we might as well use our expertise and our brains to innovate as well as execute these experiential campaigns for corporate clients.”

Though not officially launched, Sobion noted CreatiV had already attracted clients—some, familiar to the Caesar Army brand as former sponsors.

Sobion said he hopes those in the industry would engage and find inventive ways to ‘stay in the game.’

“It is just a matter of trying to find what you do best and what is not working now, try to transition it into a new world thinking. I am not saying that it may not be difficult, based on what you do, but I believe that people’s passions can also channel into transitions. Don’t despair, when there is a crisis there is an opportunity, convert the thinking and adapt,” he advised.

Postpone Carnival

Speaking on his mas band ROGUE— a collaboration with Tribe launched in 2018, Sobion said that brand, however, was highly dependent on Carnival.

He noted, realistically given the current state of the country concerning the pandemic, he could not see Carnival happening in February 2021.

“With a Carnival band, you have to have people buying your costume, you have to put in orders, get materials etc, and all that is delayed because we are practically in October. So I don’t believe it is going to happen in February. And I advise that if it is realised Carnival is not going to be possible or difficult, it would be best it be postponed and planned accordingly,” urged Sobion.

Pointing to Jamaica’s Carnival conundrum caused by the pandemic, Sobion said the planning too, must be practical.

He said right now mas men were stagnant.

“There is no set date, there is no communication really. I am not saying the communication is not being held, it’s just not being held with us.”

He noted planning and strategising were key right now. And advised the ‘powers that be’ to meet and speak with all stakeholders in Carnival in all realms to discuss and formulate a plan and come to some practical decision about Carnival.

Sobion believes if the industry waited for the “time to reach up on them,” it would find itself spinning top in mud.

His comrade in Carnival business and bandleader of the Tribe group of bands, Dean Ackin, said Tribe would be ready to celebrate with the people of T&T again, but only when the time was right and when it was safe for everyone to be together again.

He said when that time comes, T&T’s Carnival would return in all its glory and with all its energy.

“Carnival is our culture, it is ingrained in us. Machel said it— “it in we blood,”’ Ackin said.