Fantastic Friday may still be a possibility as the Caribbean Prestige Foundation is weighing its options concerning hosting the 2021 Soca Monarch.
“Our heart is into doing it, the question is can it be done and how can it be done. As long as we get those two answers it will be done,” said Geoffrey Wharton-Lake director of the CPF in a phone interview yesterday.
Wharton-Lake said he, along with creative director Simon Baptiste, has been in discussions with various stakeholders as well as sponsors in a bid to keep the annual competition on the calendar despite the cancellation of Carnival 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are seriously thinking of doing an event. Where? I know when. Obviously it’s going to be Fantastic Friday. Where we not sure, how the concept, is it going to be a competition, is it going to be all the power and the groovy all in one. There were options that we have and are still open to discussion, even if by chance we could get some stakeholders other than ourselves which includes the Soca artistes themselves to have a discussion at some point in time, sooner rather than later to see how best we can produce a virtual show,” he said.
On Thursday, Trinbago Unified Calypso Organisation president Lutalo Masimba also confirmed that the Calypso Monarch could potentially be staged this year, but he admitted that the prize structure would be the major deliberation should the show go forward.
Wharton-Lake said they would face a similar challenge concerning the Soca Monarch.
“I know for sure the discussion about prize money is also up grabs as to how much prize money is allocated and the whole structure of the event. We had some initial discussions as I said but we are still going to see how best we can put on an event for those at home and give the artistes an opportunity to show their wares,” he said.
Accommodating international acts was another piece of the equation which also needed to be solved to maintain the “international” aspect of the ISM.
“It’s the matrix of the streaming, the online streaming the fact that if we are to include the foreign acts of which obviously, the majority comes within the Caribbean, and how do they get a chance to participate,” said Wharton-Lake who also believes it would introduce different dynamic concerning judging and audience participation.
“Is it going to be votes by viewership, is it going to be by likes?” he asked, adding, “running a competition virtually, I mean obviously we will need talk to the specialists on it. I am sure there are people that do it or have better knowledge than I do as to how it can be done but getting them involved and on the flip side of that how can we get the sponsorship to do the event.”
When contacted on the matter, Baptiste said in a statement, “I would love to return in the capacity of Creative Director, as my belief is that this is a year in which Soca Monarch can establish a solid identity and stand for something meaningful to our industry, but ultimately the decision lies with the owners of the brand, coupled with support from the relevant sectors.”
The first weekend of 2021 has already seen several virtual events with both the Rotary Club St Augustine West (Artiste for Artiste) and the Fatima Old Boys Association (Strive On) staging events over the weekend, which saw numerous artistes take to the streams with virtual fete sets.