by Cathy Buffonge
The Hot Spot provided a good venue for the Festival Day Show and the finale of the New Year’s Day Parade. There were several costume troupes and these included Kaleidascope, in bright orange, green and pink outfits complete with glitters and colourful feathers, designed and made by Jewelline Roberts Riley of Bijou Productions. They won the prizes for most colourful troupe and for Queen of the Band, who wore a multi-feathered head dress with sparkling silver added to her bright costume.
Two schools mounted troupes. St Augustine School presented Celebrating a Legacy, with half the children in green and white, waving beautifully made red and gold heliconias, while the other half wore red and gold, featuring ‘hot hot hot’ flames. These costumes were designed and made by school principal Ann Marie Dewar, along with Chadd Cumberbatch and other volunteers. They won the prize for best children’s troupe and also for Prince and Princess of the Band. Their Princess of the Band costume was outstanding, featuring a map of Montserrat surrounded by six heliconias.
Lookout Primary School, led by head teacher Edith Duberry, presented a celebration of Arrow, with the children looking bright and colourful in their yellow costumes featuring large red arrows, designed and made by Irene Lee of Creative Stitch. Another colourful troupe was the Kandy Shop with a riot of colours and designs, created by Soca Groovy winner Sharlene Lindsey, while Santa and Santa Girls in red and white looked bright and cheerful, with costumes by Petrice Perkins.
The Rotaract Club (the junior arm of Rotary) presented a troupe for the first time, entitled Invasion, with the young men in bright red and gold, and the girls in sparkling turquoise trimmed with red and gold — lots of glitter and very brief costumes, bringing to mind Trinidad carnival. They won the prize for best adult troupe, as well as King of the Band and most creative costume.
These were the most notable troupes. In addition the Villa and Point Iron Band from Antigua, in their Montserrat ‘Ash’ T-shirts, were active in the Show and the Parade, creating an informal atmosphere that fitted in very well. There was also the traditional String Band led by Martin Rodney on the mouth organ, and of course the Emerald Shamiole Masquerades performed well. Miss Goosey was on stage, and a cute little ‘Monnarella’ mimed a Cinderella story in Rags to Riches, gaining the prize for best individual costume.
The troupes and individuals returned for the Parade on New Year’s Day, from Government Headquarters ending up at the Hot Spot. Heading the Parade were newly crowned Calypso Monarch, Herman ‘Cupid’ Francis (Director of Culture), Festival Queen Robekah Lindsey and runners up, winner of the Sunrise Productions Teen Pageant Lois Manzueta, and Princess Show winner Jennifer Farrell.
Since the demise of Festival Village earlier this year (to make way for groundwork for the new town), folks had been wondering how the Festival would turn out. However for the evening shows the Cultural Centre worked out well (a welcome move in some cases when there was heavy rain). And for those of us who thought the Hot Spot might be too small for Festival Day, it was just the right size for both these events, with a reasonably sized stage and plenty of room for all who wanted to be there, although if there had been seats it might have been a bit tighter. Weather mercifully held up on both days.
I say ‘Well done’ to the organizers of these two events. There’s a need though, always to make sure the music is suitable for children to play mas, since if we encourage them to ‘wine their bumper’ now, we may be complaining about child abuse and teenage pregnancy later on.