Carnival 2012 will have specific competitions bands, calypsonians

The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) has given individual calypsonians as well as the bands their own events to compete in for Carnival 2012 and anticipates "exciting" results and enjoyment for the public.


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The SCDF has introduced the Road Jam competition (a renaming of the road march competition) specifically for the bands along with the Band of the Year competition. For the individual calypsonians there will be the Calypso Eliminations, Calypso Finals and the Soca Monarch competition. The latter will be soca "up-tempo" not soca "groovy".

The Road Jam and Band of the Year titles has prize monies of US $2,500 each while the Calypso king/queen will maintain his or her US $10,000 prize and the Soca Monarch will take home US $5,000. Additionally, calypsonians get US $200 each for submitting their music sheets on time and US $750 for the 10 singers who make the Calypso finals.

The SCDF has 25 calypsonians registered to compete in the calypso competition and 15 in the Soca Monarch competition. Five bands are registered for the Band of the Year title and Road Jam title. "When taking all prize money collectively, the SCDF and its corporate sponsors are committing almost US $30,000 to calypso alone. If you compare that throughout the Caribbean, that’s second only to Trinidad," President of the SCDF Stuart Johnson said.

"The board of the SCDF unanimously decided for these four competitions after taking the suggestions and ideas from many singers and band leaders over the years into consideration. We believe that the general public will be very excited about what we have planned for all of the events. For the Soca Monarch competition for example we are working on an added attraction for that night and for the Calypso Eliminations we have our honoring of Carnival legends ceremony which we believe the calypsonians themselves will be proud to be part of," Johnson explained.

He added that aspects for each of the four competitions will be promoted separately over the next few weeks leading up to Carnival. "We have already heard the calypso songs starting to hit the airwaves and we look forward to hearing those from the bands hopefully very soon. As usual, we hope to get the support of the general public for all of our local events," Johnson said.

Johnson said news about the troupes and the parades will be announced after the Heineken regatta.