This article continues exploring the stakeholder masterplan for the Creative Sector—plans to grow it from a $1.9 billion annual earner to a $7 billion one in four short years. These interventions were submitted to Cabinet for inclusion in the 2013/14 Budget. Festivals earn about $1.3 billion annually. Carnival earns the lion’s share. Festivals can earn $3 billion annually. Here’s how.
In my last article I said it’s our Gift that we’re ‘the Festival Nation’. Somehow the ‘festival tribes’ of the races of the world ended up here—and created a nation where every month we re-initiate ourselves with sacred and secular festivals. Unlike other places in the world we’ve made these festivals public, national, and inclusive. The entire island feels ownership and belonging to the narrative of these festivals to some degree. Few other people open their ethnic festivals to outsiders. This coming together of festival tribes from Amerindian, Africa, Europe, and Asia created the mother Festival of Trinidad’s Carnival.
In many festivals with an East Indian component we’re past 100 years of celebration. In Carnival we’re moving into 180 years. Other festivals are into their 50th year… These ages are important because we’ve not built the institutions to document, analyse, and pass on our Festival Legacy. This failure to create institutions to support our civilisation—like proper Academies and Universities, proper Museums or Heritage Sites, or proper Historical Societies and Guilds—means we’ve left the responsibility of recording and transmitting tradition to practitioners themselves.
The age of our festivals is important because traditions collapse after the fourth generation if the central institution has fallen or been weakened. Twenty years is a generational cycle. This means most of our traditions are past their fourth generation… Read the rest of this entry