I had a discussion with some of the rest of team lehwego on whatsapp yesterday. It’s about the future of carnival in the Caribbean and what I think will happen sooner rather than later.
My opinion was recieved very differently by my team mates. Some agreed and some disagreed….strongly!
Well having my own blog gives me a pedestal from which to shout my opinion which we can all use as a starting point for thoughtful discussion. So here I go.
I am of the opinion that carnival in Trinidad is QUICKLY approaching a plateau in terms of size. It’s a plateau that is caused by the physical limitations of the city of port of Spain in terms of rooms. This year, 365 days in advance, several of the hotels I have tried to book are already booked out.
This plateau will be a cause for concern for big bands like tribe and big parties such as beach house who are interested in a couple things
1.maintaining quality service
2.maintaining consistent growth (very dependent on point number 1)
The two particular entities are obviously still in demand…they sell out annually. The thing is if they just sit there and rest on their laurels their product will follow the natural history of all businesses. Rise, plateau and fall. Just look at poison as an example.
What are their options…keep growing bigger with bigger venues and more patrons? Eventually quality MUST fall using this template and immediately they start their decent. On top of that, there is a physical limit to how many people can attend TT carnival (rooms) and will come to your event.
What is the solution?
Well we have already seen AMBUSH and beach house start the process. The solution is to branch out. Just like KFC branched out from the USA, soon the only viable avenue for growth for some of the larger carnival entities will be to claim new markets.
They will start with islands or places with larger established carnivals, like Barbados. And from there maybe move on to others who knows.
This strategy will allow increased income while keeping the size of the parties needed for that income small so quality service can continue to be delivered.
We may see Tribe at Caribana,
Or beach house on one of Jamaica’s beautiful white sand beaches?
The challenge then will simply to know and learn the idiosyncrasies of each population.
For example. In Jamaica Frenchmen new years for 110usd provided fully stocked premium bars that look like this.
And a party that looked like this.XXXXX
If beach house comes here and charges 160 usd, Jamaicans will expect more/ better. If it is not delivered they will NOT return. (yes, we chess high)
The countries being invaded are caught in a catch 22. The better and bigger you make your carnival product in preparation for this onslaught, the more attractive your market becomes to the “invaders”.
From the point of view of the average reveller, all is well and this will only lead to an increase in the quality of parties and road marches (yes i know, mas) everywhere as competition drives the market.
So I await the backlash of criticism for my heresy as well as comments more in my favor. I think I have foreseen the future though.
What do you think?