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By Carlena Knight

Some of Carnival’s most popular shows could be staged virtually this year, the minister responsible for National Festivals, Culture and the Arts has said.

“We are having some discussions about not necessarily how we can move Carnival online but how there are certain components of Carnival that can be conveyed to the public in a different way,” Daryll Matthew said.

He also identified two of the popular musical competitions that are being considered for the virtual stage.

“I know there is at least one promoter who has approached us and who I believe are in advanced stages of planning to have a soca monarch competition online and a calypso competition online,” the minister said.

“We are having some preliminary discussions about perhaps a Panorama online and to think about how that can work. Perhaps a ‘five-a-side’ and each of the established bands present a ‘five-a-side’ ensemble and we set up somewhere and just display to the public the talent, the skill and just put some sort of judging in place. So, although you may not be the 2020 Panorama champions, you are still being heard and showcased.”

A date for when these events may occur has not yet been finalised.

Matthew, a former co-shareholder of Myst Carnival mas troupe, elaborated on the reason why his ministry is looking at this new forum.

“We just want to let the public have that sense of appreciation that, despite the challenging times we are going through, culture and carnival and the festivals still exist within the jurisdiction of Antigua and Barbuda, and we will find any opportunity we can to push it forward,” he said.

Regarding fetes, Matthew still does not see any change in the established protocols to allow these events, saying it poses too much of a risk locally to relax that guideline as “our borders are open”.

He also thanked promoters and artistes for their understanding and patience as, from an entertainment standpoint, they were the “hardest hit” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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