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ST. THOMAS — The St. Thomas Carnival Committee (VI Carnival Committee) on Monday unveiled its Carnival Village lineup — 11 days before the festivities start.
See lineup here.
The reveal comes after much frustration in the community, with individuals contending that the lineup should have been released long ago so as to give enough time for individuals — especially those who live abroad, who may be prompted by certain artists to attend — to make travel plans.
And there was some controversy surrounding the booking and later cancellation of a plan to have R. City, the territory’s top recording group, perform at this year’s Village.
Ray Daniels, who works with R. City, posted on his Facebook page three days ago that the head of the carnival committee has on multiple occasions disrespected the R. City.
“It’s crazy how the head of the St. Thomas Carnival Committee has never had respect for R. City. He’s always been disrespectful to our team. I heard they’re spreading a rumor that we are charging too much when we know that they’re paying other artist from different islands more than double what we ask for. If you don’t see your own people as being just as valuable as others how do you expect everyone else to see your people as having value,” Mr. Daniels said. ” “We were set to perform there and at the last minute they cancelled. It wasn’t us. Timothy and Theron Thomas always stress to me how important STT is to them and how they always want to be at carnival.”
The head of the St. Thomas Carnival Committee is Halvor Hart. Mr. Hart revealed to The Consortium in March that there would be an entrance fee for the first time in Carnival Village history. He said the fee will be $5 per night, with children 13 years and younger coming in free of charge. There will also be two nights of free admission, Mr. Hart said.
Tickets will be purchasable online, which can be printed on any printer and redeemed at any of the Village’s multiple entrances with barcode scanners, according to Mr. Hart. Tickets will also be downloadable on mobile phones, and will be redeemable at the entrances as well.
Reason for admission fee
Pointing to past events where violence disrupted festivities, Mr. Hart told The Consortium on that the committee was determined to prevent such situations from reoccurring, stating that extra security of about 15 to 20 persons was the best way to do so. But with security comes a price, and the committee was forced to identify a funding source because it did not budget for the cost of the added safety measures.
“As you know, St. Thomas usually has incidents that happen, so the idea is to try to close off Village, fence up the Village, and search people as they’re coming in to try to minimize the gun violence and the weapons coming in,” Mr. Hart said. He pointed to last year’s Village closing, which ended abruptly during a performance by Soca artist Destra, after a shooting incident left three men injured and one dead.
Fully securing the Village, Mr. Hart admitted, will be a difficult task, “but we have to start somewhere, and we have to be able to cover the security cost because that was not a cost that we had budgeted.”
Mr. Hart acknowledged the V.I.P.D.’s presence at carnival events, but he said the force is usually strained during the festive season. “We’ll definitely need 15 to 20 guys around the Village,” he said, which would compliment the V.I.P.D.’s own security efforts.
“We’re just trying to make the place more secure for who coming to enjoy themselves, that they don’t have to worry about outside forces. [The Village is] wide open now and a lot of things happen,” Mr. Hart said. He said Village attendees have not felt safe near the restroom area because it appears to serve as a breeding ground for unlawful behavior. “The guys congregate and smoke back there, but security will be able to chase them and keep the area clean,” he said.
Mr. Hart said the security would stretch all the way to Emancipation Garden, noting that when violent activity occurs, perpetrators usually try to escape through the children’s area — which includes a variety of rides and other fun activities — and through the historic landmark, in their efforts to elude law enforcement.
He said when security measures are in place that require security checks before people could come through the children’s area and other access points, criminal activity will be deterred because of limited options to escape.
St. Thomas Carnival activities started on April 1 with a Calypso tent, and ends on April 29 with the Adults Parade, fireworks at 9:00 p.m., and Last Lap at the Fort Christian parking lot from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. See full schedule here.
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