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Friday, August 29, 2014

18 year Toronto Carnival (Caribana) photo journalist's account of the parade

 The following was sent to me from a blog reader & community photo journalist.

  Len C. photographs

The four photos showing the fence broken over, and hundreds continue to
cross into the mas bands. I saw revellers just calling it quits and left their
mas band and not continue down Lakeshore. A number of mas bands making thru to the
end would not have its full compliment of paid members and with stormers like a city street.
 When you look at the numbers storming the fence many were hoisted up and like a stampede coming thru that broken down fence and when I saw stormers being pushed forward by other stormers -  its a recipe for some to possibly get trampled.  Who is liable should that happen?
As a media journalist covering Toronto Carnival (Caribana) for the past 18 years and contributor to a number of media our Grand Carnival parade from the staging area and crossing the VIP and judging area goes fairly well and when it proceeds along Lakeshore over the years thousands climb over the fence or breaking the fence down with crowbars, bolt cutters and storming the mas bands to the point wheres stormers outnumber masqueraders jamming them up to the point where the mas bands have difficulty moving and proper spectators the enjoyment of seeing a Carnival parade at its best.

Revellers pay up to $300 for their reveller costume and when stormers overrun their space and
many are intoxicated bringing their own alcohol creates a dangerous situation for the mas bands.
Over the years, many that play mas have dropped out for safety concerns and feel whats the point of being in costume and get over runned by stormers.  Also for the many who volunteer their time to make mas and take their holiday time to do what they like best is to see a wonderful Grand Carnival parade without Hinderance and they wonder why do this anymore.  The first few bands usually manage to make it thru and by mid afternoon the following mas bands have to contend with stormers and it breaks the flow of the parade.  All mas bands have the right to travel the 3.5 kilometer route without intrusion as each and every performer pays for that right.

Once the last mas band to go down Lakeshore by all means let the crowd enjoy a street parade
following the last band. As a media journalist, just watching those breaking the fence and storming the parade is an indication more must be done to stop this.  I saw this at 3 locations and other photographers have encountered the same along the route. Who is to blame? Should a number of injuries or even a stampede take place where the fence is broken down and perhaps some could be trampled.

I spoke to several American tourists with tween  age children and they watched the fence breaking and could not believe what they were seeing and video what they saw and decided to leave fearing safety for their children and said with so many street people mixed in with the mas bands and they were in the $5 no seating area in CNE grounds along the fence on Lakeshore. Seeing what they
saw said they will no longer attend Carnival in future and enjoy other Toronto sights.

The photos of the fence busters says it all. Security and police would be overwhelmed by the shear
numbers storming the parade and especially when the fence is broken at various locations. The fence busters were in the $5 no seating and one can see groups shaking at the fence to find the weakest link in the fence and all it takes is a few with crowbars to hack away.

We know the mas bands continue along with many long time revellers to work with all concerned
to come up with a solution that true carnival spectators can enjoy a full parade with all mas
bands and mas bands and revellers be able to show mas as a mas band and not a jumble of revellers and stormers.

Also many have told me they enjoy the King & Queen Show and will not attend the parade to see the
costumes the way its suppose to be.

There will always be stormers, but the goal is to keep it as low as possible

Readers, continue to send in your photos, videos and/or comments about your experience. 


Suzanne Joblonski said...

Looks like lots of fun!!

Kara Bana said...

Fun scaling a fence, getting cut? Having masqueraders cuss at you to get the hell out? - sure, lots of fun! @ @

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