- Soca 2019! -

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. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Toronto African Film and Music Festival



Statement issued a few minutes ago by festival spokesman Paris Rogers
As an organization, we make a special appeal to our supporters and those within the GTA community to help us see this Vision become a reality. As of yesterday, the City

Council has been trying to take measures to impede our festival by refusing to endorse this event as they assume the event will be similar to previous allegedly offending event that took place on the same grounds (1677 Wilson Ave, Toronto Plaza Hotel grounds) over a month ago. The Toronto African Film & Music Festival has no affiliations or connections with any other events in the City and therefore is being discriminated against solely because of it’s assumed demographic.

TAFMF is a multicultural festival that encourages and fosters diversity of all cultures and ethnicities. Further, City Council is using the obscure excuse of improper zoning to punish our event partner, the Toronto Plaza Hotel, and effectively legislate them out of the entertainment event business, regardless of the nature of any future event, indefinitely. This is wrong. This is unfair. This is anti-business and contrary to the City’s goal to become a larger hub for the music industry. Lastly, it is unbecoming of a city that prides itself as a ‘summer festival city’.

Previously issued Press Release:

Toronto, Ontario – August 26th, 2014 – Returning for its fourth year, the Toronto African Film and Music Festival (TAFMF) comes alive showcasing films, musical artists, food and fashion from over 50 countries from August 27th to 31st.
This year’s festival will screen 3 world premier films & feature 15 musical acts, 3 fashion shows, and 30 marketplace vendors celebrating the rich & diverse cultural mosaic that is Africa. This Year’s festival starts on August 27 with the opening of our Film Festival at the Royal Cinema, 608 College St, just west of Bathurst in Toronto Tickets are $15 in advance $20 at the door. There will be a combination of World Premiers and North America Premiers to enjoy.
From Aug 29th to Aug 31st, we are pleased to announce our three day music festival, allowing families to experience the very best in local & international African talents as well as emerging artists. This year promises to be our biggest yet, with entertainment for the whole family. Prices are $15 Adult, $12 Student/Senior, and $5 for children 12 and under.
We are excited to announce a new addition to our music festival, TAFMF will be hosting a Family Day on Friday, August 29th, sponsored by CVR Entertainment Empire, with bouncy castles, music and a carnival atmosphere for the whole family from 12 noon until 9 pm!'

For Interviews contact Paris Roger, Executive Director att 647-852-4072 Call Paris Roger, Executive Director at 647-852-4072 494 Mortimer Ave, Suite 102, East York, M4J 2G7

Monday, August 25, 2014

Spectators enjoy the mas

After all the work that goes into designing, creating, assembling and then showcasing big mas (Queens, Kings, Female and Male Individuals), THIS is what happens to them on the road. Carnival spectators properly on the other side of the fence can't see the mas in it's full glory, sparkling and dancing in the sun. No, they see this massive crush of people who've pushed, shoved and fought their way into our parade. 
The first picture was taken by a paying spectator at the King & Queen show, the only chance it seems one can really see big mas unencumbered. Because as it's been, your view of it on the Lakeshore looks like the second picture.

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Mas men

Time for another post about something that went right at our parade!
Have others noticed this year the amount of marvelous male masqueraders? 
Now I don't have stats, but I think there was an increase!
 With all the images out there of boys storming & disrespecting our mas, I've got to applaud and show appreciation to the men who play mas - and play it very well!

Send me your pictures of marvelous male masqueraders so I can include them.


To all you men, why do you play mas? Especially since we all know you could just storm, so why buy a costume? Tell us please... we don't hear enough from you.

 To all the men who played mas this year: Thank you for doing your part to keep the culture alive! 

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Caribana 2010 slideshow

Mardi Gras, Hamilton

Mardi Gras, Hamilton

Blog Archive

J'ouvert 2008!

J'ouvert 2008!

Mardi Gras 2010

Buublenut, Megan & Karabana at Caribana 2007!

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