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The Business of Carnival

Carnival is business, and business is Carnival. Granted, this period of calypso, costumes and champions of steel (aka 'steelpan bands') will always be synonymous with revellery, fun times, and a time to figuratively (and perhaps literally), let down one's hair. Nevertheless, it can be reasonably arguably that Carnival is becoming more of an expose in marketing and entrepreneurship than what would have portended in previous times.

Gone are the days when those who produced the mas costumes, and their employees were the almost exclusive beneficiaries of the tangible rewards to be gained from this season. Today, there is a wider and more diverse spectrum of opportunities for employment and to be employed, ranging from fete/party promoters to security personnel, food vendors, et cetera.

It would appear that as Carnival becomes more streamlined in terms of its promotion, production and packaging, there is a corresponding, greater desire to enlist the services of those who are experts in their industry to elevate the standard. Perhaps, it is borne out of an evolving desire to 'look more professional'; or perhaps, it is equally borne out of a desire to bring this indigenous-cum-regional product up to the level of international standards of branding.

For example, to produce an array of eye-catching photos, or to strategically curate and share the same on social media, or even produce a video of masqueraders in all their glittered glory, calypsonians or soca artistes engaging in their element, or pan men and women playing their hearts out on highly-tuned steel drums, would likely require the professional competencies of a photographer, a graphic designer, or someone skilled in the art of theatre production...or the logistics of event management.

Then of course, behind each costume, is the background research required to accurately portray what is being showcased to the public- whether by way of history or interpretation. And indeed, who can forget the talent and technique of the wire benders, who merge ordinary materials like beads, feathers, fabric and glitter together in an aesthetically pleasing product? (Although nowadays these materials are imported en masse from places like China, etc.)

Likewise, as modern-day Carnival activities often tend to be highlighted long before the actual season 'starts' in earnest, and also expand their influence long after the season has ended, by way of 'band launches' for example, there are amble opportunities available for those who seek to work for money as employees/workers, and those who seek to generate money as businesspeople. Think about the persons who actively promote fetes and other social gatherings, those who offer their premises and facilities such as DJ trucks, lights, tables, et cetera for rent. And that is just the beginning!

There are also the food caterers- whether large, medium or small-scale. There are the suppliers of the raw materials that the food suppliers use. There are the suppliers of drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). There are the DJs, MCs, entertainers, custodians, security personnel. Then of course, there is the vast marketing involved- the production of fliers (virtual or hard copy) and tickets, the sale of those items, and, if that operation is a business, then accounting and legal compliance ought to be involved, requiring the commiserate skills of such qualified individuals.

Plus, for the individual party goers, more so the ladies who desire to always look their best, there are opportunities for make-up artistes, clothing and accessory designers and retailers, hairdressers, nail technicians and pedicurists. For the men, a trip to the barber and nearest clothes store is also not far-fetched. Then, for those individuals who would prefer not to drive themselves, they can patronize the services of for-hire drivers using their private vehicles, as well as drivers serving under the banner of operations such as the ubiquitous Uber and RideShare. In terms of partygoers who are coming from overseas, Carnival also means business for tour operators, bed and breakfast hosts, guest houses, motels and hotels.

Finally, you know that Carnival undoubtedly means business when the respective governments of the day are routinely engaged in consultations with industry stakeholders to further refine and enhance the quality of the product. Carnival today is no longer the exclusive remit of any one particular group. Today, it requires a synergy of talent, skills and experience from technical experts as well as the grassroot ones to truly produce 'The Greatest Show on Earth'.

Love it or hate it, Carnival means business. Make it yours.


LinkedIn Local Caribbean, Carnival, business, industry, opportunity

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