Sometimes, quality and quantity are not always the same.
David Lopez, the president of the National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) of Trinidad & Tobago (T & T) made the observation while in the city recently for the annual Toronto Carnival celebrations.
The NCBA produces 11 shows.
With its massive masquerade bands, spectacular costumes, pulsating music and unparalleled partying stamina, T & T’s mas’ is often referred to as “The Greatest Show on Earth”.
However, Lopez pointed out that big is not always better.
“What I am witnessing here in terms of the costumes is very exciting,” he said while attending the King & Queen of the Band showcase at Lamport Stadium. “I could see that much thought, planning and hard work went into the designing and building of the costumes. While it’s true that over 100 costumes cross the stage in the preliminaries of our King and Band competition, I see some very elaborate and exciting costumes here that are similar to what you will see on our show.”
This was Lopez’s first visit to Canada.
“I have been to carnivals around the world, including Nigeria and Toronto has always been on my radar,” he said. “Many Trinidadians and Tobagonians are involved in the carnival production here and I was looking forward to the opportunity of coming and observing how things are done and what the carnival scene is like in this city.”
Lopez has been associated with the T & T Carnival for 30 years.
Starting as a gate guard and track steward with the Carnival Development Committee and the National Carnival Commission in 1984, he worked in the bar and served as a member of the hospitality committee before joining the NCBA board in 1998.
Elected to the executive board in 2005, Lopez held the positions of operations manager and vice-president before being elevated to the presidency in October 2010 following the death of mas’ leader and political and union activist, Owen Hinds.
While in Toronto, Lopez held productive discussions with the Festival Management Committee, which was created by the City of Toronto eight years ago to run North America’s largest street festival.
“We in Trinidad & Tobago have exported carnival all over the world and I am very proud of that,” said Lopez, who co-ordinated the eighth Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA) in Suriname in 2003 and the ninth edition three years later in T & T.
“At the same time, I am not here to judge how the festival here should be organized or anything like that. The fact that this carnival has been going for almost 50 years and is still very popular says that you are doing some things right. Instead, we can work together to improve our product. I think we can learn some things from what is been done here and the organizers here can learn a few things from us. That’s what I am all about.”