Chairman of the National Carnival Commission Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters, left, Darian Marcelle and a Pierrot Grenade share a pod at the Carnival City, Taste of Carnival press conference at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain, yesterday.

Party in a pod, anyone?

That’s the format the National Carnival Commission will be using for its upcoming ‘Taste of Carnival’ event.

There will be two pod sizes; one that will accommodate six people and another that can hold up to nine patrons.

“It will not be like six people come through the gate and we put you in a pod. You come with your crew of six and you all are in that pod,” according to NCC commissioner, Darian Marcelle.

Four ideas were pitched to the government and eventually refined to the pod format.

“This whole idea of the pod is not unique to us. It is the template that people around the world are using”, NCC chairman Winston ‘Gypsy’ Peters said while speaking at a news conference yesterday.

The media was given a tour of the Queen’s Park Savannah where the structures are being erected.

It is one of three venues the NCC will be using to host events.

The others are Queen’s Hall and Naparima Bowl.

“The only reason why this is being kept here is because it is a designated safe zone and is designated for vaccinated persons only. All our events are for vaccinated persons only and all the venues that they’re going to be held at, are designated safe zones,” Peters explained.

He warned that there will be many security and compliance and police officers on-site for each event.

“Do not spend your money to come in here to be arrested because you have a false certificate or something and we have means of checking,” Peters warned.

He affirmed that the NCC has the utmost faith in patrons being responsible and adhering to the public health protocols to ensure safe and successful shows.

“Yes, we will wine because that is our thing and nothing is wrong with that, so, we will wine and jump but we know we have to do it in a certain way and we will,” according to Peters.

The first event will be held virtually on February 4, 2021.

“It’s going to start on the 4th with the first Calypso show being a virtual show and after that, the Calypso tents are going to be open in full on the 11th,” Peters announced.

As for the in-person shows, Marcelle said vendors will be available at all three sites, however, patrons will only be allowed to eat and drink in their pods. You can also bring your own food and drinks.

The budget for the events will be between $25 and $30 million.

Many of the shows will be paid events.

Asked whether the shows will be live-streamed, Peters said, “Most of our events are going to be streamed but, I don’t know if they will be streamed live now or recorded to be streamed at a next time. But you will appreciate the fact that they’re all paid events, they’re not free events at all. One or two might be.”

He also confirmed that several private promoters had approached the NCC to host events but could not confirm how advanced the discussions have reached.

“We have to go through all the Ministry of Health, National Security so, we have to do all that in order to do what we are doing here and if they want to do private events on their own then I guess they will have to do the same thing. If they want to have it in our space then they will have to come to us, because this designated a safe space, they will have to operate under the same condition that exists for us,” Peters explained.

“They could have their event but of course, we will have to manage the facility,” Marcelle added.

Marcelle said the NCC had been working very hard all of last year to plan for Carnival 2022 as such, once permission was granted by the government, he said, “it wasn’t that difficult to come up with this option that we have”.

He noted that Mas, Pan, Calypso and other interest groups have played an integral role in the creation of their show style.

Meanwhile, speaking on CNC3’s ‘The Morning Brew’ programme yesterday, Pan Trinbago president, Beverly Ramsey-Moore said they had not yet confirmed any ‘Taste of Carnival’ events for Tobago due to the low rate of vaccination among pan players on the island.

“We are having some serious challenges here in Tobago with the unvaxxed and by Wednesday we will be able to say whether we are having the show in Tobago,” Ramsey-Moore lamented.

For those of you who look forward to the days off on Carnival Monday and Tuesday, the NCC chairman reminded that those days are not official public holidays.