The Business of Carnival

Spread the love
Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

AHH, yes, it’s that time of year again when steelpan fills the air, Soca rules the airwaves, our local culture shines, self-expression and free up-ness reigns, it’s Carnival!

Oh! Wait! Here comes the sour puss patrol with their usual complaints regarding how other people choose to dress, the loud music, that immoral behaviour (cause you and yuh three children, each for a different mother, are a beacon of morality… right, Clyde?). Now, lest we forget the biggest complaint/grumble of this year… how much money the government making, Carnival doh make the government no setta money, iz a waste!

As one of my dearest friend’s son loves to say, “Lord Fadda!” Who cares if the government makes money from Carnival! What I care about are our citizens who financially benefit from the season. The big and little guys who get cash in their pockets!

So let us examine why Carnival is an economic windfall for businesses of all sizes, their employees and how it helps bolster the entrepreneurial spirit of our people.

According to an article published in the Business Guardian this week, despite there being a drop in Carnival participation from last year… because honestly after the Mother of All Carnivals, people needed a rest year, hotels and guest houses in the Port of Spain area have reported around a 95% occupancy rate, with expectations that all remaining rooms will be sold by Carnival Monday.

A full hotel means more staff will be called out, more shifts may become available and for jobs that allow gratuity, more tips for employees.

It also benefits contractors that service these establishments. Companies that provide cleaning products, laundry products, repair men, etc.

Regarding hotels, restaurants, caterers and food vendors, increased business means an increase in the purchasing of food stuff. As such, distributors get more business, which may require additional staff or overtime payments for extra shifts. It means companies will spend more to ensure their delivery vehicles are always on the road, which often involves the employment of contract mechanics or calling on extra mechanical staff.

When it comes fresh food stuff, it’s locally sourced and these purveyors of food be it a large hotel or roadside burger business, purchase the items needed from the central markets or directly from farmers.

So, voila! Carnival benefits agriculture!

Fetes in themselves are an entire financial ecosystem that provides an increased revenue stream for numerous individuals. From scaffolding rentals, lighting, sound systems, DJs, performers, bartenders, security staff, toilet rentals, venue rentals, food vendors (and it is often the smaller guys you see at fetes the shark and bakes, the doubles man, etc.), alcohol and beverage distributors, decorators, event coordinators and all auxiliary staff, see income from the fetes.

Printing companies and e-ticket companies also make huge revenues. As do advertising agencies, especially with online and radio advertising. This is income that helps cushion them for slow times. Allowing their businesses to stay open and provide jobs.

This now brings me to our seamstresses and tailors. While some bands outsource their costumes, there are still many that employee local artisans of the needle and thread. For bands that outsource, what we don’t realise is that all the finishing touches are done here.

For independent seamstresses and tailors Carnival is booming! Fete wear, Monday wear, costume and clothing alterations, these people are busy. Some even close themselves to new work as early as January as they receive jobs months in advance.

Make up artists, hairdressers, nail technicians… all booked up, all earning, thanks to the greatest show on

Now let’s look at entrepreneurialism, at this time we may see people taking advantage of the need for services. You have individuals who use their personal vehicles to shuttle people to and from fetes, earning them some side money. So we’ll have people who live in central areas and will rent out their homes or a spare room for the week.

Then may have someone like 16-year-old Jonny, who decides to buy a cooler, some ice, a case of cokes and water. Jonny, who instead of getting into trouble with his partners, finds a spot where the bands are passing and sells his drinks at a decent profit.

Or Peggy, who has a regular nine to five job, but is looking for a little extra cash. She wakes up early, makes some aloo pies and sada roti, packs them in a cooler and goes to sell them. Or she might make beautiful hand-beaded jewellery or tasty pepper sauce and sells them to visitors looking something local to take home

These tiny little sparks of micro entrepreneurialism are what we often overlook and frankly is something that should be encouraged. Who knows, maybe with the right support and encouragement, Jonny could one day run a full drinks cart at Carnival and later open his own parlor. But this leads to a discussion on our educational system and financial institutions, and I don’t have the wordage left.

The income received during the Carnival season is vital for many businesses, especially for small businesses and independent contractors. The revenue earned, if managed correctly, helps provide a buffer for the slower times of the year. Meaning they can keep their businesses open and keep paying themselves and their staff year-long.

Therefore, in conclusion, all the miserable jaggabats that want to politicize everything and want to know what money the Government is making, keep your mouths shut. Carnival puts money where it matters most, in the pockets of our citizens, because we all know if it went to the Government, the benefits we would never see.

AZP News is an independent news organisation that is not affiliated with any big business and depends solely on advertising to pay our bills. Therefore, we are asking for the generosity of our readers to help us with small donations of any amount, but we will be happy with US$1, US$5 or US$10. Click Here to Donate


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *