ONE of the first Carnival shows to be held at the newly refurbished Skinner Park, San Fernando, will be the grand final of the 2023 Chutney Soca Monarch competition, which is back with a live, in-person show.
The 2023 finals are carded for February 4, and show promoter Southex CEO George Singh is promising a spectacular event, the likes of which chutney/soca fans have not seen before in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I understand Skinner Park will be available and I am really looking forward to the return to the big stage. I am very excited about Chutney Soca,” Singh said in an interview with the Newsday.
Udecott, which has been undertaking refurbishment work at Skinner Park, announced on November 21 that the park is almost ready to host cultural and sporting events and will be officially handed over in January.
The 2022 version of the show, which was held virtually, saw GI Beharry winning the title for the third consecutive time, while Ramraji Prabhoo was crowned the Queen of Chutney Soca.
More than 50,000 also viewed the show, the largest Indo-Caribbean event in the western hemisphere, online.
In another metric from the YouTube analytics, Singh said that show also reached more than 155,000 accounts – the highest viewership of the show over a 12-hour period.
Next years, he said, "The production will be over the top. I mean, our production is always over the top, but this show will be one of the biggest we have ever panned. It will be magnificent.
“You know how Carnival 2023 is being promoted as the mother of all carnivals? Well, this will be the mother of all Chutney Soca shows.”
Singh said the planned event will honour legends and icons of chutney soca, but preferred to keep their names close to his chest for the moment.
He said the show will have an international flavour, with guest artistes from Suriname and Guyana.
“Our host will be coming from Canada and we have contestants from as far as Holland participating. We also have artistes registered from the USA.”
To accommodate all the guest artistes, including local songbird Rasika Dindial, Rakesh Ramkaran, Neval Chatelal, among others, contestants will be kept to a maximum of ten.
“Because we are doing' legends and icons,' there is a complete segment dedicated to that aspect of the show.
"So it’s not only a competition. It is a full show, and we want people to come out and enjoy chutney soca like they did before the pandemic.”
The semifinal is scheduled for January 14 at a venue still to be decided.