The National Carnival Bands Association (NCBA) Tobago Region president Terrance Sandiford is hailing the recently concluded Tobago Fest a “tremendous success.”
“All events were extremely well attended,” Sandiford told Tobago Today.
He said after an absence of more than a decade the annual two-day Carnival-type event returned “to excite thousands of patrons, mostly from Trinidad.”
Branded “The Rebirth of Tobago Fest,” the event began last Saturday with J’ouvert at Canoe Bay and ended on Sunday with a Cool Down event at Swallows, Crown Point.
Tobago Fest began in 1998 and continued until 2006. When Sandiford took up the mantle of NCBA Tobago Region boss in 2011 he vowed to return the festival to Tobago. It took him 12 years to make his dream come true.
For him, the support and turnout were overwhelming.
“We had so much support from patrons that we were extremely glad that ASP Powder and his team were on hand to keep the crowds in check,” he said.
He admitted too that many patrons wanted to travel to Tobago for the event but were constrained by the lack of space on the air and sea bridges.
“We had a large contingent from the south and it could have been bigger, but they could not come because there were no available seats for them to travel.”
He was particularly excited by the response from the persons viewing the event live via the internet.
“Persons as far as Sweden were expressing interest and saying they liked what they were seeing and they stayed viewing for long periods,” he said.
However, to stage the event was not easy.
“We faced all kinds of challenges ranging from the lack of sponsorship and the lengths some people went to ensure the event did not take place,” he admitted.
But the challenges have strengthened his resolve to make it a bigger and better festival next year.
“We know the festival will be held from September 26-29 and already we have a charter of 250 people from abroad,” he said.
He has continued support from NCBA Trinidad, existing and new sponsors.
“Some sponsors decided to look at what we were able to accomplish with relatively little funding and were impressed and have pledged their support for 2019.”