Carnival history was made 50 years ago when the T&T national festival was held on May 1-2, the only time outside the traditional pre-Lenten period. The 1972 Carnival was postponed and rescheduled for May, because of a polio outbreak. It was also the first carnival held under a State of Emergency, as well as being the only carnival to be significantly affected by inclement weather and floods.
On Carnival Saturday (April 29), everyone anticipated a sunny and spectacular Carnival Monday and Tuesday, but that all changed on the Sunday when the heavens opened up. The first victim of the unseasonal deluge was the Red Cross Kiddies Carnival at the Queen's Park Savannah which had to be abandoned, as rain fell incessantly. Torrential rain persisted through the Sunday night into J'Ouvert on Carnival Monday. Some revellers nonetheless braved the weather and played their mas. Prior to carnival day, the 1972 National Panorama Final was held, contested by seven steelbands: Tokyo, Harmonites, Desperadoes, Invaders, Trinidad All Stars, Starlift and Fonclaire. There was also history in the pan competition as Starlift became the first ever steelband to play an "own composition, "Pan on the Move," composed by arranger Ray Holman.
The 1972 National Panorama title was won by Harmonites, performing Earl Rodney's arrangement of Lord Kitchener's "St Thomas Girl."' Runners-up were Tokyo and Starlift, respectively. Tony Seville and Joan Suarez, both from Stephen Lee Heung's "Russian Fairy Tales," won the King and Queen of the Bands titles of 1972, respectively.
For the coveted Band of the Year title, Irving McWilliams' "Anansi Story" copped the top prize, the second consecutive win for the Frederick Street band in this competition.
The 1972 Calypso King Final was also a significant event as it was the first time since 1964 that both Mighty Sparrow and Lord Kitchener were in the final. The crown went to Mighty Sparrow, singing "Rope" and "Drunk and Disorderly," followed by Lord Kitchener and Singing Francine.
This week's torrential rain and flooding evoked memories of end-of-April showers and Mas in May in 1972.