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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mas Camp Tour ....

One activity that should be on everyone’s list when they arrive in Trinidad for Carnival is to visit all the mas camps located within the three blocks between Rosalino and Gallus Streets Woodbrook. The mas camps are so close to each other that the trip can be facilitated easily by walking from one location to the next. Yesterday I undertook the task of visiting as many as these mas camps as possible during the time I had and before they closed.

First stop was TRIBE’s mas camp on Rosalino Street where I was greeted by a SOLD OUT sign on the door. Costumes are up for viewing, so I took the opportunity to inspect my costume some more trying to get ideas for the design of the boots I am customizing myself. It was very quiet at TRIBE, which is to be expected since no more costumes are on sale, and we were informed that there is still some activity with persons stopping by to put their name down on an ever increasing waiting list! I am sure I spied costumes in some stage of production stockpiled at the mas camp and they looked as if it might be pieces of Almathea.

Around the corner from TRIBE was Evolution’s mas camp where the atmosphere was remarkably different, truth be told of all the mas camps I visited this was the one with the most activity. On arrival there were several potential masqueraders being sized for the costume of their choice and before I left after a few minutes another male masquerader came to register. Speaking of the males, the male costumes are indeed on display at the mas camp and if asked to recollect what they looked liked I honestly will have to say your basic board short, with the usual waist/chest pieces and something on your head. Hence the reason I took several photos:


On hand at Evolution’s camp was band leader Curtis Eustace, who was quite pleasant and forthcoming with information on the sections. Only one frontline costume is sold out, African Gold, and Curtis did state that the frontline for Tantalize in Teal is also close to being sold out; that one is priced at $4000.00. I have to say that on my second viewing of the costumes, and compared to others that I saw, Evolution’s product is poised very competitively. I do like the frontline for Tantalize in Teal; in fact the backline is lovely as well. I think the problem with getting the full effect with some of the costumes is being displayed on black mannequins, so I was pleased to see the frontlines make more of an impact.

After Evolution it was a hop, skip and jump (more like a short drive) to Gallus street where both Pulse 8 and Trini Revellers are located. Pulse 8 was first, and the mas camp still looks nicely laid out as last year but there were no potential masqueraders on hand. Seeing the costumes on closer inspection I have to say that I do like Berber Tribe though it is all wooden beads so no sparkle and shine and I also like Gypsy Caravan which is the only section that is all but sold out, with only a few sizes remaining in the female regular costume option.


Next stop was Trini Revellers which is further up the street, where the mas camp is housed in, well what appears to be the downstairs of a home. Anyway, I have to say that only a few costumes impressed me at Trini Revellers, and that in photos on the website the costumes look much better than on the mannequins. My gut instinct was that the costumes looked a bit miserly when it came to the beads and material used, but then compared to the prices I guess one has to cut costs somewhere, as the majority of costumes were the most economically priced of all the mas camps. In addition there were several discounts and specials advertised if registering before December 1st, so if you are thinking of playing with Trini Revellers, call the mas camp for more details.


Mas camp hopping is quite a nice way to compare the various styles of each bands reflected in the location, atmosphere and costumes by my impressions. One cannot help but get a laid back vibe from Trini Revellers for instance or a sense of commotion at Evolution or even the impression that TRIBE is getting down to the business of production now that the band is sold out. One mas camp that I did not get a chance to visit yesterday was Brian Mc Farlane who is also on Rosalino Street (North) and should be added to your list if you plan on adding a Woodbrook mas camp tour to your itinerary.
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