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Saturday, February 09, 2008

Letter from IP Mas

Apparently Island People Mas culminated early on Carnival Tuesday heading to the Stadium for their after party. Everyone I know who played with Island People did not really make this change in events an issue, however Island People has sent out this email addressing and explaining what happened:

Dear IP Mas-querader,

We would like to express our overwhelming gratitude to you for bringing Island People Mas' Animal Instincts to life for Carnival 2008. Thank you so much for choosing to play mas with us.

As you may know, our official pre-planned Carnival route changed on Tuesday afternoon and we want to inform you of the details. As the band neared Ariapita Avenue, our road managers determined that there were four other large bands at a standstill directly ahead of us. If we had proceeded along this route, we would have been on the Avenue for several hours and found ourselves downtown in the late evening. This would have exposed the band to the infiltration of numerous non-masqueraders, similar to what the other bands experienced later that day. In an effort to maintain our tight "Safe Zone" provided by IP Mas security, our road managers decided to turn right on Ariapita Avenue in an effort to continue down an alternate route. Unfortunately the police did not approve of this and halted our movement after we had veered off the official route. After lengthy discussion, we were forced to head directly towards the stadium.

We humbly apologize if this ended your day earlier than expected. This decision was made in an effort to make your All-Inclusive Carnival experience as safe and enjoyable as possible. Thank you for the patience you demonstrated and we hope that you enjoyed our After Party in the Stadium.

As we continually strive to provide you with a superior carnival experience, we look forward to giving you a heavenly carnival in 2009.

Sincerely,

Island People Mas

Who say TRIBE 2009!!

There has to be a reason that I will not ever think of switching from TRIBE and that is the SERVCE and the fact that they stand by their product; if you are not satisfied they address your complaint and see how best you can be accommodated. This year my issue was collecting my back pack, and even though I eventually got it on Tuesday morning (they would have delivered it to my house on Monday night but I CHOSE to pick it up on the road) TRIBE offered me a refund which I collected yesterday. And if you think I got a refund because of this blog, think again! I was not the only front liner in TRIBE to receive this unexpected compensation. In addition, my friend who is in another section got a refund on Sunday night because she too was told her back pack would be ready on Tuesday.

There was no need to resort to abusing the staff or cursing, I was politely offered compensation for my troubles without even having to ask! Now that is how you address issues when they come up, my hubby was totally impressed and made the statement that now he sees why TRIBE has such loyal customers. Last year I wrote a litany on Feedback to Bandleaders and I was quite surprised to see that many of my suggestions were heeded. I was totally in love with my costume this year, LOVED it and many, many others in the band. On that point TRIBE came good and I am looking forward to even more fabulous costumes in 2009.

Also, they did start registration earlier last year, without a long wait from band launch to actual registration date. In addition we got two weeks for costume pick up and two days for overseas masqueraders though for some reason everyone still shows up on Carnival Saturday which is the day when all the chaos ensues. Even Harts where I was in an out in five minutes on Monday was a mob on Carnival Saturday; seriously, it would do masqueraders well to organise pick up on their designated day if they can. This will help alleviate the problems on the day designated for overseas masqueraders as all those who were lax in picking up their costume usually turn up at the last possible minute to collect.

Harts collection on Monday January 28th


Harts collection on Saturday February 1st


My experience for costume collection went quite smoothly, I had no traffic problems or long waiting period as those who collected on Saturday complained of. Even with two days for overseas masqueraders the situation of traffic gridlock and a long wait could not be avoided I was told. Maybe it is time TRIBE look for a different venue for costume distribution since Cascadia with the one way in/out seems to be a nightmare during peak traffic hours. Also, costume distribution should start earlier than 5:30pm. Though this time is great for those getting off work it means everyone shows up at the same time, causing lengthy waiting periods.

The other issue persons had was with their actual costume being “amended” at the designer’s liberty. I know damage control went into place immediately and many masqueraders who were not satisfied got their costumes adjusted. In future I think it would be best to set up some sort of quality control for “outside/private” sections to ensure that they are indeed producing the costume that was advertised.

Some people arrived for lunch late and as a result have listed this as a complaint against TRIBE. Now, being in the FIRST section has its perks, because as soon as we crossed the Savannah stage my friend and I went to lunch. Being a very large band the sections in the back arrived much later. However, upon arrival at the lunch stop we met many masqueraders who simply did not cross the Savannah stage and went straight to lunch. I am not saying this is a possibility for everyone, but seeing as there is no “stage” to cross at the Savannah, to me, there is nothing to miss by going straight to lunch.

Another remedy to this situation would be to have some snacks severed during the day, instead of only after lunch, but when the trucks turn off at Memorial Park masqueraders will still have to wait until crossing the Savannah to get any refreshments. I certainly do not want to be handed a box of food on the road and have to sit on a pavement to eat so I am all in favour of the lunch stop! TRIBE just has to figure out a way on getting the band there within a reasonable time. But as I said before, if masqueraders were starving they should have skipped the Savannah and gone straight to lunch, beats complaining afterwards that you got to eat too late!


Finally I have heard people berating the band for being “disorganized” when crossing the judges, what a pity people forget how beautiful the band looked crossing IN SECTIONS downtown!! That was where we had enough space to truly show the costumes without having to fight the trucks to do so. Crossing the Savannah was a totally different experience, along with being forced to one side of the roadway, there were many people just standing lining the route. At one point you had no idea where the stage ended (though I think on Monday I saw a sign saying “stage ends here”). For me this argument against the band is quite petty, it does not irk the masqueraders any more or less though it does give the critics something to harp on. Whatever!

At the end of the day no one is forcing anyone to play with one particular band over the other, and every single band has problems. I have realized though that when you are perceived as being “on top” it makes an easier target and your dirty laundry is bandied about for all and sundry to see. I was quite amused that other issues with other bands were kept very quiet, and I too will not rehash the stories I heard or emails I got complaining about OTHER bands since at the end of the day everyone had a great time on the road. To those who did not have a great time with TRIBE for 2009 there are MANY bands to choose from, good luck in finding one that suits you!! And for all those who had an EXCELLENT time with TRIBE, best believe for US it is the BEST BAND EVER!! See you guys in 2009!


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