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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Blu Carnival Packages...

We would like to share with the public Basement Knokers Entertainment, Damage Control, Mas 4 All Seasons costume options, as well as costume/event packages.

Basement Knokers Entertainment in collaboration with Gersham Entertainment offer you BluCarnival.

Events are as follows;
Basement Knokers in collaboration with TRIBE, Ignite June 26th 2008

Gresham Entertainment, Taboo June 27th 2008

Parade, Mas 4 All Seasons-Blu Carnival Pretty and Paint (body art)

Knockboyz, Supernova June 28th 2008

Gresham Entertainment, Indigo June 29th 2008

For more Mas for All Season Costume photos,
click on the logo below:


Weekend Package - Gold
• One (1) costume (any option),
• One (1) ticket to Ignite, DC Carnival Thursday (Tribe and Basement Knok’ers Entertainment),
• One (1) ticket to Taboo, DC Carnival Friday all-inclusive (Gresham Entertainment),
• One (1) ticket to Gresham Entertainment’s Breakfast Party, DC Carnival Sunday (Gresham Entertainment),
• Free drinks for the entire length of the parade,
• Lunch at the end of the parade.

Weekend Package - Silver
• One (1) costume (any option),
• One (1) ticket to Ignite, DC Carnival Thursday (Tribe and Basement Knok’ers Entertainment),
• One (1) ticket to Taboo, DC Carnival Friday all-inclusive (Gresham Entertainment),
• Free drinks for the entire length of the parade,
• Lunch at the end of the parade.

Costume Package
• One (1) costume (any option),
• Free drinks for the entire length of the parade,
• Lunch at the end of the parade.

A $50 non-refundable deposit is required for registration.

Group discounts on costumes for six (6) or more masqueraders registering at the same time under the same name are available. Costume viewing is also available daily. Please contact Denis 240-413-7553 or Shari 240-731-6853 or email us @ for further information or to make an appointment.

Question and Answer with the Band Leader...

It's Wednesday and that means answer time for the questions submitted on Monday! Now, first thing is that you guys had 15 questions for our Band Leader and the good news is that it was possible able to answer about half of them. The remaining questions will be answered in due course and will be posted as soon as I get a response. We are in the middle of the crunch time before band launching starts and Band Leader is busy working on prototypes so you can imagine that band leader is a bit busy,however have no fear the rest of your questions will be answered!

In spite of being very busy Band Leader did a good job in tackling your questions I must say and I would like to say thanks! Hopefully there will always be questions and Band Leader will always have time to keep this little project going.

Now unto the Q &A! Here are the unedited answers, straight from "the horses mouth":

My question is this, modern mas bands have several designers, is there a process of selection or rejection of designs that designers put forward towards a given presentation, based on the theme, or are there rough guidelines that the contributing designers are given and have to follow?

Well here we go.
1/ There are always guidelines that must be followed, such as the sections chosen to be done by different designers must all represent the overall theme. Names , concepts and color are discussed before hand with the individual designers, to prevent repetition. (ie: two designers doing similar designs or the same portrayal.) Usually there is a central committee that decides what designs are kept, which need revising and which will be rejected. That is the tricky part, designers tend to be very sensitive about their creations and a good committee needs to be firm and diplomatic in handling this process.Bruised egos can bring bitterness to this process.You definitely don't want that to happen.

What is the average % mark up on costumes.....i.e. the costume cost YOU the band leader x and your charge US-the masquerader is say I don't know....3x???? Thanks for your response.

2/ good question, and one that I am often asked. The honest truth is it varies greatly depending on the what the costume cost to produce versus what the market will pay. With most bands, the producers know what their masqueraders on average would be willing to pay. Of course the fancier the costume the more the costume will cost to produce, therefore more expensive to you the masquerader. But usually you will make less profit on more expensive or elaborate costumes. This is because they cost so much to make that if you were to use your standard mark up, you may price yourself out of the market with only a few being able to afford it. More often than not, cheaper costumes make better profit, with more mark up, and because of the affordability, more will be sold. Mark up ranges from 50 -100 %

My question is, what percentage of costumes are made in China? And do the bandleaders make trips to China during the course of the production period to ensure that the costumes are up to standard?

3/ Well right now I think the percentage would probably be in the 15 to 20% range.With the very real possibility of it rising sharply in the years to come. In many ways we are still testing the waters with Chinese imports, and for the very same reason you mentioned. No one I know buys these costumes straight from China or India, but rather through a third party or an agent out of New York or Miami. So you don't get to see the finished product till it arrives.Which can be a bit worry some.Certainly I would not place my trust in an agent that I have not used before or had a history with. Even if I have a history, it would not be smart to have all my costumes imported because failure to deliver would mean a financial and public relations disaster.

My question: why do bands sell "leftover" costumes to other islands for their carnival? This is a very disturbing trend and I as a masquerader am annoyed that I payed so much money to play in Trinidad only to find my costume being sold at a cheaper price and is not very creative on the part of the other bands that are buying these leftovers either!

4/ Please do not be angry. You see bands can sell these costumes cheaper because in this instance there is no band fee attached to price of the costume. A costume purchased in Trinidad carries with it a band fee; that is the cost of music, trucks, bar, security.year round rental or mortgage and running cost for the mascamp as well as Vat charges.The combined cost of these charges are passed on to the masquerader , in addition there is the cost of material and labour to manufacture the costume, before any mark up is added. In export there is only material and labour , as none of the above is being supplied by the producers. Also when you export there is no vat. charge. I hope this explains it.

I would like to know, as a virgin masquerader (2009 ftw!) why I keep hearing about bras etc just falling apart on the road. i'm worried, i don't understand why i'm expected to shell out $400-$600 US dollars for something that might fall off my body before the end of day two.

5/Lets see... how can I explain this.Costumes as much as we aspire to make them as well as we possibly can, are fragile by nature. Beads burst and components that are for the most part glued on, can only take so much roughing up. When you "wine" on each other this friction as well as contact with sweat and entanglement with beads or braid from another costume will cause damage. But of course sometimes unfortunately you may get a lemon, so it is important to check your costume for problems when you collect. The answer is if you treat your costume well, more than likely it will stay intact. But then again, how much fun is there in that?

If you are not one of the known designers for carnival
in Trinidad, is there a way to submit some sketches of
ideas that you may have for costumes to a band?

6/ You know , I wish we were more open to young designers, there is so much talent out there. But that being said it is not easy to get your work recognized, it's the same as being the proverbial struggling artist. I always welcome looking at the work of new designers, so it never hurts to literally pick up your work and go knock on some mascamp doors. Actually the timing might be good around this time of year, because it's when most bands are preparing their designs and prototypes. Which brings me to another important tip. Most bands with the exception of maybe Mc farlane, don't use sketches anymore. Instead we use photos of prototypes as well as having the actual prototypes on display at the mascamp. So sketches are fine but it would be better to prepare your own prototypes so you can display your ability to produce, as well as remove any ambiguity as to the interpretation of your sketches.

The problem of heavy congestion along the parade route
has plagued our celebrations for many years. What are
your views regarding the best way(s) to reduce or
eliminate this problem?

7/ Now we get to the meat of the carnival distress. There is no way that we will be able to eliminate the waiting that comes with crossing stage. But here is my proposed route and changes that need to be made to at least make it easier on the masquerader.First off NO DOWNTOWN! Unfortunately carnival has outgrown the narrow streets with tall buildings on either side that make waiting in the hot sun along the length of Downtown Streets unbearable.The tall builds rob you of cool breeze and the narrow streets rob you of space.Also God forbid, there is a riot for some reason, your chance of escape is hindered tremendously by the crowd congestion due to the limited space.

I propose two Venues only, both of equal importance and both with proper stages built in the fashion of the old Savanna stage (masqueraders love it) Queens Park Savannah and the National Stadium will be the two venues. Bands head to the Savannah along either Tragarete Road or St. Clair Ave. and proceed clockwise around the Savannah and enter the Savannah at either Belmont or Memorial Park entrance (traffic from Lady Chancellor goes over Terricita Drive into St Anns, and St Anns into Belmont Circular Road via the short merge road near the Belmont Police station.) Waiting to cross stage around the Savannah will be much easier with wider streets and lots of fresh air without congestion. Bands exit the Savannah at the top of Victoria Ave. and proceed to the Stadium via Ariapita Ave. There is much more detail to this plan than I can explain here but hopefully you get the idea.

Why does it seem as though certain POPULAR mas bands
help widen the racial divide in society?

8/ I am not sure quite what you mean by this, but whatever race may for whatever reason gravitate to certain bands, it certainly does not mean that there is any discrimination taking place. Today I hear talk of Blacks, Indians, High Brown and Whites, and which bands they prefer to play with. Truth is you play mas where you are comfortable. A band leader cannot turn away clients by saying "sorry we have filled our quota of Indians. We are only taking Blacks, High Browns and Whites now." I mean, we the bandleaders are in the business of selling costumes and if my band has more blacks than any other race, so be it. Once we have not turned away anyone based on their race, then we are not racist. If you know of anyone that is doing this, please tell Saucy and hopefully she'll tell me. And the best way to handle discrimination is make it public, and point an accusing finger at the racist. But first, we must be sure of the facts.
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