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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Island People Registration Day 2

So, I went back to Island People's mas camp today to register a friend in her section of choice; being an overseas masquerader she did not want to wait for online registration as well as she wanted me to try her bra on for correct sizing as we wear the same size.

I must say when I arrived I was pleased to meet no crowd as yesterday, though there were lots of people waiting to pay as well as inside the mas camp looking at costumes and registering.

Island People uses the sizing of S,M,L,XL etc. however if you are lucky enough to be able to get to the mas camp they have a very nice area set up for bra fittings. The girls there also assit you in measuring for your correct belt size as well, and once correctly fitted they give you a slip of paper with all your measurements per the S,M,L sizing guide which you take with you to the next stage of registration.

After being fitted, you join a line to get your masquerader card:

There were several attendants entering your personal information as well as costume choice and sizes into a computerized system; I can understand now that with the loss of power yesterday how this would have halted the system. This part went very smoothly, once all the data was entered you are given a printed out copy which you must sign to ensure that all the information is correct.

Once that part was over payments were made to the front of the mas camp and this is where the wait was. There were two lines, one for cash and the other for cards, but since people were in most cases registering more than one person and they had to receive a receipt as well as sign for each one it held things up a bit. It was also hot as this portion of the camp is open air, but we were offered refreshments while waiting.

Overall the wait was not that bad, and I guess because it was the lunching hour many people were there due to the fact that they could get time off. I am sure during the non-peak hours things would move faster and I advise anyone thinking of going, to try registering at any time after 1PM and closer to when the mas camp closes.

I hope everyone was able to register with as much ease!

Harts Male Prices and SOLD OUT Sections

Harts has already sold out two sections; Egypt and Melek Taus are SOLD OUT.

Here is an updated price list with the male costumes:

click for large view

Spice Online Registration Now Available

Spice's website has been down since Saturday to facilitate an upgrade which will allow masqueraders to purchase costumes online. Well, you can now choose your costume and pay with paypal or senvia.

The process works like this:
Select the costume, choose sizes from the drop down menu and then add to cart. Proceed to check out where you have to log in with a registered user name and password. Subsequently you are taken to a change to enter your billing information.

You can select paypal for payment option or "other" for Senvia. On this page you can also add comments concerning your order; seeing as the bra sizes only go up to 40DD on the drop down menu and the only options for bottom piece are bikini bottom or thong (xs to M) I am guessing you can use the comment box to add requirements such as bra size, tankini/corset,boy shorts etc.

After that you are taken to paypal to complete the process, though it does not state for sure if the total costume amount will be required or just the down payment as it shows the order total as the full costume payment, however the check out page states that a minimum down payment of 1000.00TT is required to reserve your costume.

The system seems like a good one, I like that you can use paypal since that feature does not incur any additional fees. However, there are a few glitches:

*Sections that are marked SOLD OUT are still open for registration online using this method.

*Frontline costumes only go up to a size 36B

*Different sections are not showing all bra size or bottom piece sizes for selection.

*There is no clarity as to how much money will be deducted from your credit card; paypal is showing the full costume amount while the website states a down payment of $1000.00

*No whole piece, corset or tankini options are showing in the drop down menu.

* Having an "other" box in the drop down menu for bra size is an idea to look into, as masqueraders can type in their size if is not shown; for instance, there is no sizing for 32DD and a masquerader trying to select a bra size does not know that there is a comment box on the check out page where additional information can be added.

*Male costumes only feature the waist size and that goes up to 40inches, again there should be more size options.

*There is no option to select a non vegetarian or vegetarian meal.

Question and Answer with the Band Leader

I am curious to find out about the arrangements that bands make for rest-stops on Carnival Monday and Tuesday.

Many bands have traditional rest stops that they use year after year. I am only familiar with two bands, Harts and TRIBE so I can only comment on these.

In the case of HARTS (non-inclusive), the band traditionally stops at the square in Newtown. There are usually vendors at that location and public toilets, but as far as I know, these are public areas and not affiliated in any way with the band. All food and drink from the band comes from the respective carts – nothing is set-up in the square. I'm guessing therefore that Harts does not pay a fee to stop at that location.
In the case of TRIBE (all-inclusive), the band usually sets up food and drink tents and bathrooms at Jackson Square. I would imagine in this case that the band has some sort of contractual relationship with the Port-of-Spain City Corporation for the use of the square in this manner.

With more and more new bands every year and limited spaces for this purpose, how do the bands pick where to stop for lunch? Is this decided at a meeting with the bandleaders or the NCC?

Do the other all-inclusive bands have a similar arrangement as TRIBE where they have tents set-up in a particular location? I would imagine that the POSCC and other private grounds acquire a lot of revenue for such use.

Additionally, what arrangements are made for the clean-up of these areas? In the case of Harts and other bands of its type, I would imagine that the band does not bear any responsibility for the clean-up of the square, but in the case of TRIBE and other all-inclusive bands I would imagine that clean-up would be included in the contract and the responsibility may fall on either party.

The squares are all rented, and you have to apply to the P.O.S. City Council. The people who intend to vend at these locations have to meet the requirements financially and otherwise of POSCC. As far as rest places, as bandleaders we have never needed to meet to discuss rest locations because we all know where each other's venues are. And I guess common sense and good manners have always prevailed. Clean up of P.O.S. has always been handled by the POSCC who contracts out to clean up crews. At least this is my understanding, bandleaders have no affiliation with POSCC.

I am writing to ask about bras.

How do bandleaders go about purchasing bras that lie go above the standard A-DD cup range range?

Do bands just try to find the cheapest "big bra" they can get their hands on?

Or do they take into consideration that a masquerader who is that well endowed may need different kind of bra?

Because of the weight of large breast, a wider back strap that does not ride up is essential. Wider, more supportive shoulder straps that do not twist and dig into the shoulders, and preferably that are adjustable to give "lift" for those who may need a little more.

Depending on the on the woman, under wires can sometimes be a no no, as the weight of the breasts pushes the wire down into the ribcage which can be murder, and leave bruising and painful fabric burns along the rib cage area.

Lastly, do you think bands should offer the option of a masquerader sending their own bra to be decorated?

This could be a win win situation, as the band does not have the hassle of looking for a "big bra" or a complaining uncomfortable customer, and the masquerader can provide their own bra ensuring custom fit, and therefore maximum support and comfort on the road.

For the large breasted women, a well fitting bra can be the difference between a joyful carnival experience or a painful nightmare on the road.

Larger cup sizes are always hard, No we don't go for the cheapest bra on the market, but I will admit it is hard to get an exact fit unless you have the advantage of trying on a sample ( as you do in stores) to assure a precise fit. For some strange reason different bra companies have different fits for the same size so it's hard to standardize.

The only way to really know is to go into the mas camp early and ask to try any samples they may have, and walk with your bra and a previous bra you received from them, and point out the difficulties you've had. Yes to me it makes good sense for larger cups if you are allowed to bring your own bra and have it covered. Except that a lot of bands, if you look at prototypes may have only bugle beads and applique with most of the bra exposed. this would mean having to get a bra to match the same color as the prototype, which will be hard. So covering a bra is a good option but would be more expensive. I still prefer having samples available for all sizes and have masqueraders come in and fit.

We all Know that bands can't afford to pay the throngs of people that do menial tasks...I Would Like to ask How does one get involved in Mas making, ie How to Volunteer time to a band?

Most bands contract out sections to independent producers so it's not like the old days where everything was done in house.So your best bet would be to find out via the mas camp whether they would facilitate you with the contact info of any of there producers. Other than that, and there are still some bands that do it the old fashion way and and make costumes in can try one of these.

How do you handle requests from overseas celebrities or Trinidadians with status regarding them wanting to play in your band? Do you receive requests way in advance of carnival or do you just accommodate them as you get them? I ask this because it then becomes an issue of extra security and other masqueraders playing in the same section, and whether it takes away from their carnival experience on the road. Thanks!

We would get request way in advance and these celebs normally have therir own security, which they would either buy costumes for or we would supply jerseys for them.

As an up and coming designer how does an individual get involved in designing a section for a band? what are the bandleaders looking for in a designer for a bandleader to give someone a chance to bring out a section in there band?

Also why would a bandleader let a designer design a section in there band after this same designer has a section in another band and both costumes look extremely similar when would the bandleader put there foot down because as a bandleader you wouldn't want another band looking similar to yours what's your take.

This was asked before, No bandleader likes when this happens but it is up to the individual to drop the design and never use that designer again. But on the other hand if a band leader wants a designer to be exclusive then he must be willing to pay for it.

Are you satisfied with the direction that some bands are following with regards to male costumes?. I honestly think that more time should be out into designing some of them(most of them)

This has also been asked, and the reason that male costumes are most times lacking, is because the majority of males want as little complication as possible. This may not be so in your case, but I know for a fact that the overwhelming majority feel this way.Or at least in my band. In the past I have tried to beef up the male costumes and all I get is complaints, especially about the price. they want cheap and simple.So I do a few fancy males that only sell when everything else is sold out. I wish men would be more open to disguising.

What is the difference between designing for a band and having a section in a band?

This is a good question. There is a big difference. Logistically, it is maybe 20 times harder as most sections pay a band fee to the band they belong. And all arrangements like music and security are made by the larger band. Also manufacture and delivery requires a lot more attention obviously, as the quantity you produce goes up. The amount of money required to invest also goes up. When you bring a section your break even number, that is the least number of people required to register so you break even financially, is a lot lower.

Of course the more expense, (as is the case with a bigger band ) means you better be sure that you hit that break even, or you will not have the money to produce your costumes, and failure to do so would also mean that you would not only lose the money you have already spent, but must return all deposits collected to that point. It's high risk business.As a rule a section has a lot less overheads. They can be produced in your back yard with few employs and a little help from friends.And for most part you avoid paying VAT.

Thanks again for questions, till next week be good.
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