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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Question and Answer With The Band Leader

China put on a cultural show of force in the opining of the Beijing Olympic, showing such creative genius and historical pride, that the western world, especially London are baffled as to how they can top that or equal it. While the likes of Berkley, and even more so Minshall have used our culture to put us prestigiously (sic) on the world map in respect of Mas, do you think this current generation of designers/ bandleaders, can proudly and effectively represent the T&T cultural art form of mas, to international standards, like their predecessors have, if they were called upon?

Oh Yes ! Certainly, without a doubt. While I respect Peter Minshall and especially Wayne Berkley ( a true genius) Carnival has progressed and advanced so much since their day. Little is known by the local public, about achievements abroad by local designers and band leaders ( I don't know of all my self,) but quite a few do work abroad for shows, fairs, casinos and nightclubs.In fact I know of one particular designer who is also a past Carnival King that has made a good living in the U.S. doing weddings and functions for private and corporate entities.

Is there an age restriction when registering for a band and if so how is it enforced? Who would the responsibility fall on if a minor got overly intoxicated while in the band and something bad happened as a result?

The Ultimate responsibility for parenting always falls on the the Parents. Now remember bandleaders sell a package and we do not encourage under age drinking, but we certainly want to encourage our youth to continue our carnival heritage. There is nothing wrong in selling a costume to a teen,but parents should make sure they are accompanied by someone they trust on the road even at the expense of buying a costume for that person. It is also hard to say who can or can not play from our perspective, as anyone can buy a costume for anyone, or sell their costume to anyone.Most we can do is to refuse to give alcohol to minors who approach the bar on Carnival Mon & Tues. In the event of complications on the road for anyone, be it a minor or not ,Medics are there to assist.

I know most bands in Trinidad have their own security. How/what is the band's interaction with the local police? Do they just hand out guidelines that are followed, or are the police more hands on? How are security generally instructed to handle masqueraders?

I can not speak for everyone but in my case, I always advocate simply asking the outsiders to go to the side of the road, and normally that's all it takes. Of course every so often you may have to back that up with force. But usually if the security handles it correctly by out numbering and the persistent offender they usually they don't put up much of a resistance, and can be escorted to the side of the road without incident. In the case of of more drastic measures of maybe some kind of illegal activity, I always hire of duty police, fire and regiment to assist on the road with any questionable situations that may occur with security, masquerader or outsider. But rest assured that carnival is a whole lots safer than it used to be.Thanks in no small part to security in the bands.

What can costume producers and mas bands in Trinidad do to conserve and have a healthy impact on the environment. Do they even take this into consideration?

To be honest, I would have to say no. I am not sure exactly in what way you mean , I assume we are talking about littering. We clean any private venues we use ( to lets say rest.) But as for on the road the clean up is left to the Port of Spain City Council;.

Thanks again for another week.Talk to you later
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