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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Question and Answer With the Band Leader

How should bands go about raising money? I'm a bandleader in the states and it has been a challenge to receive corporate funding as carnival is not deemed as important or an effective marketing tool for corporations. We have parties and we've also also had fundraisers to raise money.

This will be a difficult question to answer. Really without corporate sponsorship and parties there is precious little that can be done to raise funds.

Hiring a couple of professional photographers to take pictures on the road and selling them after is one way .After carnival some bands print and sell magazines, ( which of course you could try and sell advertising in.) But you know it's pretty hard to think of much else right now.You see I am from a well established band over here and we've had the same sponsors with us for many years, as well as new sponsors that come and go every year. And throwing carnival fetes is second nature to us.

It's hard to say what will work for you in the United States, as I am not familiar with your market. We make costumes all the time for bands, nightclubs and casinos, but we make it here and ship it to the U.S. But as a person familiar with marketing what I can suggest is maybe getting advice, or hire a marketing company to assist you. Again depending on the cost this may not be an option. It goes without saying to extend the size of your band is always the way to go. To do that, I would try to reach the people in the U.S. (or anywhere come to think about it) who love to party the most. Young adults like college students, also there are lots of West Indians studying in the U.S.. Sell the whole idea maybe as a Mardi Gras party or Cancun spring break atmosphere,and offer special reduce rates for those with college ID, and put together a committee of their peers that can reach out to them in return for whatever (money, free costume ?). It is not going to be easy but building the membership of your band will eventually bring the advertisers and of course increased revenue from both costume sales and fetes. Hope this was some help.

Who chooses the road march? Is it left solely up to the dj's or do the band leaders have some sort of say?

Yes we can have a say, especially if we want a certain song that may relate to the theme we have produced, but in general we leave it to the individual dj or band to decide.

How do bandleaders or for that matter the designers, feel about masqueraders making drastic changes to their costumes??

In general we don't like it and we tolerate it within reason, but when it is over done it effects the overall presentation, and sticks out like a sore thumb. Even bandannas and rags that people love to wave if they are not matching the color of the costume can spoil the effect. So these things are not liked at all, but some band leaders are mare tolerant than others.I always keep in the back of my mind that my masqueraders have paid a lot of money for this costume so very rarely I do anything about it. Unless of course the changes are absolutely ridiculous.

How does one go about designing and promoting for various Mas Bands and/or sections? Is it a profitable venture?

Great designs, quality productions, dependability, and affordability apply here as in any business. Getting into the mas making fraternity is not easy. It often requires a recommendation from someone respected by the fraternity, and even then if we give work to a rookie, we do it very carefully giving only the simpler productions with limited amounts, this business is to competitive to take such risks. Once you've proven your self and this may take a couple years you will be surprised at the amount of work you can get. We are always looking for new people who are capable, but we are also careful on recruiting them.

Hope I answered your questions I look forward to hearing from you next week.
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