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Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spice Review - 3

Hi Saucy as Rene already done a review I have not done mine in so much detail

My costume collection for Paprika was relatively smooth. I went to collect my costume on Saturday afternoon, now the only beef I have is if you say camp opens at 2pm then let it start at 2pm not before for "friends/family" only. I understand they may have preferential treatment, but lord don't make it so obviously and when asked why there are ppl already and paying point, you avoiding de question and telling me to sit down and wait.

Anyway 2pm come, the "queue" for payment wasn't very orderly in the sense that it had chairs line up against the wall, and if yuh wasn't careful to watch where u were in the queue people would end up being served before you get to the desk (maybe 20 mins wait) the lady could not serve me because I was an overseas masqueraders and I had no receipt, so she handed me over to another person, who was very helpful, she got my details up on the computer, and paid my balance and went to the collection point.

I was met by a very nice gentleman, who took my receipt got my costumes went thru the contents of my costume. He advised me to try on the bra, now i have been overly blessed in that department so I was worried that the bra would not fit.......... no complaints the cup was a perfect fit, the back was a lil big, but that's small ting. Collected headpiece, collected goodie bag, and I was out of the building, maybe an hour no more than an hour and a half, my friends who went much later on were in there for 3 hours!!!!! so I'm glad I went early.I didn't go on the road on Monday was limin with my god daughter, looked for Spice but couldn't find them.

Tuesday as Rene said meeting point was 6.30AM, well i was still getting my make up done and i reach about 7.30 only to find that the band didn't leave til around 9am. I know they were havin issues with "where" they could serve breakfast. they tried on 2 occasions, each time getting moved on... eventually for those who didn't get, they had to wait til the truck joined us on the road. The drinks truck was a lil high ... no sorry very high, even me at 5ft 11 had problems to reach comfortably.Wee wee truck was on point until it decided to leave de band (around Fredrick street) without a word of warning!!!

Shuttle bus was good, but only held about 25 ppl so a good few ppl were told no they cant get on. Stopping for lunch was ok..... needed a lot more tables and chairs, food was ok could have been a lot warmer.I don't recall lollies and aloo pie on de road, but that could be because I was slightly intoxicated!!!!!As it got darker security became more lax (as seems to be the norm with any band I play with), I left the band before it got back to camp, as I saw my ride home!!!!

Overall Spice performed well for their first attempt, just a few lil snags that they need to fix up for next year, my friends have already said that they are playing with them next year, which is a good sign from them because before hand IP could do no wrong.

I think for Spice, it was a year for them to be so fussy as to who tot tots too big for a section and how you not taking extra money for a more decorated bra because in the end they done it....... I am a 38F so yuh know big cups, I sent down a bra to a friend to pass on so that they knew the actual sizing and I paid an extra 200 dollars for it to be decorated.

Overall marks out of 10 hmmmmm 6.5 I think is good!

Harts Review - 2

This year I decided to "jump ship" and play an individual in Harts' presentation "Persian Empire".

Most of my friends playing this year were going to be in the band, therefore I will follow.
Now I was told beforehand that Harts takes care of the regular masqueraders before even thinking of the individuals/section leaders. I have to honestly say that the experience with Harts was far and beyond what I expected.

I arrived in Trinidad the Wednesday before and drove by the mas camp. There were so many people out there waiting to pick up costumes as well as asking if anything was still available. Upon entering the gates to the mas camp, a guy told me right away "no female costumes available, sold out", I was like "damn" and he doh even know what I come there for. The place was so crowded that I decided that I did not want to even entertain the thought of entering this super busy hub.
I stayed in contact with a representative of the band for a couple of days thereafter and soon was asked to come in for a fitting the Friday before.

I entered what seemed to be a converted garage alive with excitement and workers on various tables, as well as section leaders toiling away on their own costumes, males and females alike.

I met a group of 3-4 employees that were working on various parts of my costume. One was working on the headpiece, another the beading of the swimsuit, another one on the boots. As i arrived I was shown all of the various parts of the costume which seemed to be endless. I was also given a Monday costumes also fitted with arm pieces, leg pieces, a small headpiece as well as earrings and necklace to match. I FELL IN LOVE, THIS WAS THE BEST COSTUME THAT I HAVE EVER WORE!!

I was taken into a room to try on the swimsuits and anything that needed to be fixed was adjusted right there and then. I had lost weight, however they made the adjustments without batting an eye.

I was asked to leave my boots and they told me what they had planned to do with them. My headpiece was on a table with a million feathers still to be added and I swear the girl that was working on it looked like she needed a drink! Lol!!

Carnival Tuesday all the section leaders met at the mas camp for between 4:30am-5:30am. I thought that they were joking but everyone was very serious. Being the "new member" of the Harts crew I was welcomed with open arms and on the road if so much as a bead got hooked into my boots, Gerard Hart came out of no where to set it right.
This band gets 4 stars from me and most of all it was $$$$ well spent, they will definitely get my dinero again.


Kaotic Review - 2

Sent in by a reader:

This year was Kaotic's first ever presentation in carnival and the theme was 'Life Unleashed'. I have attended Trinidad carnival on several occasions but never played mas, so naturally I was very intrigued to see how it all goes down. My section was called 'Aqua Abyss' and the colours used were blue and green. I totally loved my costume as it was very bling and had so many jewels on it. As soon as I saw the costume on the website I knew that was the one for me and I had no complaints about the way my costume looked or fitted. It was very comforting to know that Kaotic were willing to give you a bigger or smaller bra, belt, bikini bottoms if you required it.

I thought that the band had really good vibes, everyone socializing well with each other. The music was really good and everyone was well entertained. Kaotic staff seemed very friendly and helpful, particularly for someone like me who came from England and had no mas experience in Trinidad. Whoever organized the band's schedule for the carnival Tuesday did a good job and I think they selected a good location for us to rest and have lunch. During lunchtime I had an opportunity to speak with other masqueraders and they all had positive things to say. For instance, they liked the fact that the prices of the costumes were reasonable considering the current economic difficulties. I people I spoke to said that they definitely got value for their money and would look to join the band again next year.

My criticisms:-

One: The lack of experienced security. Please provide more security in the band next year as they seemed a bit sparse.

Two:Tell the djs to be clearer when they are giving instructions to masqueraders about keeping away from the trucks when they turn corners. People were a bit confused prior to facing the judging point at the Savannah.

Finally I wish to state that Kaotic have made an encouraging start this year and that I believe that they will achieve great things in the future.

Island People Reviews - 2

Dear Saucy

I know that already there exist a review of IP Mas but I want to share my experience with you.

The collection was the worst that I have seen. Imagine IP put an Ad in the newspapers for collection of costume- My collection date was for Natural Mystic this was from Friday to Saturday.

I arrived at the stadium on Saturday at about 11.00 am only to witness a line snaking around the stadium (I was warned early by my sister who was trying to hold a space for me). I spent 45 minutes waiting to proceed to the cashier to complete transaction! I had to make noise and complain about the wait. One of the Lewis brothers approached me and I told him about my grievances. I told him that they should hand out water and make the wait a bit more comfortable.

The transaction to pay and to proceed to the collection area took another 20-30 mins. It was totally disgusting. I had another friend stand in line for me and I then proceeded to the front of the line to collect three costumes only to be told, that a bra was missing and that there were no head pieces and the attitude from the CSR was " WE DON'T KNOW WHEN WE GETTING THE MISSING PIECES".

By that time sauce I felt the hair on my head grow back because a rage took me! I got annoyed and started to make real noise! Picture this I on one end acting like real GHETTO and another masquerader making noise about her frontline costumes! ALL STOOD STILL! I was so angry that I started to pound on the counter demanding that I get all parts of my costume.

The security came to me and told me that I should stop pounding the counter! We got into a heated argument where I told her, "that if it was she, she would have behaved worst than I". My girls had to hold me back because we would have gotten into a real bad fight.

My friend was very upset because they were missing her bra and she had tears in her eyes! She demanded a refund and got it! On the other hand the refund was not an option because "I WANT TO PLAY AH MAS"! I was taken aside and told that they would deliver my costume!

I told the CSR that I aint sitting at home like no "A*S. Mine u! It had a whole set of people who were waiting around for pieces for that section and was just plain hoping! I was not settling for that! They took my number and by the time we had driven out of the stadium, I got two calls one to tell me that I was missing a security band and another to say to come quickly because they got a few headpieces and had kept two specially for me!. That was around 4.00 pm

The costume looked like the prototype Sauce! It was gorgeous! I ended up with two bands though and gave it to someone who was deserving!

I ended up there Sunday in the chaos again because my sister hated her Ray of Light costume. We got it exchanged after waiting for another three (3) hours.

It seems that u have to misbehave to get service.

The food was nasty! The fish was cold and tasteless and the peas in the pelau tasted as though they did not cook it properly! I ended up with a mighty headache and bad sunburn. My girl friend had to climb to the top of the truck to get us food! (See attached pic). Imagine shelling out that type of money and having to run behind a truck for food.

The band left on time and we got wet by the time we reached Green Corner. The vibes was great though! I could not understand that for a band with 13 sections why the food truck was almost last! That ain't make no sense.

The vibes was good up until we reached by the Twin Towers and the heavens opened! I got shelter from a cute guy running a stall so that saved the headpiece. I ended up using my foot band as a headpiece! (see pic)

We ended up chipping across the downtown stage with no music because the trucks had driven off. WTF! It was utter madness and the nerve of the IP Manager trying to get people into sections! "You all did no have any order in the first place, so how all yuh expect to get order after the rain fall and it ain have no music"

The food was worst on Tuesday! I had to stop the police and show him the rubbish that they gave me! I told the police "If I was to get on real bad, all yuh see why"! The food was cold, the fish looked rotten and unappetizing.

The DJ kept playing Island People like Antz and I am sure the other masqueraders wanted to hear other sounds!.

By the time the band reached the Savannah it was chaos! Utter Chaos!. People were storming left right and center! By that time I just wanted to use the bathroom and rest.

The rest of the afternoon the band ended up splitting and stormers galore was flocking left, right and center! I saw one girl in a thong costume being harassed and pulled at by a stormer! Lord have mercy IP you really disappoint.

I think that IP should introduce a system like Tribe to keep the numbers in check.

They need to readdress the catering and security features of the band

Get a proper rest area for lunch and relaxation on both days LIKE THE OTHER BANDS.

Play the Road March contenders and not one song over and over!

Get a bigger area and a more efficient system for payments and collection of costumes.

Start the collection process two weeks before Carnival so that what happened this year would never happen again.

Fire and Hire new production companies that did not produce costumes on time.

I am seriously thinking about switching to another band! They failed big time! The service was the best when they were Galvanize Entertainment in the band Poison.



Hi Saucy,

I know you had a lot of reviews about IP for 2009, I just wanted to give
my 2 cents as well as offer some recommendations.

Dear Island People Mas,

After reading Saucy's review and others on Trinidad Carnival Diary I feel inclined to give you feedback on my 2009 Carnival experience with you. This was my first year playing with Island People and I was a bit apprehensive after reading all the negative comments and reviews that people made about your customer service of years gone by. I must say that they were correct. Being an overseas masquerader we don't have the luxury of walking into the mas camp and speaking to someone face to face or even viewing the costumes up close and personal. I purchased my costume from another masquerader.

I called IP to make the final payment on the costume and at the same time provided them with my email address so that they can email my receipt to me. It took about 5days before I got the confirmation email and that was only after calling IP numerous
times and explaining to them that my credit card info jumping up all over the place. However, I did encounter a pleasant lady who was kind enough to apologize and who sent me my confirmation email. IP needs to send their employees to some customer service school or they need to reinforce that the workers are dealing with customers, people who paying their salary. As much as I am living overseas and try to be diplomatic I would not hesitate to throw some expletives in the mix.

Collection and Costume
IP also needs to have designated days for overseas masqueraders. I decided to pick up my costume, Caramel, Carnival Friday as I only got into the country late Carnival Thursday. Jean Pierre Complex was a mad house. I couldn't understand if I paid for my costume before the fast track date why I had to stand in a line for over 2 hrs to collect my costume. I must say thank you for the water and the bmobile lollies which you passed out when we were waiting. It was a nice atmosphere as masqueraders decided to make a lime out of it and make new friends but it was still unacceptable.

The Chocolate costume was much closer to the prototype but that really didn't bother me. I loved my costume nonetheless. One thing though, I don't know how you people decide on how to measure the belt but my belt was way too big for me. Check yuh size chart again. Kudos to the accessories that you provided with the costumes, they were really nice and a nice touch at uniformity.

On the road
The band was big. A nice manageable big. Loved that. Security worked from the Stadium until we crossed the Savannah. After that was every man for themselves. I wasn't feeling this too much. Didn't have any guntas but anything could have happened. Although I did feel safe when they broke up a fight at Green Corner I didn't like the idea that they gave us the ghost after we crossed the stage. I paid my money for this service and I expect to get it for the whole day. The drinks flowed like water but the water didn't flow like water. Many times I went to the bar for water and had to come back 30 mins later because they didn't have any water. Fix that!!! Now onto the wee wee trucks.

Firstly, I cannot understand why that truck was so far in the back, truck number 17. If I wanted to use that truck I had to start walking to the back before I even felt to wee wee. IP yuh need to find some other place to put that truck or get two trucks, one in the middle and one in the back. Secondly, the truck itself has much left to be desired. I don't think that it is so hard to provide at least a mirror and get the sponsors to provide some smell sweet in the toilet. Also, please hire people to clean those things during the day. After awhile it was very nasty.

Oh when will I rest to eat!!! IP didn't take a lunch break. On Monday after crossing the Savannah after 4:30pm and missing out on lunch IP stood around St. Mary's grounds for over an hour. No announcement was made as to whether this was a lunch break or anything. Next yr IP please break for lunch. I didn't eat lunch on Monday because I had a late breakfast and only needed snacks to carry me through the day. But on Tuesday it wasn't nice to walk and eat. Finally, the after party, what is that? Maybe IP was trying something new this year and people correct me if I'm wrong but I'm sure IP use to have an after jump up to the jump up. Well this didn't happen this year and I know many people were looking forward to this. IP fix that.

To reiterate my earlier points:
* Improve customer service
* Have designated days for overseas masqueraders to collect
* Better size chart
* Security works for the entire day
* More water
* Cleaner and better line up of the wee wee truck/trucks.
* Lunch Stop, get one!!!

All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my IP Carnival experience. My friends and I have agreed that we will be playing with them again next yr. Hopefully you get your act together and listen to your masqueraders.
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