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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Pre-registration woes

Dear Saucy,

I was at the Carnival Nationz band launching on Saturday. I enjoyed the display of costumes and fell in love with one section in particular. However, even as the costume was being paraded on stage, I was informed by a little birdie that the section was already sold out. Rumour has it that this particular section leader only made 25 spaces for the section that had already been "reserved" for friends. I've also heard from another source that she was harassed by another 10 people and now the section is at 35 people only, again all her friends and some work colleagues. Why do section leaders do that? What is even the point of showcasing a costume that you are only reserving for you and your people? I thought maybe you would know the politics behind it if there is an actual point to it, because it's not fair to the rest of the masqueraders.

Thank you,
The issue of pre-registration is not a new one nor is it only something that happens with bands at Caribana. Rumours abounded before the start of TRIBE’s registration last year that the band was sold out, causing panic and hysteria evident on the Facebook group “birds of a feather”. And while I can understand the frustration of a masquerader wanting to be in a particular section and hearing unconfirmed reports that the section has been pre-sold out, I also think as a section leader they have every right to pre-register persons in their section, the problem lies, however, when the bandleader does not measure some control to ensure that ALL the spaces are not pre-reserved!

Being a section leader is not something that is done independently, usually there is a support network of family and friends that provide advice, assistance and even help in building the costume. So, I believe that the section leader should be given the choice to ensure that the persons who have been providing assistance, in whatever form, be accommodated in their section if they choose to do so. Then there are the masqueraders who have formed a relationship with a section leader by staunchly supporting that person, loyally playing in their section year after year. I know that others will not find it fair, but my personal belief has always been to reward this loyalty and if that means pre registration for the section faithful then I have absolutely no problem with this either.

I have always said if I fall in love with a particular costume, and there is ONE costume left when registration opens I will be first in line to make sure I get that spot. To me the problem is not with pre registration, something that happens in every single band, but the fact that the entire section is “reserved” so that there is not even one costume to allow hope. As a band leader there should be a limit given to section leaders on how many spaces they can reserve; even if they leave just five of 35 spaces open to the public at least there is a chance for five people, unrelated to the section leader, to get the opportunity to play in a costume that they love.

Hopefully the band leader for Carnival Nationz will ensure that there are spaces open in each section come registration since the notion that the section in question is sold out is based on a rumour. And my advice to the letter writer is if you really want to be in THAT section to make sure you are the first person in line come registration day to claim your costume! Alternately, there are other bands and other sections; the power is yours in choosing to support the idea of pre registration if you think the practice is unfair or choosing a band that it is easier to get in to!

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