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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Island People 2011

Sneak peek of Island People's theme for 2011:

TRIBE Carnival 2010.. The Good, The Bad and the The Ugly!

Another Carnival has come and gone and I am still waiting for the "ultimate" experience from TRIBE. While I had a great time on Carnival Monday, as usual, I am left with a sense of de ja vu on my Tuesday experience . Lets start with the "good":

THE GOOD
My costume! I absolutely loved my costume, especially the fact that the finished product looked exactly like the prototype and I had no size or fit issues.In fact I had no issues from registration to collection. The designer/section leader of the section went above and beyond to ensure that everyone, especially the frontline were pleased with their costume and I will not hesitate to play in a costume by  this designer/section leader again. I vote this the best costume I have ever played in, it just keeps getting better, costume wise, each year.

Security was on point in TRIBE both Monday and Tuesday. I personally witnessed several persons being escorted out the band for not wearing or having the proper security wrist bands.I think TRIBE security has the hardest job on the road Carnival Monday and Tuesday, hats off  to you all.

The Heineken Club Zero Truck - A lifesaver from the scorching HEAT on both Monday and Tuesday IF you could get in. It was rocking, cool time inside the truck with as much Heineken as you could stomach.

I was impressed by the FRONTLINE for Zari, Charmeuse and Xi Ling Shi on the road. These costumes looked beautiful in person! Unfortunately I did not get to see many Individual costumes in person (I did see a few female Osage "Individuals" though.. hmmmm) but from the photos Charmeuse and Habotai were stunning!!

THE BAD
Stopping for lunch on both Monday and Tuesday was an exercise in patience. The rest stop had the standard tents and blankets with a special section with padded lounge chairs as well. On Monday I got to the lunch stop early,had lunch and then proceeded to fall asleep during the VERY long wait before we finally hit the road. The problem is the band is simply too big so when the first wave of masqueraders get to the lunch stop and have eaten the second and third wave of masqueraders keep streaming in. On Tuesday I was probably in the last wave of masqueraders, and though I was still able to get lunch , we had a little wait, but not as long as the other masqueraders who got their early and intimated that they were tired waiting!

There are not enough rest rooms at the lunch stop for the sheer number of masqueraders in TRIBE. It baffles me that there are not at least four rest room stations set up around the park for both male and female. As usual the rest room area for the ladies was stocked with all the necessary items for masqueraders to freshen up but as a TRIBE veteran I am no longer impressed by all these extras and would prefer extra toilets instead!

The male costumes looked like CRAP with the exception of Silk of Rajasthan. After looking at some of the gorgeous ladies the men looked almost comical in those insipid headpieces, shorts that were too tight and whatever little bit of trimming thrown their way. Really if the men are going to be given basically board shorts why are they paying close to $3000.00TT? 

Being the last section, what a trip! On Monday I did not stay with my section in position number LAST; we were mixed in with the other sections somewhere in the middle. Great experience could not complain. On Tuesday I stayed with my section until we got to the Savannah. For the most part the experience in the back was not bad at all, we crawled to the Savannah with music and drinks and it was fine. When we got to the Savannah however is when all hell broke loose. 

The masqueraders were very exuberant, rearing up to cross stage and security tried to pluck some of the stragglers from the section, including those in other sections, and did an ok job of it. The front line ladies were allowed to go in front by the guys in the section who were chanting "Loulan! Loulan!" and those who got to the front managed to cross in one group however those stuck behind just crossed in the mob. There was no demarcation really in how we crossed the judging point, no assistance security wise for the section leader to get this organised even though my friend in Mulberry, two sections ahead said that staff were on hand to allow their frontline  to cross first. I guess the staff got fed up by the time they got to our section.

The other issue was that our truck went speeding ahead, I barely heard the music as we crossed the "stage" and I was to the FRONT of the section, the rest of the section crossed to the music truck of the band behind. I think it was an absolute disservice to put the last section with the MOST POPULAR DJ TRUCK! That was NOT a bonus it just encouraged everyone to want to be in the back, and while it was fine in the morning, crossing at the Savannah was just a melee. Suffice to say I was not at the back with my section after that. 

THE UGLY
I am not even going to elaborate on the issues other people had with their Individual and Frontline costumes having to fight for space, I am not going to mention the fact that some Individuals were jostled by the President's security and were at first not even allowed to go ahead of the parade to display their costumes that cost thousand upon thousands of dollars nor will I mention that some of these masqueraders only collected their backpacks just before crossing stage. However I will say that many of the issues they experienced were caused by one major factor; TRIBE IS TOO DAMN BIG! 

What happened to listening to your masqueraders when each year we have been calling for a smaller band and each subsequent year it keeps growing? Seriously, I was at both the front of the band and the back and it was just a mob of people.. a MOB. I felt like I was in Poison, circa 2004! And as I had a dreadful time WAITING In 2004 for the band to inch up Charlotte Street, I felt the same sense of Deja Vu yesterday!  TRIBE is the new Poison! And we all see how Poison ended up!

Imagine getting to the band before 7:30AM only to cross the Savannah SEVEN hours later! We crawled, under the most intense heat ever, to the Savannah so slowly a turtle would have moved faster! Not to mention the drinks truck left us and we had to inch to the Savannah dying of thirst because it took SO long. Why were we stuck in one spot for so long when we did not even go to downtown?! This was hands down my worst Carnival Tuesday experience on the road in years. The afternoon portion was somewhat tolerable but again, the band was just SO big that even coming up Ariapita Avenue was a squeeze between the ropes, spectators and security. You literally had to find a nook or space behind a truck to come up for air! 

I can see if this was your first experience with TRIBE, as it was in Poison, you may have had a good time. But being a veteran TRIBE masquerader I am left jaded and looking for that "ultimate" experience that was the hallmark of TRIBE in the years gone by. Like Poison the band has outgrown many of the masqueraders who were a part of the initial core group and I am afraid that in a few years, unless something happens to curb the numbers, the band will implode due to the fact that it cannot grow any bigger without masqueraders having to pay the price. After spending so much money on costumes and for the "experience" having to jostle and fight for space on the road it stopped being fun and was too much for me to bear this year. Only time will tell if I even consider playing mas for Carnival 2011, much less with TRIBE, after Carnival 2010 I am most ardently considering a break! That is unless something  entices me for another Carnival.. another year... 

So, how was YOUR Carnival experience? Give me the good, the band and the ugly!

Carnival Tuesday Photos

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