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Sunday, February 21, 2010

TRIBE 2010 Review (3)

First time playing mass... first time in Tribe!!!

HI Saucy... From the day after Tribe's launch in July I was DAILY viewer of your blog so I decided to share my first experience with you..

Costume
Silk of Rajasthan.... LOVED IT..

Monday
After arriving at the Hilton around 9 am ( I requested an early check in) and being told that my room would not be ready until 3pm...I passed some time at the Rituals in the Hotel lobby until it was about 10am. According to Tribe's booklet that was inside of my costume box, that I read cover to cover MANY times, it stated that the band's "Parade Time" on Monday was at 10:30am.

Consumed by anxiousness I left the Hilton around 10:15 and made way by foot down to Stanmore Avenue. I got there around 11:00am..(stopped to talk to friends along the way)
when I got there I was supprised to see that the band was still stationed at Stanmore ave. now being the amateur that i am, i told my friend with me which was her first time in Tribe as well that "I am pretty sure we'll leave in a few" and so we did...
As the trucks moved...a smile from ear to ear appeared on my face.. this was It... it was the start of my very first Carnival Xperience...

Chippin 1,2,3 and Stop 4,5,6,7,8... chippin 1,2,3... and so on.... I was a little perturbed by the lengths of the stopping in between.. however it gave me time to look through the band to spot anybody I knew.. because it was just the two of us... also I didnt know how long the stopping was suppose to take but eventually I realised it wasnt suppose to be THAT long..

Paid no mind to it.. we made our way onto Charlotte Street... I ran into a few relatives and was having a blast... my girl and I soaked up every moment...we palanced, we chipped, we screwed the light bulb and we had a time...but all this action and we were in the same spot!!! (infront of the hospital)....

A little while after, things started to move.. then announcement came on to move to the right of the truck.. and with much compliance my "group" and I moved... RIght.. it was time to cross the "STAGE"

"People are you readdy, we Palancing in this Parrtyy!!!" I started jumping from the time i heard that... 1,2,3,4-- and they let us go... jump jump.. wine wine.. every piece of energy I had in me came out with the wine/s, jump/s and side to side palance I did... we crossed and I said to my girl.. this is the best feeling ever!! and its only Monday!!!
then I looked @ my watch!!!!

It was AFTER 2pm!!!!!- we both had our body paint appointment @ Murray Strt. for 3pm so we made a decision go leave the band, head to Hilton check on the room and head down for the paint and the join the band after... walked back up to Hilton to be told that the rooms were being cleaned and there is a 1 hr. wait... hungry and already tired we went down to the restaurant for lunch... we had the "dreggz" of the buffet and got a call by the time we were finished that the room was ready..

Now. rushing ....we got ready and made way to murray street.. arrived ontime, got the paint done and then to our DISMAY the guys tells us.. I hope you all not playing for the rest of the afternoon or else the paint will run off because it needs to set... we complied and went back to the Hotel and had a little R& R for the rest of the afternoon.

Before going to bed i set the alarm for 5am and said to myself....TOMORROW IS THE DAY!!!!...

Tuesday
Beeep , beep @ 5am--- hit the snooze button- didnt get up till 6:30....

although the booklet said tuesday's parade time was at 7:30 my girl and I realsied they meant 1hr - 1hr 1/2 later!!!So we got up got ready and got some b-fast at the restaurant.... we went back to the room to put on the costumes.. heading out from the room to the car park, we saw masqueraders in their BEAUTIFUL costumes heading down to the Savannah.. the excitement built up in me..

We got down to Tragarete rd. around 8:30 am...the band was still there..we quickly looked for our section, which was apparently non existent. the sign lady was there with a few persons behind her.. we went to the front of the band and met up with a couple of friends who said they were standing on the side but @ the front to see everyone and when Silk of Raj. came on they would join.... so we stayed with them for the VERY LONNNGGG period of time until our section came up.. we quickly joined in and chipped along park street.. however the wait on Charlotte street just like Monday was the WORST!!!!

I mean this was my first yr of playing mas but I just wanted to tell ppl.. "get in yuh damn section!! so they can stop wasting time organizing ppl in sections..so we can cross!!!" Finally it was time.. but i was thirsty as hell because the drinks truck left us and turned onto Keate Street.. and well the wait from keate street till the judging point was about 45 mins.. so I went to a vender to buy a bottle of water... $20.00 for a bottle of water!!! Yes.. $20 for a DASANI!!!

I was a bit hesitant to pay that price but then the announcement "Get ready Silk of raj. its your time!!!" came on, so I dashed the money at the lady without question and found myself behind the sign lady... as soon as the guards released their hands... all my previous complaints as listed above DISAPPEARED!!! It was the Best feeling of freedom I have ever had !!! The side to side palance and the onlookers cheering.. it was FANTASTIC...

After passing the judging point at the Savannah my cousin came up to me and said stop walking so slow.. we need to get to the park to catch a blanket...so check my girl and I speeding toward the park with my few relatives and friend in tow ready to get a blanket.. lo and behold!!! NONE AVAILABLE..

With no energy to get angry, we found a spot at the northern side of the park and had the DELICIOUS lunch with gr8 dessert.. however every other bite had a crunch with the amount of dust flying round.. but that was ok. We had food from the international booth. whoever catered... NICE :)

Ok so my belly was filled and ethnic fatigue started kicking in... I saw a girl with a cardboard box and begged her for 1/2.. once I had the piece of box, my girl and I took a 45 mins sleep ......Then music to my ears.. OK Tribe lets go... "leh we go down the road, go down the road.. Carnival in the air..."- Patrice Roberts..a faint cheer spread throughout the park and ppl started getting up.. I got up washed my face and shook the few specs of grass off of me and I was READY!!!!

We made way though St. Clair, Tragarete rd.. and then Ariapita Ave.The wait on the ave was the worst but that gave me time to GET ON BADD!!!I said to myself.. its the end of the day.. and all I had was the time remaining, its time to use this stopping to my advantage.. I chipped to the top of the band, made way back down to the end and back up to the top!!! It was fantastic.!!!

The security really showed their purpose when it started to get dark as stormers saw an opportunity to get into the band.. however access was QUICKLY denied!!! As we crossed the judging point by Adam Smith Sq. i realised that this was the end of Carnival.. I soaked up everymonent with my friends and relatives.. and made way back to Stanmore!!!

Despite all my complaints about the stopping and everything about Tribe.. I WILL play with them next year again!!! The security was Xcellent as well as the music and the overall VIBE of the band..

Thank you Tribe for Making this Carnival Virgin's first time experience a tremendous one!!!

TRIBE 2010 Review (2)

Hello Saucy,

I'm a huge fan of your blog and felt compelled to provide you with my feedback of Tribe for 2010.

Registration
What a nightmare! I stayed home on the first day of TLC registration with 4 top pick costumes in mind. As I tried to "pay" on line, I repeatedly received an error message. Yet one by one the costumes were sold out! When Tribe finally advised that the servers had crashed and registration would cease, the majority of costumes were sold out. I sent an email to Tribe that night expressing my frustration and asked them to advise of recourse in the situation. The second day of registration, I again received an error message when trying to pay. I eventually was able to register in Eri, but still sent an email to Tribe as I would have liked to switch to another section. I was advised that my request would be sent to the production team. Email after email and call after costly call to Tribe revealed a big fat nothing. Tribe never responded to me, and I had to call them to find out I was stuck in that section.

I was particularly pissed off as a relative of mine was able to "pre register" herself and a large amount of friends who were not TLC in a section.

Costume
My costume was picked up for me and when I arrived in Trinidad immediately tried on the costume. Quite honestly the costume was pretty, but overall the band looked lop sided. Some sections looked fresh and new (ie Loulan, Charmeuse), and sections like Eri and Lazuli looked, well, dated. In addition, the head piece was not balanced. It constantly fell forward and I had to deal with stones in my eyes.

Service
I've always been a supporter of Tribe for it's service and attention to detail. To me, it's worth the money, especially for security. Lunch was tasty as always and drinks were great.

Review
Overall Tribe is my number one pick for bands because the vibe is great and service is excellent. I do hope the band does a post mortem and review feedback from outsiders as well as masqueraders. The registration fiasco in my eyes has hurt the band's reputation and registration for 2011 has to be overhauled.

TRIBE Feedback

Each year post Carnival I always do my "Dear TRIBE" letter, as I did last year, pointing out areas that as a masquerader I think could be improved for the overall benefit of everyone. Since my critique will be the same as in 2009... TLC registration needs to be revamped, size of the band is overwhelmingly too big, more toilets needed at the lunch stop I will not rehash those points. Suffice to say that many of those concerns were not addressed for 2010, hopefully they will be for 2011.My letter today has to do with the attitude of the section leaders who cannot take criticism over their designs, the ones who found their way on the blog to personally attack me because of my personal opinion concerning their costumes.

Dear TRIBE, I have been your biggest supporter from day 1, I have always defended the band and my decisions for choosing to play with TRIBE so much so that I have been labeled as biased. My credibility has been attacked by accusations of being paid by TRIBE to write this blog as well as that I only give TRIBE  favorable reviews because I get a free costume with the band. As we both know this is not true and the year 2010 has seen me, your biggest  supporter, become enemy # 1 in the TRIBE camp.

In spite of all that I still played in the band this year, as you can see I rise above that pettiness because as a paying masquerader I  do not put the fact that I write this blog ahead of myself to get any leverage; see how cooly I accepted the fact that my section was last this year? I expect the same considerations that are given to all masqueraders  who spend their hard earned cash on a costume and I will choose to support whichever band I see fit until I am turned away, victimized or  discriminated against for the fact that write this blog.. .and, well that will be a whole other topic!

The gag order you put on me and this blog is fruitless as you can see, the fact is TRIBE news is BIG news and you get enormous publicity every time I write something about the band. Case in point is the huge boost in  popularity Spice received by the controversy surrounding their numbers that was hotly debated on this blog; the truth is there is nothing like bad publicity. So for 2011 you need to ease up on hounding staff members unfairly and incorrectly accusing them of giving me information. There is nothing you can do in stopping information getting to me because it always does from all over; people just LOVE to talk and they just LOVE to talk to me! Relax, roll with it and enjoy the fact that your band is getting talked about constantly and you band will have even more demand for 2011, don't you think?

As for certain designers in the TRIBE camp getting upset over my costume review for 2010, as designers they really need to grow up!  I am just ONE person with a point of view, surely that point of view did NOT cause the band to lose masqueraders because the band sold out anyway. I do not have any personal agenda against or dislike for anyone, as they seem to think. Being a masquerader for so many years, I know what costumes I like from what I do not like, that may not necessarily be  the same as someone else but alas those other people just do not happen to have a blog to express their opinions. Not to mention the older I have become the more discerning  are my tastes in costumes.

I have never flinched when costume prices increased year after year, I have always justified paying the price for the costume I want because I have a holistic approach to what the value of the costume means to me. However I think for the price of costumes in 2010 the actual product was not up to standard; I mean really who sat down and approved some of those costumes in a costume critique is beyond me. Some of the designs looked unfinished and like and afterthought and was no way in line with the standard set in years before. I was happy to see ,though ,that post band launch some costumes were giving a sprucing up so that tends to make me feel that some designs were indeed rushed.

So, as stated many times before good designs get great reviews, bad designs will get the reviews that they are due regardless of the fact that the band is TRIBE. One would hope that honesty is appreciated more than ass kissing, which I never do for the record, and that the critique would only help to position the band as being a leader in not only good service but also good costume design seeing as the actual product of the "ultimate all inclusive experience" was not so ultimate for 2010. The saving grace for me this year was that I absolutely loved my costume and that I had a great time on Monday. I know certain things were beyond the band's control on Tuesday however the size of the band is certainly a factor to be considered for 2011. Ideally I would hope the band actually DOES split in two, that would make things very interesting indeed!

I am liking the theme for 2011, hopefully we do get stellar costumes and not so many bruised egos giving me ( little old me!) the "stink eye". Good luck and looking forward to the start of band launching season "Warriors".

TRIBE 2010 Review

This was my first experience in Tribe, and after hearing many glowing reviews over the years I decided to see what this hype was about.

Costume collection
It was probably the smoothest I have ever encountered in my life having played mas in several different bands. It was a well oiled machine efficiently run, and almost military like in its execution. This to me left a very good impression on me as to what to look forward to on the road.

The costume for the most part was well made with the exception of the head piece which was a bit problematic for me.
Large headpieces are nice but, securing it on your head is quite another issue which i think is something designers need to look at becuase many masqueraders with large headpieces (myself included) had problems with it blowing off, or falling down on our faces. some were able to handle this with grace, while others were not so lucky...


Carnival Monday
The vibe in the band was good. I have a tendency to roam on my own to see what happens throughout, and I have to say the band seemed very organized on Monday. Drinks were flowing, people were having a good time, and everything went well until we passed the savannah stage and passed the cipriani exit .TRIBE was stuck for about 45 minutes…this gave me a good opportunity to have a look at the band, and it was only then I realized how truly massive it was. It stretched for miles. I would estimate that there were about 4000 people on that day. In the back of my mind I dreaded what Tuesday would be like but say what I was having a good time! Copious amounts of water and Gatorade for me to drink, so I was good.

One thing though, a friend of mine told me that he encounted a small skirmish with security who almost put him out because the tribe insignia on his id band ,was rubbing out, and he was accused of having a false id. Immediately I had a look at mine and the same thing was happening. I wondered if I too would be accused of having a fake ID, and also wondered how many other masqueraders if any had the same issue. I think this is something the management of tribe needs to look at, if only to ensure that their masqueraders are not falsely accused and have to suffer embarrassment of being potentially thrown out. They are actually opening themselves up to some serious litigation.

Back to Monday…
The rest stop was nice, food was decent and plentiful and most importantly tasty. For me sitting under a shady tree in Jackson square to re-energize was better than resting my backside on some random pavement somewhere. However there seemed to be no real indication as to when the band would get going again, the rest was overly long and I was most tempted to take a power nap.
Anyways, the band continued along onto tragarete road and down pole carew street onto ana and ariapita avenue…that was when I felt ram cram. I spent most of the time outside the ropes than in, trying to get some breathing and wining room because it felt like a Jamaican bus during rush hour!! Sardine like!!. When tribe got to the avenue I stayed a bit and left to meet my pick up as I was already too tired.


Tuesday
That was a whole debacle in itself…I am not going to get into the details of why I met the band so late but all I have to say is thank god I was not stuck on charlotte street. I met the band when they were at memorial square (well at least my section) and it was messy to say the least. Cramped, hot, sweaty and pushy people everywhere. I tried to make the best of it however when it came to finding a drink truck??? They did a Houdini on me!!! I could find none, all gone….so I had to rely on 6 dollar inflated price blue waters to keep me from fainting in the sweltering heat. Perhaps the band needs to look at keeping 3 drink trucks on keate street or something…so that at least masqueraders can get their drinks in close proximity to the band

The dj’s tried to keep the vibes going and that they did, but when you expend energy you get thirsty not so??? So waiting for over an hour in 1 spot jamming and nutten to drink will eventually make you frustrated as hell…and that I was.
Again, I spent most of the time outside the ropes than in the ropes walking up and down looking for some shade.

Eventually the band got moving. I was glad yes but then things got a little worse after the “get in yuh section call”. I won’t blame the band for this, but I would criticize some of the masqueraders themselves. People got in their sections yes, but almost everybody wanted to cram to the front and to the left where the cameras were and they didn’t care if you had a large headpiece, a front liner or if you were an individual or if you had on a floor member costume. Oh jeez, I mean not everybody can go to the front right????

After a while I got exceedingly frustrated and anybody who pushed me, male, female, dog, cat or rat, got a reactionary shove once I was shoved. Imagine a male masquerader tried to push his way in front of me, when there was no room, and when he shoved me to move back had the audacity to smile and say thanks?!?? *woosah moment.*

Anyway the only relief I got was when the individual and then the frontline was allowed to parade in front of the judges first, which was just fine for me. I had room to play myself. And even then, before they let us go infront the judges, I was being jostled by other masqueraders to get to the front. I think there is a big difference between exhuberance and outright unmannerly behaviour, and surely some of these ppl were just plain unmannerly. I could understand excitement and anticipation but taking that to a point where it causes discomfort to others? Methinks not.

The band took a total of 1hr and 35 mins to cross but I wanted to see all the sections and I could tell that there were a lot of thirsty, tired masqueraders…Loulan, poor masqueraders….everybody and their tantie with costume or not, wanted live palancing…that’s all I will say about that.

The rest park by the time I got there was a mess, no room to sit, garbage strewn everywhere despite the fact that there were ppl there to collect discarded containers. Food collection was relatively easy and like Monday the food was also tasty and plentiful, loads of starch though but as I said it was tasty and well cooked

Not enough toilets tribe!!! And well serving ppl lukewarm Gatorade does not cut it either!!! I didn’t even bother to venture near the pampering center or whatever it is called as it was incredibly crowded as was to be expected but I would have preferred if there were more toilets available for people to use.
For the most part I just relaxed until it was time to move again.

It wasn’t bad though this time around, until we got to pole carew street , there were people lining the streets creating some incredible congestion in the band and it became somewhat uncomfortable, and again found myself outside of the ropes. As we got close to the avenue it got worse and by then I had had enough so I said my goodbyes and left

Conclusion
I would give TRIBE a B for overall experience, but if they don’t do something about their numbers they are going to self destruct. It is true that they have created a hype that makes them a very popular band among the masquerading public and everybody wants to play with them but sometimes things get to a point where it becomes too much to be bearable..I doubt very much that tribe would want a logistical nightmare on their hands so I suppose in their post mortem they might have to look at ways of further reduction of numbers or creating 2 separate entities.
To be honest in all my years of playing mas I never exhibited loyalty to a particular band and this experience in tribe wouldn’t make me start either. Lets see what happens at band launchings for 2011.
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