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Sunday, March 13, 2011

TRIBE Way of the Warrior Review #3

I have been playing mas with another band for the past 6 years and after being treated piss poorly from customer service to on the road security I decided to make a change and try out TRIBE this year.

Registration:
Well thankfully my best friend and i know a couple committee members so we registered as soon as committee registration opened. We did not get our first choice which was Persian Gold, so we both had to settle for another section. I picked Mayan Eagle (cause i loved it as soon as i saw it in the camp), though my friend could only get into Amazon cause that is one she liked that was available. We gave the committee member our Info & downpayment and we were IN. We payed off for our costumes before the deadline to access the fast track system for collection.

Collection:
EXCELLENT!. My friend collected on the first day and was in and out within 3 minutes tops!. We were greeted by the door, she was asked if she paid in full to which she responded "yes" and was escorted through Cascadia to the Main hall where we were greeted by others who took her receipt and guided her to the pick up line. I collected about 2 days after her so it had ah bit more people collecting, but after waiting in the line for about 10 minutes i was attended to, got my costume, and was out within 5 minutes.

Costume Quality:
Both my friend and I experienced one very little hickup. After each collecting and reaching home to try on our costume some beads fell off from our headpieces nothing major to cause a stir, though our bathing suits and my friends waistband were in tact. (Mayan Eagle didn't have a waistband just ah chain belt).

Carnival Monday:
Well after an epic morning playing Jouvert we reached back into POS around 11 am. where I parked my car in work on Picton Street in Newtown and we walked to meet the band 2 blocks away who were already pulling out. We took a walk around from back to forth seeing what the vibe was like and to be honest it was a little stoosh. The Band headed str8 to the Savannah where things picked up a bit and after crossing we followed the truck back to St. Clair for lunch (Will get to Lunches / Rest-stop in a another paragraph). After Lunch the trucks headed out to the Oval and back down Tragerete Road this is where things died for me a little. we decided to walk around again to find a truck that was playing good music. One truck the DJ decided he wanted to talk more than play music another was only playing ah bunch of old music and another one was playing good music but mixing it in with something that nobody really wants to hear. we finally reach back to our meeting point and it is only there where the vibes started to come back. Little too late for me cause i was ready to go home due to early day to prepare for Tuesday. Overall thoughts on Monday - Just Ok!

Lunches / Rest-stop:
Well after crossing the savannah stage on Monday we took our time to head back to the tents in St. Clair, well boy was that a mistake. We reach the lunch tents and upon arriving we realise people are scattering looking for food. I head to the first tent i see which was creole and get probably the last box of food from that tent. My friend on the other hand was not that lucky. She had to scamper the enitre park and ended up getting a box of food other people had to settle for veggie boxes while some just didn't get at all. While I do find the portions are a nice size so you are able to share, the fact of the matter is that people paid their money and each person should be able to get their own box of food. TRIBE please remedy this for following years. I heard that it has never happened before so they will get a pass. The amount of time TRIBE breaks for is WAYYYYY too long. I was ready to take ah full sleep not even a nap with the amount of time they stay in that park. Just not something i'm accustomed too.I like to take a short break and go again! :)

Carnival Tuesday:
We reached into POS around 8am. and already knew we would have to meet the band on Federick St. It started off just like Carnival Monday, very stoosh and not much going on, so we decided to grab breakfast in which there were a variety of things to choose from. Upon reaching the savannah stage there was such a huge bottle Neck that i was stuck in the back of the band and could not even reach my section which was the first to cross, so i decided not to fuss and just cross with my friend in Amazon. It was noticable that alot of people didn't get to their section due to the bottleneck cause the latter half of the band was so mixed up that you couldn't tell which section was which. We reach the stage and had a BAWL!.:) and soon after coming off the stage we cut str8 across the savannah to head for lunch in fear of what happened on Monday. However we reach the lunch tents Tuesday and there is no hassle we get our food and we sit down to relax a bit. Last Lap with Tribe Carnival Tuesday was GREAT!. There was one truck in particualr that we found after walking form truck to truck that was keeping the hype up right till we got back to Jenny's for the After Party. I don't think i even wine so much in that amount of time. The Band made it's way through St. James and back up Mucurapo then cutting back onto Tragarete by Carlos St. and back to Stanmore Ave. Carnival Tuesday overall - GREAT!

Bar Service:
GREAT! not one problem with the Drinks bar. Always got what i wanted and never had to run down a Truck to get one. HOWEVER..TRIBE can you please distribute your Snacks in a more oderly fashion. Having people almost trample you for snacks is not fun!.

Security:
I Must give TRIBE a round of applause on their security detail. Not once did i see them not doing their job. I witnessed several people being escorted out the band who weren't sporting the Tribe Band or who just wanted to teef a wine. I had no problems or did not witness any problems with security. Even in the After party where people from other bands tried to sneak in once they were in and thought they were safe were wrong, they too were escorted out faster than you can say stormer!. EXCELLENT WORK SECURITY!

After Party:
one word...... EPIC!..... Talk done dey!...lol :)

So it had it's ups and downs for my first Tribe Experience but Overall i think it was Great! i am willing to give Tribe another try next year, and if they fix the little hiccups from Monday then Tribe will be the Best all-round band ever!

Trini Revellers 2011 Review

Hi Saucy.
Please allow me a space in your blog to review my experience of playing mas in 2K11 Carnival. I had played with Trini Revellers before and had a really good time so I decided to play with them again.

I chose a different section leader because, although I usually play by myself, I had a group of newbies with me, who were concerned with body exposure. So, ironically, we chose the section Wenches that although sexy, was well enough covered based on the prototype. I kept in touch with the section leader throughout because I wanted my mother and friends to be comfortable.

I should have known something was wrong when Carnival Saturday was chosen as the collection date. On Saturday we got a phone call stating that the collection time had been changed from 9:00 to 11:00 am. No problem with us, since we had planned to get there for 11:30 am. I will not bore you with the details except to say that I left the collection at about 5:30 pm with my friends to rush to Samaroo's to purchase fabric and other necessities to make the costume look and fit something like the prototype. NOTHING FIT. At the same time, the response from the bandleaders, whom I had called numerous times, was close to non-existent. If my Mom had not flown in specifically to play mas, I would have demanded full refunds. And the joke of an underwear was a Charlotte Street not stretch that could barely go up one leg. My mom spent the weekend adjusting all our costumes. That was the bad.

The good was that Trini Revellers on the road is an excellent experience. The music, drinks and comradre always ensure a great time. Of course, other masqueraders unstuffing bra cups with rags, socks and cell phones (all used to get the costume to fit) added its own hilarity. The experience was a learning one. I am now on the prowl for another band for 2K12, and like you I am counting down the days.

Elle

Island People 2011 Review #3

My report card for IP 2011- vibes= A+++++++++++++ (x a gazillion)

Security = C -stop wining on me and hold a damn rope geez!

Drinks trruck staff = B (F- for the lady who tell me to ask someone else to serve me when trucks seperated at savannah. is a good thing I know God.....)

Lunch = C monday was too damn ridiculous. I don't want an apology I want FOOD!! And change dem caterers.

Parade route = D . I fed  up see Park Street, swear I was there for 3hours (in the maxi of course!)

Overall a B- if it wasnt for the wotlessness and sexy fellas it wudda be F.

IP in this business too long not have a proper afterparty and las lap- not a sprint! And better service,  and the staff on Carnival days need some customer service training.

But thanks for the good vibes still AAAA++++++


Pulse 8 2011 Review

Hi Saucy,

I would like to give a review of Pulse 8. Let me preface this review by saying that this is my first year playing mas. I played with three of my friends, and we are all overseas masqueraders. Other than information received from T&T family and friends, and your blog, we had no idea what to expect.

REGISTRATION

Registration was a breeze. We registered online and were able to get into our section, Rosella Risqué. Three of us played front line, and one backline. The only part that we didn’t like was having to pay using Western Union. The fees and the conversion rates were not ideal. Lucky thing that we stayed at a bed and breakfast, and the owner was kind enough to pay on our behalf and we gave her the money through PayPal. That was great. The band should add PayPal in the future.

COLLECTION

Our collection was a nightmare. Two of us went on Carnival Friday to take care of the entire group. Of course, payment was easy. However, when we went to pay, we were not told that our costumes were incomplete, which is the only reason why we paid in full. Had we have known, it would have been a much different story. However, we paid and went outside to pick up our costumes. They were all wrong. First of all, we all were to have monokinis, and none of us did. Then, they did not have our headpieces or backpacks. We were told to come back in an hour and everything would be ready. After reading this blog, I knew better. We kept calling in to get a status, not ready. We even went back Saturday afternoon, still not ready. We got our headpieces and monokinis late Saturday and they were BEAUTIFUL. We were hot that the frontline headpieces were not significantly larger than the backline other than the height with the ostrich feathers, but they were still fabulous. Great, on to the backpacks that were not ready. On Sunday, after getting the run around, I called to give them a piece of my mind. Even after yelling, the section leader was calm and understanding of our disappointment and frustration, and assured we would get them “in time”. Monday morning, about an hour after the band was to meet, the owner showed up with our backpacks. They were not finished, and at this point, we had it. They did offer to either refund the entire amount of the costume and we not play, or they would refund the backpack amount and we still play. I wanted to refund everything. However, my better half advised that we had come all this way and invested in boots and makeup, jewels, etc. and we should experience Mas. So, we went ahead and took the costumes as is, and doctored them up Monday night. I must say, the entire time, even though we were upset and irate, the management team and owners were wonderful. They were calm and apologetic, and wanted to come to a resolution. After hearing of other’s costume nightmares, ours pales in comparison. However, all bands need to get it together. We pay a lot to play, and at the end of the day, export or whatever, they need to ensure that masqueraders get what they pay for.

MONDAY

So, the two of us who were the most calm sucked it up and played on Monday. We were able to text the owner to get the location of the band, and they were just about to cross the stage. We found them easily, and fell in line. Everyone in the band was so nice. We met a lot of people, and there was a good mix of people. Crossing the stage was orderly and we really enjoyed it. We jumped, danced, and everyone showed us how to really do it up for Carnival Tuesday. It was a lot of fun, and definitely a work out. After crossing, our drink trucks met up with us immediately, and we were able to freshen up with water/liquor. We then chipped through the streets, moving the entire way. The only time we got held up was at the two judging points, but we didn’t wait more than 30 minutes or so. Lunch and snacks were really good, and it was easy to maneuver between the drink trucks and the bathrooms. Monday was a great day.

TUESDAY

Again, we met up with the band late, and made it just in time to the Savannah to cross the stage. Again, we easily found the band (we missed meeting them at the designated location) by texting the section leader. As soon as we got there, we began to take pics with other members in our section and others. I think that was one of the best parts of the experience. The people really made it for us. Everyone was there to have a great time. It was less about getting all the glory on the stage or being better than others. Just good fun. We were the second or third band to cross the stage, and again, it was orderly. People respected one another, and when one section was off and security came in, they did not try to rush the stage again. Front line was allowed to go on first, and backline followed behind quickly. We took tons of pictures and had the best time on the stage. Afterwards, we were happily exhausted. Again, the drink trucks met up with us quickly and we were on our way. The rest of the day was a blur of fun, dancing, meeting new people, picture taking, etc. Food was less of a concern for us as we just needed some carbs and energy. We didn’t expect much. The drinks were wonderful, easily accessible, and the bar staff was great. Fast, nice, and on point. I also LOVED having the bathroom truck. Finally, I got a blister on my leg from the zipper on my boot, and we had a first aid van. They fixed me all up and I was on my merry way. We really felt like our section leaders went out of their way to ensure that we had fun. They checked on us periodically and made sure we had drinks and were having a great time. Finally, I have to shout out Security. They were THE BEST. I saw them kick out many who did not have wristbands immediately. LOL. They even kicked my husband out at one point after he got past the ropes (he didn’t know any better). They did a great job managing the ropes, letting people in and out. We felt very safe and security really had our safely as their first priority.

All in all, I have every intention of coming back to T&T for Carnival 2K12, and have the same intention to play with Pulse 8 again. My husband was thoroughly jealous that he didn’t play – he chipped along side of the band on Tuesday (outside the ropes). He will be playing in 2K12 too! LOL. Through the costume issues, the customer service was excellent, people were great, we didn’t get lost in the big band, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I know others really love the big bands. I think it’s a personal preference, as I couldn’t imagine playing with a larger band.

Side note: Saucy, your blog is WONDERFUL. Especially for a newbie overseas masquerader, I knew what to expect and this really made my experience. THANK YOU!!

TRIBE Way of the Warrior Review #2

I live and work in the states and work my butt off to get time off so I could get to Trinidad for Carnival. This year I thought all carnival costumes were rather expensive, however, I played with Tribe last year and was so impressed with their organization, security, quality of their costumes, food etc, that I decided to play with them again. This year, it was the opposite.

Costumes
I was in Amazon this year. On Sunday, before even trying on the costumes beads were falling off of the belt and bra. Thankfully we had access to a hot glue gun and fixed the problem. On Monday, a friend wore the cage bra - which came apart right after crossing the stage. She was almost exposed and had to change into a bathing suit top - not cool after spending so much money for frontline! I did not wear my belt on Monday night and before putting it on Tuesday, more beads/jewels fell off. I then tried on my headpiece Tuesday morning and more jewels fell off. In an attempt not to get caught up in the poor quality of my costume and let it ruin my carnival, I glued it back on and went on my merry way. After lunch on Tuesday another friend of mine's bra just popped - a regular bra! (and she has small boobs so it's not as though that was the excuse). Overall, very disapointed with the quality of the costumes. Tribe has proven to give its masqueraders better quality in years past and this year should have been no exception.

Food
On Monday, we arrived to the lunch park before at least 300 other masqueraders. We went from tent to tent and was told that they were all out. How is this possible???? Tribe knows exactly how many people registered and picked up costumes. They also know how many security and dj's they have to feed. This was piss poor. Eventually one lady at a tent gave me a "barbque" lunch. I've attached a picture of what it consisted of - this is what they gave grown men and women to eat for lunch!?!?!?! It wasn't even a whole potato, it was potato skins! it wasn't even a half of a chicken breast - it was two small pieces of chicken. It wasn't even a half of a corn, it was probably an inch! One of my cousin's was given a veggie dish from another tent at the last minute - the brocolli was so spoilt it smelled as soon as the box was open.

Security
Last year I was most impressed with security. This year, however, I was appalled. Security was scant and not to mention they were letting everyone in the band. I understand they were given instructions to let people from Bliss in the band (if Bliss was supposed to be a different band why were they in Tribe -but that's another story), however, there were people with no wristbands on whatsoever in the band. Last year I recall security tapping people and asking them to leave if they snuck in..this year security was more focused on getting a wine from somebody.... Again, I don't mind paying the prices Tribe charges, however, security needs to be top notched. While walking to the wee-wee truck in the back, security just dropped off...it was just absolutely ridiculous and again piss poor planning and control.

The Route
So Tribe changed it's Route on Tuesday. Upon passing the Mosque, the music was turned off. Maybe I'm too "Americanized" at this point and believe in freedom of speech, but I found it to be utter BS! When I asked the DJ what was going on, he stated he was told to turn off the music when passing the "mosque." This enraged a number of masqueraders, including myself. So when I asked if the music was going to be turned off for every religious institution or property I was told "they are just doing what they were told." If you fear one man so much so as not to play music pass "his mosque" then do NOT take that route...it is disrespectful to the rest of the masqueraders, who pay a huge some of money to play mas and not stand in the sun for at least 20 mins with no music. Please note that this does not have anything to do with religious beliefs - I have numerous muslim family members - I'm simply saying do not take a route if the decision is to interfere with the masquerader's enjoyment.

Overall my Carnival was great, because nothing and no one could take that away from me. However, if the above mentioned quirks were fixed it would have been even better.


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