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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oasis Trinidad Carnival 2011 Review

I am…was a Tribe loyalist. TLC member card in front my eyeball on my dresser where I look at it year round…but the last year or two it’s been a battle. The costume quality, the battle to purchase costumes and the absolute torture it is to collect costumes. I’ve also felt the loss of the original Tribe vibe on the road, the band is simply to large…it certainly is the new Poison, but you know it goes, it’s the ‘in’ thing to do, all my friends are playing there so year after year I sign up with them. I am a staunch supporter of local, food, clothes, music, artistes – you name it local and I will support, hence my desire to have gone looking at other options over the last year or two…this year no exception. I collected my Tribe costume after waiting outside for over two hours, it was the wrong size. Private section, pressure, no extra pieces so they can’t switch pieces. I never even bothered to try on the costume; my carnival excitement disappeared at the mere sight of the costume (color and size). I spent the better part of 12 days online begging for swaps because I so wanted my costume, great quality though they messed up the color (it was purple not pink). Finally sold it on Carnival Saturday night/Sunday morning.

OASIS Carnival – I ended up there because someone involved with the band asked me earlier in the week, who am I playing with (of course at this point I was in costume despair). I haven’t paid particular attention to them over the last year because it’s their first year and they came from Elements, whom I saw on the road in 2010, no need to say anymore. I was able to take 3 male friends away from Tribe (loyalists also) with me on this little adventure because they themselves could not get costumes. We ventured into the Mas camp on Rosalino Street on Carnival Saturday evening after 3pm and were greeted with smiles all around, Mas camp was abuzz with activity, it felt like Carnival. At this point, we just wanted costumes to play carnival, which was our mindset. We enquired on cost (cheaper than tribe of course), it was all inclusive, size of band was small but like I said…I just wanted a costume that fit. The warmth with which we were greeted gave us that final little push…we made our choice of section and they proceeded to find our sizes. Sigh…hiccup again…nothing in my size at this point in the game, and me being the only girl in the group, my friends told me it was my decision…so I started trying on every bra size in every section ( I was intent on finalising a costume that evening one way or the other in this band or another). The section owners were wonderful, helping and finding stuff, even my guy friends were searching through the remaining costumes to ensure I found what I needed and would be satisfied with.

ALAS…a designer walks up to me and says…I just got this costume back, it’s your exact size but it’s a frontline (cost of a backline Tribe costume)…she then said…you can have it for the same price you are paying for your current choice…smiles all around…from the band members to my friends to me…I had a costume… and I got it with excellent service and amazing smiles.

Carnival Monday and Tuesday on the road with OASIS was AMAZING, I felt like I was playing Mas for the first time again. Carnival was reborn to me (I stood on the road last year and remember thinking to myself I am sooo bored, what was I doing there). The band was small, one large music truck, one drinks truck, medic, wee wee truck…it was just enough! We had vibe for two whole days, we moved like there was no one on d road, we crossed every judging point. I had space to spread my arms and jump and wine and bend over, drinks never ran out, road was amazing, shots flowing like water, breakfast, snacks were well provided. Band management, designers and security moving through the band, smiling with everyone, checking to make sure all were having a good time, keeping an eye their patrons. I even saw one of the section designers grab the rope (the only time we needed it – ariapita avenue) to keep the outsiders out. The only time I realized just how much security we had…I heard the DJ say ‘security on the right’, and you just see them appear…another major plus…no one was storming our band!!! No one crowded us until Ariapita Avenue and we too had an after party at our base (trotters car park)…

I was so very sick with the flu and my sinusitis, but OASIS’s vibe was just on point and the ease and efficiency with which the band was managed and moved on the road really gave me that extra something I needed to stay on the road and enjoy carnival through it all. My costume held up and trust me when I say I put it to the test. I am so absolutely satisfied with my choice; I’ve actually put away my TLC. I say thank you for the small blessings that my first experience away from Tribe, and with a new band nonetheless was a most memorable one (I’ve been hearing lots of horror stories from more established bands). I found my way out (or rather they helped me find the way out), the spell is broken and I won’t be falling under it again – OASIS, you will be getting my support for the upcoming year.

Ticket Federationan and Boots By Afro Chic Review

Hi Saucy,

I would usually post this on my own blog but you asked for reviews of services...sooo here goes.

First: my experience using 'Ticket Federation'.
" This year I decided to go Misty Ridge on February 25th 2011...this was a first time for me and I had zero contacts on that committee.A friend had seen the event advertised on the facebook, saw a link that Ticket Federation was selling tickets and we called.

That was one of the best customer server experiences I have experienced for Carnival 2011.The guy that answered the phone was very patient, apparently my timing was perfect, since they had just had their meeting with the committee and recieved their quota of tickets. The guy, Mr. Federation I call him, detailed the entire procedure for ordering tickets via their site, register, place your reservation, explained how payments are made i.e. in cash, as well as how collection is facilitated i.e. at a specified location and gave me lots and lots of details on the fete and the entire service of their site.

Mr. Federation advised that within a day or so placing my reservation I would get an email confirming my order and get instructions for pickup.

Yep, in about two days I got my email confirmation as well as instructions as to where to collect me tickets.

We also got a follow up email reminding us that we had tickets on order and to come collect as soon as possible.

I called the number included and was given directions, very very detailed directions for us non-Port-of-Spain dwellers, as well as specifics on if someone else was collecting in my place.

A friend collected the tickets for me, and she found the place easily and paid and collected our tickets in no time.
All in all, one of the better customer service experiences for my Carnival 2011."


Now on to my review of Afro Chic's services.
"As you know I'm fully committed to playing backline, no frontline or individual aspirations for this masquerader...at least none yet.But for Carnival 2011 after registering in that regal costume Mayan Eagle, I decided that ordinary boots just would not do. So, based on the pics on Afro Chic's facebook page, and on your reviews and Afro chic's website...yes I was hesitant...I took the plunge.

My first contact with Afro Chic was via her registration form on her website. I filled in my information, and with great trepidation clicked 'submit'. Got an email confirming my order and my registration number in a couple days or so.Then came the time for making the down payment.. Afro Chic sent an emails about the options for dropping off boots and making the downpayment. I missed almost all the possible dates, work can be a b!tch sometimes...but I digress!! I think Afro Chic and I exchanged almost 20 emails before we were able to arrive at a mutually convenient drop off point, on a day that was not even an option for drop offs outside of St. James...

We met, my boots were handed over, my downpayment was made, my comments about what I was looking for had been entered on my registration form.

I was sooo anxious from then for a long, long time...I started seeing sneak peeks of other boots, items that Afro Chic was working on and no word about mine....I sent an email, Afro Chic posted a reply on FB that email will be sent regarding collections.

A couple days later, I got that lovely email with the collection date...such relief, but I wondered how I would collect since I was supposed to be somewhere else at the time listed. Afro Chic then called letting me know that my boots won't be ready until the Saturday due to mixups with the decorations. I don't think I was ever so grateful for a mixup...Saturday worked perfectly with my plans.

Got to the collection point on Saturday with no problems, directions were very very clear and ...Afro Chic seems to be a miracle worker. Going on nothing more than my few words on my initial registration form and knowing what band/section I was in, my plain brown slouch boots were transformed into footware worthy of a Mayan Eagle masquerader...nothing flashy and over the top, I believe that Afro Chic got the essence of the costume and my less than creative ideas down to a 'T'. And to think my boots had started off being decorated for another section...Who would have thunk it! Also, judging from the gorgeous items that I glimpsed, other customers were as pleased with their Afro Chic items for Carnival 2011.

Ohhh and with my decorated boots I got a little goody bag contents: glitter, gems, condoms and a keyring. Quite unexpected...neat little touch.

Thank you, thank you Afro Chic...I'll be bringing my boots to you again for Carnival 2012 once I figure out what band and section I'll be in :-)

Another good customer service experience."

A pic of my boots is attached.




Sunny Side Up 2011 Review

Ok so back again to give my review of SSU....Now I should preface this by saying that when I was younger, THE breakfast event to go to was Insomnia. When the crowd started getting rough, I stopped going and for a while did nothing on Carni Sunday morning. Then along came Vale and at first I never had to worry about getting tickets as I was always taken care of by my then bf. However, last year my friends and I had to make arrangements ourselves, and I was surprised and a bit put off by the whole secret service antics behind securing tickets for this fete. I mean not even Lara is like that and da's an ULTRA all inclusive! Anyhow we went to Vale a couple years and it was fun but I never really got what was SO FANTASTIC about this fete...Maybe that's because I never got hose down by de wall, I wasn't drunk out my mind and I limed more on the park grounds than the road (the road vibes are way better). In any event, last year I was not happy about the long wait to get drinks, which got worse as the morning wore on, and then to add insult to injury they ran out of alcohol, and only had cheap vodka and some other stuff I didn't drink. My crew had to resort to collecting drinks 6 at a time and saving them in a lil pool on the ground in between all of us just to ensure we had. And then a man went and wine his way through our "mini cooler" so all de alcohol went down on de floor with him....Food also dwindled too early in my opinion and the traffic to leave once it was over....oh gyad oh! If allyuh thinking Beach House is bad....that was just a mess! So although the fete vibe was fun, these little things did dampen my zeal to return.

Our crew this year was in excess of 30 people, many of whom were traveling in from abroad and we wanted to all do a fete together so people could meet before mas...we also wanted the foreigners to experience different types of fetes, so a breakfast party had to be included, but I knew right away there was no way we were getting tickets for everyone to go to Vale. So a couple people suggested SSU and one friend knew someone on the committee that they could have organized tickets through. Now this friend was a die hard Vale-ite and it took some convincing to get her to give up her precious Vale to try something new. Tickets were $700 for singles and $600 each for a couples ticket (male/female or 2 females), so we tried to arrange everyone into couples to get the cheaper price, booked since December, collected money from everyone and paid in due course. So right away I liked the fact that no spy business was needed to secure entry!

Sunday come now and we reach de fete. We initially drove past looking for a park and we saw one set ah people standing up outside so we wondering if de fete is outside instead...it was real odd...there was this big blow up archway that blocked the view of the fete from the roadway, so you had to walk around this (and collect your cup) to get inside, so we couldn't really tell how de vibes was looking till we reach in. The fete in set up along a long roadway, with a drinks tent and a food tent on your right as you entered, then lots more food and drinks tents in people's yards. At first I was unimpressed that the regular bars had no Johnny, until I realized there was a special bar with Johnny Green and Black...HOORAY! Tossed out the 1919 and hit de Green right through with Coconut water :)

We grabbed breakfast first off and there was a huge variety to choose from. There was sada with about 6 different types of fillings, bake and shark, gourment doubles, accra, eggs and bacon with toast, waffles and pancakes, pelau, corn soup and other lunchtime foods if you wanted something heavier, huge strawberries and other fruit with a chocolate fountain...REAL FOOD!!! The drinks weren't bad either - various rums (1919, El Dorado, Black Label, Malibu and Single Barrel I think), Henessy, Smirnoff vodka, Johnny, shots, A martini bar, typical chasers and energy drinks, coffee and tea. I liked the fact that the bars were distributed throughout the venue so you were never far from one. The toilets were all located more towards the front of the fete, but I thought they should have been a bit off to the side as you had to walk past (as in right next to) some to get into the fete (and in the morning sun porta potty doh smell sweet). There was also a stage with bands, I think Dil E Nidan was performing when we got there, and Roy Cape came on later on, but in between the DJs had us going.

People were real enjoying themselves from the get go, although I didn't really like the fact that everything was happening on this one long roadway, so if you wanted to get to the stage area you had to walk up through everyone. I thought this fete would be even better if the feting part was just spaced out a tiny bit more. We never really had an issue for space in spite of this, even though there were alot of people there. There were a couple platforms that were set up as well and they gave a good view and good breeze once the sun came out. I believe there was some sort of VIP platform as well, although I'm not 100% sure of this. Now little did we know that this fete involved water and foam.....cause we were stationed on a platform right in front one of the foam cannons and at first it gives off this nice breeze so we say wha! fan and ting! NEXT thing yuh know all de girls skating off de platform cause water and foam start. That was hilarious.....doh mine after all de talk we talk about not getting wet we well jump up in de foam when we saw how much fun the guys were having....People just got 10 times happier once de foam and water start, it was utter jamishness and real good vibes :) I have some pics attached from the first foam session :) We got in on the second one and it was fun!! Plenty winery went on in de sun and foam and water.

All in all we stayed there for at least five hours, and left just before the fete really came to an end. There was NO TRAFFIC to leave and real kix from all the semi drunk people who were chipping and singing on their way to their rides. While we were leaving we were also getting reports on how great Vale was this year, but I have to say that I would definitely hit SSU next year again even though we heard all good things on Vale. I thought it was decent value for money, no hassle to arrange tickets, venue was cool although I prefer Vale's main fete area layout, and the crowd was about the same age group, although I would have known more people in Vale. But if your concern is to have a ball in a breakfast fete regardless of who around, eat and drink yuh belly full with bonus foam/water, I think SSU is a good option.

Ok I gone for now....will write about/continue on my YUMA experience in a bit...





Beach House Carnival 2011 Review #4

I went to Beach House for the first time last year because the tickets literally fell into my lap. We had a blast last year so this year we put that party on the top of our list.

First off, we thought getting the tickets were going to be easy since we registered with TFT since last summer and put a down payment. Then in February we paid the balance on the ticket and I thought we were in like Flynn.. Not so fast. About 1 week before the party I get an email saying that they would be refunding my money (which they did) because they had not tickets. They blamed this on Beach House management. Luckily for me over the years I have made acquaintances that have access to tickets so I was able to get 2 tickets when I got to Trinidad.

Due to all the problems getting tickets and the small premium I had to pay since I bought the tickets later, I decided I will be getting to this party EARLY so I can really enjoy it. My crew and I arrived at the party around 3pm. No line to get in but then did have to type in the number on the back of my ticket (beads of sweat for a second there). First drink of the day NUVO and the woman told us they have a lounge to the back.

First thing I notice the food is moved to the right front corner or the party. Also there are less comfy cabanas to lounge in while the sun is hot. All the seating seems to be moved near the food and on a raised patio structure. No sweat, we stake out the most remote and comfortable cabana (NUVO) and half of us went to get food.

When we arrived food lines were small and moving fast. People were really filling up on those portions. I got some Latin and Asian food for starters. We had a nice time in the NUVO cabana. Chatting with the girls and the main girl there Jamie. While the sun was out most of the party seemed to taking place under a large tree where everyone was crammed together. Nearby there was the Rum Cocktails Angostura cabana, Moet had a large bar, Bailey's had a booth, Patron had a cabana, and there was also two other very large bars at the party. Again Cold Stone was there and there was a very energetic snow cone dude who was dancing up a storm. For seconds I got salad and also hefty portions of shrimp for everyone in my group to snack on. No one in the party was really dancing in the main section due to the oppressive sun. So we stayed put since now our NUVO lounge (LOL) had become party headquarters. We made the decision when the sun went down we would abandon our lounge and go down to the grass..

Well that is really when the party began. Everyone was dancing and singing having a great time. Jaeger Bombs and shots of Patron appeared out of nowhere. I decided to go get some more food and by this time the food lines were a MESS.. I would say this is around 5 or 6. This is where I saw patrons FIGHTING (are we in Africa or starving its only food it's not that serious), due to people cutting the line. Some folks were waiting in line for 1 hour!!! I decided to go to the shortest line which was the doubles man. He ran out and even more chaos.

As usual the patrons were all very fashionably dressed girls and guys looked hot! Lots of eye candy as usual of all ages, shapes, races, and sizes. One note about the outfits, I am glad I didn't wear that Christian Boucad dress I almost bought from Indulge because I saw like 3 girls wearing it. I stuck to my fav DVF silk maxi dress.

I enjoyed my time this year but my only complaint would be to return to the layout of 2010. Due to the vibes, drinks and food and from my experience I give this part an A-. I drank so much Moet and NUVO I was sweating it. So I feel I definitely got my money's worth. So much so the driver we came with didn't leave thirsty ;) I would definitely go back next time I'm in TT for Carnival.

TriniPrincessa

Beach House Carnival 2011 Review #3

Hi Saucy,
I have been attending beach house since inception and in my opinion they have only gotten better. Moving to Couva was an excellent move in my opinion. Being an early bird is definitely worth it. I am from the east and my sisters and I decided that we leave home 12.45 to pick up a close by friend and get gas. We even made a wrong turn, got lost and were able to arrive just on time.

There was a small line to get into the fete but nothing to damper my spirits. I was embraced with not only my favourite Johnnie Walker Blue booth but JW Gold and this new Nuvo drink. By the time we got to the food section I was totally blown away by the lovely ambiance of the newly improved eating area. We were greeted with a lovely hostess who distributed food menus to us.
Most lines were free so my group decided to split up and take 2 plates of food so that we can share. The food was FANTASTIC. I was concerned about the doubles man serving at that time of the day. I felt that the doubles should start to serve closer to the evening period. I was able to eat twice at the fete.

I must admit that the lines for food at 7pm were long and people looked frustrated. I also saw a fight for food which was very disturbing. The fete was scheduled to finish at 8pm and at 7pm there was still something to munch on. The additional time added to the fete was an excellent move on the management team and I truly enjoyed the music and the vibes. There was always champagne for me and JW for my friends.

The traffic to come out was horrendous but at that time I was in such a happy mood I didn’t mind it (my vacation had started). I do recommend that perhaps if they provide a shuttle service to take people to the venue should be something to consider and I also saw many people opted for hiring maxis to take them to and fro. Another recommendation is to definitely have the doubles people serve later in the fete as well as the corn soup ( I remember that was part of the Caribbean food section).

BH will definitely see me next year and I can’t wait.
I GIVE THEM AN A++++++++++

YUMA Trinidad Carnival 2011 - Review #5

Distribution-
The distribution process was very organized and the staff was very friendly, professional and accommodating. It was obvious that each person was handpicked for the job. I LOVED the Monday wear. The shorts were very cute and comfortable. Yuma steered away from the spandex shorts that had become the norm for Monday wear. The shorts were sporty, a heather brown color with white trim around the edges. The white tank top was made of a cotton/spandex blend that didn’t stretch out of shape when you perspired or moved around. On the front of the tank top in rhinestones was the zodiac symbol representing the section you were in. The back was a mesh material that was breathable and see-through so that you could be creative with what you wore underneath. From the branded boxes that the costumes were distributed in, to the colorful lenticular printed wristbands and the professionally designed/printed informational booklet, it seemed as though no expense was spared in building the Yuma brand.

Security/Trucks-
From what I observed, security was on point. In addition to the security team that worked the perimeter of the band, there was also a special ops team that walked through the band making sure that we were safe and checking wristbands, throwing any stormers out. The problem I had with the special ops team is that they moved through the band in packs of about 5 with total disregard at times, just barging their way through. The band had 2,500 people and 17 trucks which is usually about the number of trucks that a band twice the size of Yuma would have. I think every other truck was a drink truck so I never had to go far to get a drink. The bartenders provided fast service and there was a wide variety of liquor, fruit juices and soft drinks.

Monday-
Food trucks were handing out breakfast when I arrived and continued to hand out small plates throughout the early afternoon until lunch. At the lunch stop, there were several tents serving food and it wasn’t clear what the difference was between what each tent was serving because there was no signage to indicate so. I just took my chances and stood on one of the lines and asked for a chicken lunch. The food distribution was relatively fast, the portions were big and the food was pretty good. Getting in and out of the lunch area was difficult as there was only one narrow entrance. I had an amazing time on the road Monday… As me and my crew moved from truck to truck the music at each truck was on point. Yuma did not cross the stage on Monday and that was fine with me because I had a nice road experience. Although we didn’t cross the stage, the DJ kept saying that we were heading for the stage… that created an unnecessary sense of false hope for those who really did want to cross on Monday.

Tuesday-
I loved my Taurus costume, it was absolutely gorgeous but in some ways it just wasn’t practical… The metal wire on the backpack that held the large rhinestones was a total pain in the ass because they kept getting tangled in other people’s headpieces and costumes and especially in other Taurus backpacks. My best friend and I spent a good portion of the day untangling ourselves from each other. We couldn’t stand too close to each other or even dance near each other. The constant entanglement caused the rhinestones on the end of the wire frame to come off and a very sharp metal edge was exposed that could have injured anyone passing too closely by. Also, the setting for the large rhinestones that hung right down in front of the waistband wreaked havoc on everyone’s tights… I’ve never before seen a section where everyone’s tights were so ravaged by midday. I ripped my tights off just before going on stage because they looked horrible.

Tuesday was a mess from the time we hit Frederick Street. We stood absolutely still for at least 2.5 hours without moving. We hadn't eaten lunch yet so I had some Royal Castle because I was starved and the food truck ran out of the small food plates that they were serving in the morning, they only had bananas left. When we finally did move we were only inching up and it was painfully frustrating and difficult to deal with because the band was so tight. Vendors lined Frederick Street before the savannah and they took up the whole sidewalk and would get upset and cuss when people were passing too close to their stalls. At this time trucks had to move to the right so we could enter the savannah so this left very little space on the road with the trucks and masqueraders being side by side. We were completely sandwiched between the vendors and the spectators that were walking in both directions on both sides of the band. At this point, I was ready to just dash away my backpack because it became an annoyance trying to pass through the crowd without becoming entangled in someone else’s backpack and just having to protect it from other people who were just pushing it out of their way to pass. My husband took it from me and held it above his head while we both fought our way to the front of the band to try and get some space to breathe and also to find my section which was towards the front of the band. There was a nice cloud cover all day that kept the temperature bearable but as soon as we started to get closer to the savannah the sun came out with a vengeance which made the sardine situation worse. I really hope carnival officials address this issue with vendors being on Frederick Street next year… it was ridiculous.

So we finally made it to the front of the band where my section was. We got to the savannah and were waiting for the band in front of us to exit the stage. The constant partying for several days straight and being on the road for 2 days started to take a toll on my feet and I started feeling a shooting pain in my leg. I popped some Aleve and started praying that it would kick in soon because I didn’t come this far not to cross the stage. I don't know if it was the adrenaline running through my body or that my prayers had been answered but by the time we got to the entrance of the stage there was no pain. The 2 sections that went before us, their music truck played Iwer's "Come to Meh".... he made a version for Yuma that was HOT... but I still wanted to cross to “Advantage”. Our truck rolled up and once again my prayers were answered.... STAMP ON IT! STAMP ON IT! STAMP ON IT! They let Taurus frontline loose and the rest is history.... I had the best time ever on dat stage!!! Ah stamp, trample, ramfle and wine on dat stage until my backpack come off. I couldn't be bothered to put it back on so I started waving it in the air. When I came off the stage a little girl asked me for my headpiece. I took my backpack and put it on her back and her face just lit up, she was so excited and happy... that made me feel good about not throwing away my backpack earlier. By the time we crossed the stage and made our way to the designated lunch area, the food was cold and it was very dark because the area had no lighting so it was hard to see anything or find anyone if you were looking for them. Lunch should definitely have been scheduled before crossing the stage. Although crossing the stage was an amazing experience, I really don’t have to cross the stage again next year if it means inching up Frederick Street for hours and hours like sardines in the hot sun waiting to do so. This really really took away from the road experience on Tuesday.

Summary-
Overall, I think that Yuma did a great job, especially for a first year band. No band is perfect and there will always be obstacles and hurdles to deal with, none of which were a deal breaker for me. Carnival is about endurance and tolerance… Go hard or stay home. I had an amazing C2K11 experience with Yuma. I’m optimistic that they will take masqueraders’ feedback and make Yuma even better next year. As long as the costumes are hot again, with Yuma is where I’ll be for C2K12.

TRIBE Way of the Warrior Review #8

Ok so this was not my first time playing mas but it was my first time in tribe. I opted for tribe because their service is said to be oh so great and they had rave reviews from my peers.

So registration was no problem, went smooth. I went the route of a committee member. I actually saw my costume in real life months after I registered when although closed Dean Ackin opened the mas camp for a friend and I to see our costumes since the website had they were opened on Saturdays, so thanks to Dean for being courteous. At that point I loved my costume; it was perfect for my complexion.

Collection dates are posted and I'm on Wednesday. I'm working in the east so I made sure on leave on the dot of four, fight up for a St. Ann’s taxi because it's Carnival week and is pressure for transport everywhere. Reach Cascadia round 5.45 ish...relllllll ppl. I took the rainbow coloured ticket as I had a balance and waited. So numbers are calling, I'm hearing rainbow numbers later than mine which made no sense, when I asked the burly guy at the desk (who is apparently a section leader’s husband) he said they called the numbers in the wrong order and they would call mine in the next batch so I say cool.

Seven o'clock reach, haven't heard any rainbow numbers since then. While I was waiting I took a chit for my friend in X'ian who had missed her day (the blue chits) and was waiting on her arrival. Asked the guy again what was taking so long he said there were a lot of people in cash and they were waiting for it to clear up. My friend finally reach (she went Carlton Savannah LOL) I gave her the blue chit and she went inside. While waiting on her I ask again, same story. At this point I am steaming and I ready to tell Tribe I want back the 3 grand I already paid. She came out about 20 minutes later; I ask her what it looked like in there, things sticky awah? She was like no it hardly had people. I'm like so was there a line to pay? She said no you just sit and they call you and there weren't a lot of people. So I am now officially f******* pissed!!! She's like here take my chit because they didn’t even collect it and go back inside, I'll just pretend I lost something since I have my costume. So we followed behind some people who were being escorted up. At this point my friend still pretending she lost something lol. When the boy came back I said to him I'm collecting today, is either I collect my costume or I get a refund. I was escorted to the payment centre and my friend left. The payment centre had 5 ppl for the most! The girl for cash only, had no-one! And she took all of 2 minutes to process me! There were like 20 people when I went to collect the actual costume! I left at 8.30!

Can someone tell me why the burly guy was lying to people and saying that cash was full!!! I have worked in a mas camp before so I know how collection goes the main reason people wait is either they can't find your costume, your costume isn't ready or they have a long line at cash which still wouldn't halt collection it would just move slower. If you have more than 50 people waiting outside at least take the ones who paying cash and let them pay off and wait because I met that girl bbming! Then take people in groups of 10. If you really had a distribution problem you need to placate the masqueraders, apologize for the wait, explain to them via an announcement what is happening and continue to do so until you can resolve the problem. I can say at that mas camp I worked they personally apologized to masqueraders and offered them a drink while they waited. I felt like Tribe couldn’t care less about their masqueraders, if you have to wait you have to wait. I also feel the competent people who had Tribe's distribution running smoothly are with Bliss. I really felt like slavery days and my forefathers worked too hard to have people treat me so especially when I paid $3875 of my hard earned money!!!! WHO D HELL IS TRIBE!!!

My costume looked good, bra fit, when ah tell yuh it fit! But carnival Sunday things start to fall off and I had to pull out my glue gun, ah steupsin fuh so! I had planned to wear my bra on Monday but I opted against in case any thing drop off in d streets never to be seen again, I figure that's why half of tribe masqueraders don't wear their bras on Monday.

Road experience was cool, not great, cool. I echo the sentiments of the reviewer about running behind the truck and I missed passing on the avenue

Food, the caterers served lunches to security before the masqueraders! What the hell!! That's crap. The costume design was a good idea but not practical. My arm is bruised for my wire adornments and I have bruising from where my waistband dug into my hips not to mention the hooking up of your stockings with other masqueraders waist bands! Imagine walking through d band behind your friends and your stockings hook up and when you look up again everyone gone! Not pleasant lol

Tribe you need to shape up, what you ride on are your loyalists but you need to revert to your former acclaimed glory. Costumes prices continue to rise and you need to give people value. Tribe your service as collection was poor and you made me eat from Boomerang caterers (yuck) but though the band lacked a certain vibe the masqueraders themselves are a warm bunch of strangers :)

Oh I have to say when I went to alter my waistband that was too small everyone was super helpful and friendly. I also have to say that it was different bunch of people working and I was escorted by a bliss person so....

N.B. Tribe please don't hire young men between the ages of 20 to 24 to be your face of service, they willing but they not ready.

Ay every band has hiccups but Tribe you cost the most so you really should have the least

Spice 2011 Review

In 2010, I played with Tribe, but to be absolutely honest, I chose Spice because some of my friends couldn’t get into Tribe and we all wanted to play together. We had the option of going with Yuma, but being that it was a brand new band I wasn’t exactly sure how organized or prepared they may have been. I know it’s silly of me to depend on the band to make my carnival experience, but I’m a bit anal when it comes to knowing that I’m in good hands and jumping with a group that knows what they’re doing. With that said, you should know that I was extremely skeptical when my friends and I booked with Spice especially after all the horrendous reviews they received last year and more importantly after having the Tribe experience in 2010--I was afraid I would be doing much comparison on the road. When booking, I took a huge gulp and assumed that Spice learned their lesson and would be better this year.

Here are my thoughts:

Registration: A+

My group and I chose to go with the section Vines of Syrah. There were 5 of us (all from overseas) and it wasn’t hard for any of us to purchase online. We paid the deposit down and later on in the year paid off the rest in full by calling Spice directly to make a payment. The girl I spoke to was very helpful. She took my account and credit card information down to which I received an email that same day with my new invoice that showed a zero balance.

We also got a huge deduction off of our Hilton hotel stay when we mentioned that we were playing in Spice. That was a huge plus for us as everyone knows Carnival can get pretty expensive. Any little discounts can be a great help, so thank you for that!

Costume Distribution: A-

We didn’t pick up our costume on the day our section was being distributed simply because we hadn’t yet arrived into Trinidad. We arrived at the Hilton on Saturday and even though it wasn’t our pick up date, Spice members were more than helpful with getting us our costume. The wait for costume pick up was a little long (we waited for an hour) but a busy day like Saturday they still managed to get through with everyone as quickly as possible. My only irk about the day of costume pick up was that there was a huge line at the costume adjustment center with only 2 or 3 girls working slowly—that took me another hour just to get my costume fixed. Some of the jewels were falling off, nothing major but I should have known better to bring my own glue gun and crazy glue.

Costume: B+

We all played backline and though we loved absolutely everything about our costume, we thought the headpiece didn’t compliment the rest of the costume as it should have. While other sections in the band complained that their head piece was too heavy, I felt like ours was a bit too small OR could have had a little more ‘pizzazz’ to it.


Carnival Monday: A

Spice’s meet up time was scheduled for 9:00 AM but we met with them around 11 because from our past experience we knew that although the bands expect you to meet up a lot earlier; you never cross the stage until a few hours after. Especially after this year with the new Stage, we were almost sure there was going to be a bottleneck wait. We couldn’t have met up with the band at a more perfect time, because only about half an hour later and we were crossing the stage. The rest of the day went flawless. My friends and I had too much fun on the road. The drinks were pouring, the music was on point and people were looking fine!

Carnival Tuesday: B-

The meet up time was 6:00 AM. Wayyyy too early boy. We didn’t show up until 8:30 because again, we knew that nothing ever leaves on time. Crossing that stage and roaming free for all to see is the best experience ever! But the meet up time isn’t the reason for the B- grade. Here’s why:
Later that afternoon, the DJ’s made the announcements for us to get in our sections for the judging point. They did a good job repeating a couple of times that we needed to find our section. So we get into our section, but where’ the DJ truck now?? At this point I was a bit inebriated so my timing is off, it could have been an hour or two but all I know is that I was one of the last 3 sections in the band (I believe it was Bordeaux, Vines and Tuscany at the back) and absolutely no music for a long period of time! WTH? We crossed the judging point and didn’t even know we crossed it because there wasn’t any music. We marched on the synergy stage to yup..no music again. Can you tell me how this happened? After we were free to move around from our section we went behind the DJ Lenox truck, but to not have music while crossing the judging point or to not even tell us we’re crossing should be a HUGE carnival Taboo. Please fix this next year Spice. One thing I should mention-- met a few Spice members on the road who were really REALLY nice to ask us if we were having a good time and if there was anything they could have done to make the experience better (Think it was Sandra, she was wearing the pink costume). I was highly impressed with that and if no other bands are doing that, then please take note other bands.

Food and Drinks: A

I was happy with both the food selection and the drinks on the road. The lines at lunch weren’t long at all and the food was really tasty. On Monday I went with Italian which was delish and on Tuesday went with the international cuisine which consisted of chicken and rice.The drinks truck hooked up my cup with lots of liquor and no issues of running out…well, I should say they didn’t run out of what I was drinking—Hennessy.

Suggestions:
1. I would like to see Spice host an after party on Carnival Monday and/or Tuesday.

2. It was nice crossing next to Tribe at the end of the evening. As one of the DJ’s said that night, this was the first time in History bypassing another band. I well wine up with some Tribe masqueraders while chipping and it felt like a unity as opposed to a competition. I would like to see that again next year.

Rooms for improvement:

WeeWee Truck: D
There were no attendants on the truck to ensure that the toilets were kept clean. There was literally one man there just making sure that you were getting on and off the truck in a safe manner, but there were barely any tissues to wipe your hand and no amenities/refreshments for the ladies. It was really dark in the stalls where I couldn’t see anything, and there was urine all around the toilet seat and on the floor. Spice, this can’t happen—it stunk really badly--hundreds of drunk people on de road, they will aim and miss. All I ask is for a little cleanup help or at least a light in the stalls to see what we doing.

Adjustment center: B-
I gotta give credit to how patient these fix-it girls were when dealing with vexation from falling jewels or too big costumes. After waiting for close to an hour to get help, I have to admit they did a good job with fixing whatever issues I had. I’d just like to suggest more helpers on busy days such as Saturday and Sundays since nobody want spend their afternoon waiting on line to fix their costumes. J

Music trucks at judging point: F
This was something I already touched base on, but it has to be said again. You just can’t leave the last 3 sections hanging like that without music, especially when crossing the judging point. It hurts to give a bad grade but I’m confident that Spice will overcome this hiccup next year.

Security: C
I felt as if the security could have done a better job. There were times where I saw on lookers in our crowd, with no spice wristband but yet the security did nothing about it, or just didn’t even notice. Spice security, you guys need to be on top just a little more! I felt they didn’t even know how to handle the ropes? My head almost got taken off until my friend moved me out of the way quickly. At one point, the DJ even made an announcement directed to the security that they needed to do their jobs. If the DJ have to tell you that, then you know something wrong.

In conclusion
I had an amazing time with Spice and I'd definitely play with them again. I didn’t feel as if we were overcrowded or jamming up on the person next to us. We all had our own space on the road and it felt great. I had an incredibly amazing time with Tribe last year, but after playing with Spice this year, I learned that I’m not one for extremely large amounts of people on the road as I loved the space and pace of this band. There are still certain things that need improvement (as I’ve mentioned above) but they are very necessary improvements to make the band better. Overall, I will give Spice an A- and wish them the best for 2012 and beyond!

Ronnie And Caro "Survivors" Review

Costume Collection: A+++

I played in the Go Green section and collected my costume on the designated day and it didn’t take me more than 15 minutes, even though I had a balance to pay off. The reps were very professional and courteous and they opened my box and counted every piece of my costume including my Monday wear (tee-shirt & hot shorts). I unfortunately received a smaller tee-shirt but only realised it after I got home (my fault), I called the mas camp on Monday and they told me come in on any day to exchange it, when I did go in, I spent less than 2 minutes. Two beads fell from my costume when I tried it on but u could not even see where they came from so it did not disrupt my spirit

Carnival Monday: A++
When R& C says to reach for a specific time, REACH FOR THAT TIME. My friends and I got to the meeting point at around 10:20 and the band had left 10 on the dot, we amongst others only realised the band had left already a few minutes before 11 so we had to hustle to catch up. We caught up to them on Park Street in front Globe cinema. I grade them an A because not many bands if any leave on time.

Snacks & Lunch on Carnival Monday: A++

In the letter in our package, we were advised lunch will only be served after we cross the savannah stage, our rest point was in the Savannah opposite Pollo Tropical. Snacks were served, true to word, when we crossed the South Quay stage. Monday's lunch consisted of Chinese Fried Chicken, Veggies and Fried Rice, it was delicious. The snacks consisted of a variety of pies and liquor soaked prunes (i just love those :))

Carnival Tuesday: Grade A++

The letter said breakfast will be served from 6:30 am, as we will cross the South Quay stage at 7. We crossed the stage after 8 when the judges arrived and it was up Frederick Street for the Savannah.

Lunch on Carnival Tuesday: Grade C

We were served pigeon peas and rice, green salad, baked chicken and macaroni salad. The rice was sappy as though someone had thrown a cup of water on it, the salad also was wet, I’m told the macaroni salad was full of mayonnaise and was not tasting good at all; the chicken was the only thing I ate on Tuesday. I even heard people cursing, that food had finished and they had not gotten any.

Security: A+++++++++

Yes the security took their "lil wines" but they had us safe in the band, some of these guys acted better than police - they surely protected the masqueraders.

My only disappointment on the road Monday and Tuesday was IP cut in front of us on Park Street on Monday and Tribe did the same on Tuesday, causing a band that was on Frederick Street since minutes to 9 to cross the stage minutes to 2 in the afternoon. Wasnt these a specific route to be followed to the Savannah???? But this I cannot blame R&C for. My overall grade for R&C is A+++++ and I will play with them again & again.

R& C4ever
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