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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Carnival Tuesday The Saucy Review – YUMA

My costume was PERFECT in every way. Detailed as the prototype and the gems were reinforced with stitching so nothing fell off before or after playing mas all day. I have my costume boxed up post Carnival with no missing parts. Collecting my costume was also hassle free but I was in the group of masqueraders that collected early and as soon as collection opened I was there! Personally I thought my section looked the BEST in the entire band, of course I may be biased but we were stunning under the sunlight.

Compared to TRIBE YUMA is smaller than but not as small as Bliss. The size was comfortable as I was able to find friends throughout the day and made my way easily from the back of the band to the front with little hassle. I had room to maneuver my costume on the road and never felt as if I was being crushed by a mob even on Aripiata Avenue.
Food and Drinks
Drink selection was impressive at YUMA, they did not have a listing of the drinks on the truck but you could see all the bottles of various alcohol lined up. My two drinks on the road Johnnie and Nuvo were available until around 5:30PM or thereabouts. Johnnie finished first then Nuvo right after.

Personally I did not have any food issues as I decided to stick with the snack plates from Monday as they were ideal light fare for the road. Started my day with a fruit cup, had a snack when I exited the Savannah after crossing the stage and I snacked instead of having a boxed lunch.

However, after arriving at the rest stop early, secured a blanket and space under a shaded tree, I was able to observe the break down in orderly line up for food to chaos. Of course those who arrived early had no problems getting lunch though there was not much variety; jerk, Creole and Hakka. The Creole menu was rice, macaroni pie and stewed chicken which everyone in my group had. It didn’t look that appetizing to be honest and it was missing some vegetables and/or salad to balance out all those carbs. Those who had it said it was fine as they were hungry.

The problems started when the Creole food tent ran out of boxed lunch and were boxing on site! They also ran out of chicken. I also saw people being served from the side of the tent as opposed to lining up and there was a shortage of servers as YUMA staff in costume was serving lunch as well. I think that YUMA needs to utilize the space properly if they are going to continue to use CIC grounds. 

Way more tents are needed for masqueraders to sit under or get umbrellas. And there should be more than ONE food tent serving the same menu; for example you can have two Hakka tents, two Creole tents and two jerk tents. Also the menu needs some tweaking and a light option for lunch should be introduced for people like me who do not want a belly filled with rice to hit the road post rest stop.

The good thing is that we rested for an hour and a half, I checked the time, and once the music started up masqueraders were rearing to go! I did not use the fix up tent at the rest stop but some more amenities could be added like a cool down zone. We actually passed Bliss still resting even though they were ahead of us and crossed the stage before YUMA.

I was between truck #1 and truck # 5 and I preferred truck #5 even though truck #1 gave us all three road march contenders to cross the stage with. At some point in time going through St James we got a techno mix; odd choice for Carnival Tuesday but the bands are doing this more and more these days. I had no complaints with the music, if I didn’t like what one truck was playing I simply moved to another.
YUMA followed a very similar route to Bliss last year so we got to the stage early on Tuesday which is always excellent! By 11:30AM masqueraders were already having lunch. I was impressed that we kept moving even though I saw road management working extra hard to get the trucks to move faster and fill the gaps between masqueraders and music especially when turning corners.

We went through St James, down Mucurapo Road and hit the Avenue. Crossed two more judging points and hit Tragerete Road where I left the band. For me Ariapita was not as congested as in years gone by, I fell in behind a truck and had more than enough room to actually jump up. Without feeling as if I was being crushed.

I had no complaints of service from costume collection to on the road. YUMA staff were very helpful the only thing I could make an issue about was the secrecy surrounding the meeting point for the band but I did get an email and Facebook message giving the starting point. Service from the bar staff was quick , never had to wait for a drink and the girls on the snack trucks stocked me up with a variety of snacks when I wanted.

Saw for myself security doing sweeps throughout the band to check for I.D. Anyone without one, even in costume was escorted out of the band. This continued all day as my friend was booted as she came to say hi to me. When the President joined the band there was even more security since I was close to his mobile VIP truck. Police with machine guns and grenades…..really?!

Ok I am going to be brutally honest here; YUMA was way LESS Brooklyn than I had heard they would be. Now I do not know what “Brooklyn” means to be honest, maybe it is a code for the behavior of the masqueraders but I kept hearing that YUMA is so BROOKLYN from other people before I decided to play. 

Well the masqueraders I met and saw on the road were all a friendly bunch out to have a good time. Yes the band may not be as diverse ethnically as others bands, let’s be real here YUMA has less of the red/curly haired/Indian/Chinese/mixed masqueraders than other popular bands BUT that is and should never be an issue even though I know for some people it is, not for me however since I fit into none of the aforementioned stereotypes. 
The friendliness was evident on how many random men greeted me with a wine…. let’s pause here to acknowledge the fine specimen of YUMA men… and kept moving. If that is “vibes”, this thing I have been trying to quantify for so long I can vouch for the fact that YUMA has vibes overflowing! I also saw many people that I know who made the switch from other bands and people who I know socially as well. Granted not as many people as if I played with TRIBE or Bliss but I did not feel I was playing in a  band without seeing a familiar face.

Overall I was very glad I decided to try something new for Carnival 2012. What I have come to realize is that as a masquerader you need to come out of a comfort zone and see what else is out there and stop being afraid that the experience would not be the same especially if your current band is not satisfying you on some level. That was me, band loyalists until I decided to leave TRIBE but didn't stray too far as I went to Bliss. Everyone I spoke to who played in different bands this year all seemed to have an equally great time; Island People, Fantasy, Spice, TRIBE, Bliss... so what is it that makes one band seem to be offering something vastly different from the other if you have not experienced another?

In all this the lessoned learned is that we masqueraders have choices and that bands are now becoming very competitive. Each band is narrowing the gap between what they claim to be the best experience until it is going to be that experience is standard and something else differentiates one band from the other. For me this year I went with costume and I am extremely happy that I did as I managed to have the combination of a fantastic road experience with a fabulous costume; what else could I ask for?

2013 is going to bring even more choices, more options as people have been asking me if I am going to stay with YUMA or return to Bliss. Honestly it depends on what the latter brings in terms of costuming as I was grossly disappointed in Bliss costumes for 2012. Seamless perfection on the road is what Bliss is excellent at, however, but sometimes you need unpredictable imperfection to spice things up; perfection can sometimes be boring.

Counting down the days until band launch!


peterfrank12345 said...

I know she is going to get blasted for comments about race but I think she did the best she could to not try to offend anyone. i appreciate the brutal honesty. great review.

Trinidesignz said...

Very well written & informative article on your views playing with YUMA. Thank you for the read.

HQ said...

Hey girl...great review. So glad you enjoyed your experience.

When ppl say "Yuma is so Brooklyn", it simply means there are a lot of ppl from Bk in the band. Some folk love that. Some folk come to Trini to see new faces and meet new ppl. So it all depends on the experience you are looking for. BK folk are bacchanalists and love to have fun, so it can be a very good thing.


The overview is basically covered well, however just a few things to add... Let me first really commend YUMA on their costume delivery.. the costumes were also well made and replicated what was being advertised... THANKS FOR THAT YUMA!!! Overheard loaddddsss of security personal complain about 'dog' treatment from YUMA's officials though... Not sure of the fact surrounding what was being said, one complaint being that they were not allowed to ask for even 'water' from the drink trucks... My friends and i often took bottles of water to random security personnel for which they were very grateful... Another thing was thr distribution of food... the line was ridiculous for which i didnt get any lunch on Monday... NOT A GOOD THING WITH BEING DIABETIC.. thank Goodness that i had relatives spectating and was eventually fed. One last thing was the service of the 'wee wee' TRUCK.. why not have 2 next time??? The line was the orderly thing to do yes BUT with that amount of masqueraders for 1 tidy truck CAN YOU IMAGINE THE RIDICULOUS STATE IT WAS IN??? Not to mention the waiting time in the line??? Nevertheless, the party was beautiful and the band looked lovely on the road.. Things will look even brighter once YUMA UP it's service so that when us masqueraders press REWIND our feeling will be to press PLAY again in the future... Hope the tips helps to improve your intentions...


shells said...

As always a good review Saucy, covered just about everything. Sis and friends only issues were as follows: 1) their belt (Angry Birds) was scanty, 2) Belt shredded stockings as soon as it was put on 3) lunch on Monday was an absolute disaster.

They had no issues on Tuesday with food, but they said they went early so that may be key.

2013 will be a year of new things for me as well :-)

Pink Team said...

yea i feel you on the angry birds belt and the shredding.. hell if you bent over to tie your shoelace, the bra and the belt did a double team on your stockings... my friend said my stockings were torn up lol... the worst she has ever seen... well my complaint was that the yuma monday wear was relatively cheap and it showed.. my shorts had a hole before i even wore it... then on the road i saw numerous masqueraders with holes in their panties.. not a good look, the vibes was there, the drinks were flowing, that monday incident where the girl got her foot run over by the truck was unfortunate.. however, there were some crazy stormers in the band that really made me wonder what was going around as on one occasion i witnessed a female security guard giving up on holding the banner, apparently angry at the masqueraders... that food fiasco on monday and tuesday was atrocious, monday more so, when people literally fought over food, i made up my mind there that Tribe was it.. I had heard before that YUMA was simply Island People with a different name, and in some respects it was... the racial makeup as you stated and the general vibe... i did see a whole bunch of Brooklyn masqueraders in the band and that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how deeply involved you are in the "soca circle" in nyc... to each his own... I like Tribe's Last Lap.. ended the night right.... YUMA is still a baby band so they will get there soon.. next year it's Tribe....

Carnivalcocoa said...

Thank you Saucy for a well-rounded review. As I didn't go home for carnival this year, these reviews plus me missing mas just made me want 2013 to come tomorrow.

I'd also like to commend Saucy for posing the question of what makes a band different or "better" than another. To me it's all relative as well as slight differences because EVERYBODY offering services. It just comes down to what a person wants: some want noteriety of being in an "it" band and to rub shoulders with "society" folks, some just want fun and vibes, some want big mas or a banging costume.
As I was reading the review, I saw some similarities to IP like the snacks plates, creole food, and the Brooklyn crowd. Ronnie & Caro has a rep for excellent snacks, food, and drinks runners, as does Wee Int'l with good food. So really what's the diff? Just one amenity or two.

And experiences are all relative too. I had awesome times in bands that people swear up and down are the worst, and I've had a half-assed carnival in a band that people swear is the best. And I know I'm not alone in that experience.

Neka said...

I don't know what being Brooklyn means even though I am from Brooklyn. I believe what another person said about that is that it definitely DOES have something to do with how familiar you are with the soca circles in BK. Since I can count on one hand how many fetes I attend in BK in any given year, I don't know the difference. I enjoyed the vibes with YUMA but the meal distribution was a hot mess. I ended up getting food from the road BOTH days because I refused to stand on a line for food that I heard wasn't even all that good. My experience playing with TRIBE two years ago had me spoiled in the food distribution aspect. Drinks were indeed flowing, BUT I often had to ask the bartenders to tilt their hands a little more so that I could get a proper buzz with each drink. And I also didn't appreciate the fact that they ran out of Grey Goose each day. Steups. Anyhow, I am not a band loyalist and will play with whomever I so choose when I return to TnT for Carnival. Once my friends and I determine that we like the costumes a particular band displays, we usually go with that. I think YUMA has a lot of work to do, but I also realize that this was only their 2nd year. I just hope they take people's comments into consideration because I know plenty people that will be emailing them their reviews of this year's experience.

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