Thursday, July 28, 2011

Questions and Answers: Stormers & RespectTheMas campaign

2 more days until the parade!
For my last Q&A of the 2K11 season the topic up for discussion is STORMERS. In previous posts I have briefly touched on this topic but with the parade drawing near I think it is a perfect time to elaborate on it.

 (Prior to the Q&A as usual here is my disclaimer: The answers below is what I would say. If you were to ask someone else you may get a different response and that is ok. The intention of the Q&A is to provide information in addition to encourage collaboration and discussion of ideas/views.)

Now onto the Q&A

Q: Who or what are stormers?
A: The term Stormers does not refer to anything weather related. lol. It is a term used by many to describe people who make their way into your band yet technically should not be there.

Q: How to identify a Stormer?
A: Stormers in your band can be easily identified by observing...

Is he/she wearing a costume, your band's official wristband, t-shirt, or  identification?
If not, then most likely he/she is a stormer.

Q: How do Stormers get into the bands?
A: Methods used include jumping fences, slipping through barricades, masqueraders invite their  friends/family/significant other, etc into the band

Q: Where does Storming usually occur?
A: Storming most frequently occurs on the Lakeshore.

Q: Should something be done?
A: Personally I think Storming is an issue that should be addressed. Being in a band that contains 2,000 + masqueraders is congested enough, and Stormers magnify the congestion. What is worse is some stormers have no respect for the mas. For example last year my costume had wings with long feathers, and could you believe a stormer told me to get out of the way... That I should watch out because my feathers had accidentally poked him... He then proceeded to push my feathers as he walked by. Whoa!

First and foremost, Stormer you should not even be in the band! So you suggesting me to get out of your way is a problem. 
Second there is no need to push my feathers out of your way... a simple excuse me would have worked. Third hard earned money was paid for the costume and to enjoy playing mas, so personally I feel if he had wanted to be in the mix so badly he should have paid his money and got a costume, marshal or be security (Some bands offer last minute deals on costumes so options are available)

Many bands have security and marshals which help to address the issue of Stormers. Last year I witnessed a security man from my band personally escort about 20 stormers out! lol  It was quite funny actually to watch, because it was like he was on a mission. No stormer could escape him.
In previous years, another method that worked well was the hype man on the truck ask the dj to turn down the music. (The congestion at that point was really bad) The hype man proceeded to start a catchy chant "Show Dem Outta De Band" and all the masqueraders joined in. I guess 1000+ masqueraders chanting can be a bit intimidating, lol because those Stormers proceeded to leave.

Overall, everyone should have the right to enjoy themselves at the parade!
 What I think isn't fair is when the actions of others infringe on that enjoyment.
If you aren't playing mas this year, no worries you will still have a great time: There's people, food, sights, sounds... You can still jam down and "Wine to the Side" (just keep it behind the barricade lol ; )

A new initiative started by a friend which relates to toady's Q&A Topic is the RespectTheMasCampaign.
Here is information obtained from their facebook page:!/event.php?eid=120122681404378

"It seems like every year those of us who choose to play mas at Caribana get more & more annoyed and frustrated at having to push our way through thousands of people who aren't playing mas, trying to jump up with the band. This year, let's try to make a difference.

Social Media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, LiveProfile, BBM, etc.) has the ability to reach just about everybody, if not directly, indirectly and instead of using it solely to promote parties or other random events, it's time we used the power of social media to make a positive change in our community.

Respect The Mas is a campaign that transcends mas bands, groups and any external affiliations in an attempt to make Caribana a more enjoyable experience for everyone - masqueraders & spectators alike.

The idea is simple. Tell a friend to tell a friend, just respect those who have paid to enjoy their experience. When you look around, most of the people interfering with the band are people who you know, or who probably know somebody you know. By numbers alone, if every masquerader just told their friends "please just stand off to the side when the band is coming through," we would have reached over 90% of the people who effectively ruin the Caribana experience for the masqueraders.

EVERY masqueraders has the right to feel annoyed by the fact that after spending money to join the band and enjoy the day with fellow masqueraders, you have to literally "fight" for space with people who haven't. Well, instead of whining, cursing and complaining and complaining, let's actually DO something about it. It doesn't take much. Word of mouth goes a LONG way. ALL masqueraders from EVERY band just tell a friend to please Respect The Mas.

Even if you aren't playing mas this year or even attending the parade - invite your friends to this page just to raise awareness. ANY support is appreciated and ALL support is welcome.

If you support the idea, join the event page, post it your friends' pages, hash tag #RespectTheMas on Twitter, DO something. The more support we have, the better the experience. "


  1. "He then proceeded to push my feathers as he walked by. Whoa! "

    Lol, I can hear you saying "Whoa!" in my head and it's cracking me up.

  2. LOL! Oh yes, I'm sure you will be hearing it come Saturday. My backpack has serious feathers.(Hopefully not though, if this post works)