Thursday, May 26, 2011

Questions and Answers- Deciding on a Band

For the third Question and Answer for the (formerly known as Caribana now Scotiabank International Carnival) Newbie lol band selection is the topic up for discussion.

 This year I heard and saw many people debate as to which band to play with for 2K11.  Similiar to choosing a section, choosing a band may take into consideration many factors.
(Prior to the Q&A once again here is my trusty Disclaimer lol. The answers below is what I would say. Mind you if you were to ask someone else you may get a completely different response. And that is ok! Everyone has their own views as to what is important to them for choosing a band. I am definitely encouraging collaboration and discussion of ideas/views. So if you agree/disagree with me, feel free to add in your two cents : )

Now onto the Q&A

Q: Which Band should I play with?
A: The decision to play with a band could be based on several factors:

1. Loyalty
Loyalty may be a big factor in choosing a band. After several years of positive experience and familiarity a masquarder may feel they no longer need to look elsewhere and have a band of choice that they will support every year.

2. Word of Mouth
Word of Mouth is something I personally think contributes to the decision for someone to play in a band. New masquarders may often rely on the word of mouth experience of their friends or acquantances when it comes to their decision on playing. On the other hand, seasoned masquarders who may be looking to test the waters and try a new band out, may also rely on word of mouth on past experiences to determine if it is worth while making the switch.

3. The Order the Band Crosses the Stage
The position of the band crossing the stage for judging is a factor that may be taken into consideration for some in choosing a band. Due to the outdoor atmosphere of the parade, crossing the stage earlier as to later, often means less congestion going down lakeshore (especially considering Stormers*)
*If you don't know what is meant by Stormers and think I'm referring to thunder showers, stayed tuned for future posts on this!!! lol

4. Security
Having a sence of security while on the road may be a factor people take into consideration when picking a band. Some bands may use rope, walking fences and security guards to try to keep order in place and masquarders safe while having fun.

5. The Costumes
In the end, loyalty, "the he say, she say", order of crossing the stage, or security may not really matter to some. In that their decision for a choosing a band may come down to which band has the costume they want to play in.

The above are some of the factors that came to mind when choosing a band.
What is most important to you for choosing a band?
Was this year harder to choose than previous years?
Did you jump ship this year? If so why did you make the switch to a new band?

In terms of launches this year, what do you want to see bands improve on?
(ex. diverse models, punctuality, etc)


  1. Lol! I can't wait for the post on Stormers.

    Usually, my follow fashion ass just goes with my friends who are extremely loyal to Carnival Nationz, and then within Carnival Nationz picks a costume based on what I love best or if there's a costume I like but don't love necessarily but all my friends do that section I would do it.

    However, after paying my money this year to CNz and then seeing what Saldenah was working with, from now on I would really like to choose bands based on love of costumes!

    And launches, I'd like to see more of the bands have some regular looking people (I'm talking womyn, I don't even think I notice the males cuz I don't care about their costumes) as models in their launch. Toronto's multicultural and all but I promise you 75% of the womyn on the road for Caribana aren't light skinned, with long loosely curled hair and abs, like the launches might have you believe.

  2. Normally, I go with loyalty. However, this year was PRESSURE... Saldenah, Nationz, Revellers, TruDynasty all of these bands came STRONG. But my loyalty lies with Nationz and thats who I went with.

    When I thought about jumping ship, my girls and I couldn't agree on one band that had costumes that everyone liked. Nationz has something that we all LOVED.

    Now onto the band launches, I must give Revellers a hand for choosing models that really really represented the Caribbean...all shapes, sizes, colours, everything!

    Can't wait to do the role call to see who's playing mas with who... can't wait for summer in the city!

  3. I'm surprised you put costume so far down on your list. We still haven't registered, mostly because of them not announcing the order of the bands yet. A lot of bands came really strong this year, so if you are choosing mostly on costume it would be a very hard choice. You didn't mention music on the road? Does revellers know that after paying Machel all that money on sing on their truck, that he doesn't even make your top 5 list of reasons to choose a band?

  4. H Hey Trini,
    I agree that it was a hard choice for costumes, however, Nationz just happened to have costumes that all of us really loved. Now, if I were playin’ mas alone than I would be going down the road with Saldenah :). Now that I think about it, it looks like my band choice would be based on a decision made by the girls and I.

    As band order, I don’t think it would have impacted our choice that much, but it is nice to be one of the earlier bands to go down the road. BTW, any idea as to why they are waiting until July to announce the order of the bands?

    Now on to the music... I mean it is nice to have an artist/artists going down the road, but the past few years there have been some notable DJ’s that come up from Trini/NY/Miami etc, who make the experience just as nice.

    One thing I would like to see, is a move towards all inclusive bands. It was nice to hear that Tribal Knights has an all inclusive section in their band, but it would be geat if it was the whole band. I mean, it is a long day and sometimes having to find a water/drink truck on the road can be a bit of a challenge.

    So, I guess at the end of the day, it really comes down to what fits me and all my friends, we don’t have to all be in the same section - just the same band.

    Have you been able to narrow down a few choices as to who you would like to play with?

  5. Ok fast! I became loyal to revelers because the experience before/on/down the road was great every year. I know they are going to play the music I like, have great security (fence or stick), Vip treatment if I felt something didn’t fit or look right. I also feel they always try to improve the costumer service and provide choices for the masqueraders.
    a)Costumes for my “mature”, full figure, or slim girlfriends.
    b)Transportation from the mass camp to lakeshore and back.
    c)Portable potties down the road

    Yes! Other bands are starting to add these features as well and position down the road can play a big part on your experience that day. However this year I took a shot of rum and jump ship because of my good friend who finally wants to play mass and left all decisions in his hands. Sleepless nights (8) that’s what friends are for (8)… This year I will have a serious drink on the road smile and enjoy my favorite day for that party week! See what all the hypes about lol… HAVE A SAFE CARIBANA!

  6. We have years of history playing with Saldenah, so that is always our first choice. But if they end up number 6 or 7 its a real problem without security. So we have been taking a really close look at revellers, because they have a fence, Machel and they are cheaper. I'm a little older than you average CNz masquerader, but they have many great costumes...... I'm just gonna let Kara choose. I don't really care about popular djs on the road, they just play the same 5 songs anyway.

  7. @ Trini-in-Toronto. just to let you know last year revellers dj's took it back and also played a lot of past Monarch winner tunes.Obviously they played all Machel tunes like toro toro so they dont just play the top 5 songs lol i think you will enjoy. oh and 2 things..1 i like kara's choice to wait because position down the road is very important because stormers don't care about us or our costumes and security get really tested when your position is bad down the road. 2 playing with revellers for the last few years Machel has not been placed on my top 5 so i dont know why they spend that money but hey whatever lol.All you need is the right hype man i think her name is Giselle "The Wassi One" and SHE was great

  8. Thanks for your comments everyone! I should have mentioned that the factors weren't listed by priority. It was really whatever came to mind. But good point on the music/vibe being an important factor. Anon 5:57, I'm right there with you on just needing the right hype man (but that's just me, some may perfer performers) As long as at the end of the day everyone has a good time, it's whatever's clever on preference.

  9. Re-reading Trini-in-Toronto second comment, brought to mind another important factor that some may consider in choosing a band. The PRICE! Some bands are more expensive than others, as such this may be a determining factor. (hmmmm maybe I should expand this list lol)

  10. @ Trini- in- Toronto-I really don’t think music is such a contender because you can always move around from truck to truck or from band to band once you cross the stage. And even though they have Machel on the road they are very laxed on the security. I played with them two years ago and we had to leave early because it was no longer safe for the masquraders. I think as the person who has paid to be in the band, my safety and enjoyment should be their #1 concern. For that they get a #fail!!

    @sugarcityintdot I totally agree with your comment about the band launches. A lot of times you want to see how some colours would look on your skin complexion. And I really think they should be celebrating all women and not perpetuating the stereotypes of the mainstream.

    @Khadija I agree with you about the band orders… But Revellers should be last!!! Dead last because they are holding up the parade with all the stormers lol

    Lastly @ Collabo YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR LOL!!! Cheap price usually means a not so well constructed costume and a lack to detail. As well as a cheap experience on the road. I think if you can afford to, its better to play with some of the bands that cost a little bit more. Trust me at the end of the day you will have the piece of mind when you pick up your costume. Now if you are limited on funds and you just want to have the experience… then do your thang… But buy at your own risk of being disappointed on the day!!! Spoken from experience.

  11. This question goes for anyone…. Do you think some people are loyal to the designer(s) like Jenny and Diane who I believe did very well with revelers last year with the section ebony and ivory and who is now with cnz and section Quetza is sold out if I am correct?

  12. Sorry I mean Toronto Revellers frm Anon 7:39

  13. Hi Anon 7:39. I think some people are loyal to designers. A personal example I have is I had friends who played in Secret Garden a few years ago, who are now playing in Oya. (Factors for choosing that section was the costume, but also based on the positive experience and quality costume they had received in Secret garden. So now they are loyal to that designer.)

    So Anon 7:39 it could be people are loyal, or that they really liked the costume. (imo)

  14. thats good to hear because i'm going with Oya this year!

  15. When it comes to choosing, nothing affects my decision more than finding a costume I am absolutely breathless over. It's like, picking a wedding dress. If it takes your breath away, then that's the one. I don't care what band it is or what position or music. But I have been playing in the "big" bands since I started playing mas. I decided to jump ship from Nations this year, which was the hardest decision I made considering I am in LOVE with Oya. But, I think I made the right choice.

  16. With regards to your question about what bands can improve on for their launches, here's what I think:

    1. Be Ready- It's not a good look when costumes are still being made in plain viewsite of the public at a launch. Since the launch date was set, I think it's reasonable to expect that the band will be ready and not gluing down feathers the day of.
    2. Models- include models who are various sizes, complexions, etc. Also I think when models are first walking down the runway, they should be showcasing the costume (different angles, going from one side of the stage to the next, being fierce and confident- this sounds common sense but this was not done by many) Then after, they can wine down.
    3. Start the show as advertised. When it is mentioned costumes will start at 12, then it should start at 12 give or take 5-10mins.

  17. I completely agree with the models point, just that most of them are told just to go out there and have fun. But when showcasing I think they should model first, then dance. It's hard to get good pictures of a fast moving object sometimes lol.

  18. I am a loyal CNZer so for me, my primary reason for choosing who to play with is Loyalty. Then I go for the costume that I like, and I always have at least 4 choices because usually the sections I like are the ones that will be sold out first. Band order and music haven't ever been that important to me, and the prices for Nationz costumes tend to be mainly in line with the top bands anyway, so price hasn't been that much of a factor.
    I was happy to see the introduction of more frontline costumes this year, but I have a moral issue with paying upwards of $400 for a costume here when I can add another $100-$125 and get a costume that I can wear for 2 days, free drinks and food on the road in T&T for Carnival. Granted it's not a frontline...but still...I just can't do it.
    And @ Sugarcityintdot - I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding the models at the launches. 80% of the women who play mas do not look like the stick-thin models who walk across the stage at the launches. Yes, the wire bra or thong panty looks nice on a model, but can we see what a tankini, cut-out wholepiece, or boy shorts will look like on a real woman? I hate getting home with my costume only to try it on and realize that my "cheeks" are hanging out of the boy shorts I ordered!

  19. I agree with Anon 4:33pm hands down. I was taking photos for the collabo and another tdot site and experienced all of that at all of them. Hope the bands improve their launches next year.