Carnival in August
September 1, 2006
I have to commend Saucy Diva on a great blog. I stumbled upon it a couple weeks ago when I was looking for pictures of TRIBE’s launch and I’ve been an avid reader ever since. Saucy is on top of her game, which happens to be Carnival and has been keeping us readers up to date on the latest happenings in our favourite Carnival Bands. I recomend that you check out her blog at saucytrini.blogspot.com if you’re a Carnival fan or if you live abroad and are thinking of playing mas in Trini for 2007.
I’m still a little stunned by the Carnival in August phenomenon. I believe it started with TRIBE in 2005, their inagural year and the only year that I played with them. They were really the first band to master the art of online Carnival Marketing and no one, including Island People has been able to catch up with them. From email communication to online registration, TRIBE has it figured out, and as a Trini living abroad, I totally appreciate that.
What I don’t appreciate however, is the anxiety and frenetic energy that early band launches and online registrations have tended to promote. I felt it in a serious way for the first time last year, when TRIBE launched early and Island People came on the scene for the first time.
In August 2005, I had just graduated from grad school, was looking for a job and had a heap load of weddings to attend between July and September. I was broke and unprepared to think about if I would be able to make it home for Carnival 2006. How could I say for sure if I’d be able to fly home. What if I got a job? What if I didn’t get a job? Then I wouldn’t be able to save up for my ticket and costume. That’s when I thought up Carnival Junction.
My other website, CarnivalJunction.com, was borne out of the stress that I felt leading up to Carnival 2006. Like me, most of my friends who live in the U.S. or the U.K. had to make a decision quickly – without having an opportunity to go to the mas camp and take a good look at the costumes and before we knew if we would have the money or the time off to fly home for Carnival. So I set up Carnival Junction to function like a sort of costume clearninghouse.
One good thing about early/online registration is that you get to pay down a fraction of the costume. Usually US $100. That’s affordable for most people so it doesn’t hurt to put that money out initially without knowing what your story will be in the months to follow. The problem that Carnival Junction solved, was getting rid of that costume at the last minute (and up until Carnival Sunday if need be) if plans end up falling through.
I was glad to see the site serve its purpose. Over 180 people posted ads on the site either to try to get rid of a costume or find one. And I think, at least from the feedback that I received after Carnival, that most people thought that the site was useful. I was pleased as pie.
So what’s my story for Carnival 2007? Well, I ended up playing with Island People this year and had a blast. Words cannot describe how sweet the vibe was in Island People. I admit, they did have some serious problems – like the food truck running out of food and some kinks in costume distribution. But I couldn’t have been happier. For me, my on de road lime and the vibe in the band are the most significant determinants of a memorable Carnival experience. Of course the costume must look good, but if my lime is stale or the vibe in the band is so-so, chances are that those things will negatively affect me.
The IP 2006 experience was true Carnival for me- a little bit of bacchanal, a drop of drama, great music, beautiful people, some wildness, an openess to rolling with the punches (sometimes shit happens. you just have to be ready to deal with it as it comes), pretty costumes and plenty niceness. I look forward to being with them on the road again this year.
On the stage with IP this year – pure joy!