Sunday, January 24, 2010
The band leaders are taking steps to avoid the move (Tribe TO in Caribana) as they feel it would have some adverse effects on the membership of their struggling numbers, particularly the smaller bands. It's a fight each year to get the required numbers with the existing number of people who play mas in Toronto. This is estimated at max. 6000, and that's conservative.
Here's a useful explanation of the numbers:
"A" bands need 150 members and a 6th placing and better to retain their status (7th & 8th are demoted to "B"). "B" bands need 75 members and a 3rd to last placing or better to remain in the parade. In addition all bands are required to have at least 75 members to remain as a participating band. Some bands struggle each year to get their 75. In 2009, one "A" band couldn't make the 75 number and was omitted from the 2010 parade (Jesse Matthews) , so numbers have become a serious problem. A most significant issue is that they will further erode the numbers of the smaller bands and that will affect Caribana as a parade.
All proposed band leaders/co-band leaders must be a member of TMBA (Toronto Mas Bands Association) for at least 1 year. Another concern is, because of the price structure presently employed in Toronto (costume $160.00 max), it is feared that they cannot maintain the quality of costume they produce in Trinidad (@min $3000.00TT) something that masqueraders are probably expecting, unless the cost increases, and that will either put an additional burden on the players, or they will get substandard costumes. That had been established last year, causing some players to be short changed.
There is yet another issue where this will be a third name change of this band in as many years - Evolution, All Spice and now Tribe Toronto - not to mention what it was before Evolution. When will it end?
The main issues and concerns are the drain of members of the smaller bands and the status of the parade.
Some might say that their (Tribe TO's) inclusion will enhance the parade, but the band leaders have to look at how it (could) affect other aspects of the parade and themselves as bands - bottom line.
Well as a result of TMBA's Saturday meeting with the band members, 13 out of 15 eligible voters voted against Tribe Toronto in Caribana 2010.
A band leader told me it's not about competition (which he said he's not afraid of) - it's about the drain of masqueraders and losing the Festival Management Committee (FMC) funding. He said that on the surface, people wouldn't see these things (and assume it's that they don't want competition.) There is obviously serious issue with providing funding for an outside band (associations with, for example, Trinidad) to this Toronto festival. Bands are concerned about losing their funding. Here's as an example of draining of masqueraders: if a B band had 80 members last year, but they lose just 6 masqueraders, they are disqualified, and out of the parade this year.
Oh, the explanation about Tribe TO being in the top 8: because All Spice placed 1st in the B bands last year, they were promoted to the A bands, allowing them to be in the top 8 in the parade.
This is certainly an out of the ordinary incident for Caribana as I've said before, and as it's just January, I'm sure it's not over - "Tribe TO" could very well apply to be in the parade with another name.
So for those who were looking forward to playing with Tribe TO because it was Tribe, who will you play with now?
Monday, January 18, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I'm especially excited about Toronto Revellers presentation for Caribana '10.
Disco balls, gold lamé, platform boots, ya baby!
I love disco, & I think the fashion from the '70's makes for a perfect carnival theme.
Shiny polyester, afros, too much blue eyeshadow, catsuits... Can you dig it?
Actually, the hot pants and spandex tops are not unlike the Monday (Carnival) wear that many still wear in Trinidad.
I'm imagining many far out costume designs, I hope the designers get funky and give us dy-no-mite!
Got to be Real!
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Well, its been a couple days since Tribe announced that they are coming to Toronto. I’ve been thinking about what impact Tribe will have on Caribana.
Tribes’ motto is something like, "the costume is free and you pay for the ultimate experience". When last we were in Trinidad, we played with Tribe and we had a real good time, and nothing to complain about. The costume was exactly as advertised, and everything that was promised to the masquerader was delivered. I think if that is all they do, they will be a welcome addition to Caribana.
Tribe represents a trusted brand, and people who have never visited Toronto might be persuaded to come and play mas with them because they are comfortable with them.
But, what specifically do you think Tribe can bring to the table that is currently lacking?
I think the caliber of many Toronto costumes are second to none. We don’t want to start that debate again, but we all know that some Toronto bandleaders use the same suppliers as the Trinidad bands. Long gone are the days where Torontonians will put up with homemade bike shorts and cardboard headpieces with glitter. Toronto has some world class costumes, so I can’t see Tribe blowing us away with JUST costumes.
Fetes leading up to Caribana:
How can Tribe make a difference to the Toronto fete scene? Toronto is pretty different from Trinidad. I think a part of the appeal of Tribe fetes in Trinidad is the exclusivity. I think people like to know that it had some others who wanted to be here and were willing to buy a ticket and still couldn't get in. Also, some of these events are priced at a level to keep people with smaller budgets out.
We don’t really have this sort of separation of the masses in Toronto. Here, the fetes are mainly divided into dj club fetes, live artist fetes catering to a younger audience, and live events catering to a more mature crowd. I don’t know if we have a big enough population to have exclusive fetes that only men with deep pockets can attend. Are you guys willing to pay $100 plus to hit an all inclusive in Toronto? Are we even allowed to serve unlimited drinks in Ontario?
Toronto has real good fetes and all of the top entertainers are here, so what can Tribe do differently for you?
Are you satisfied with the level of service you currently receive from your band? What kind of services you think Tribe could come with that would attract you to play with them? So, we all know they can’t draw you in with top shelf liquor, so how can they entice you to play with them? Is their name brand enough?
Who exactly is going to play with Tribe?:
Is there a finite number of paying masqueraders in Toronto, and any new band will just be cannibalizing existing ones? Do you think this will be the final nail in the coffin for some of our smaller bands? Do you think Tribe really has the pull to get people who never played mas in Toronto to come and buy a costume?
What is your ULTIMATE Caribana experience?
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Louis Saldenah Mas-k Club will be presenting Portraits this Caribana. This theme leaves much to the imagination, which is ideal, I think, for mas creation. Often when you go with something so exact like, say, flowers, designers can get quite literal.
XPats are having their Trinidad Carnival Jump Up Feb. 6.
For others not going to Trinidad, to help warm ya up, check out Louis site for their Carib2KWine video and pictures.
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