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Saturday, August 17, 2013

The death of Toronto's regional carnivals

 The empty parade route for CariVaughan
Melville Ave. was blocked off and had spectators waiting

I know there are funding and political issues which stand in the way of co-operation, but Toronto's regional carnivals are dropping like flies.
Hamilton done, Brampton (west fete) done, Barrie can't get a permit for anything that is worth the drive to Barrie, and after Vaughan's dismal showing Sun. Aug. 4, their future is in doubt.
I don't want to sound like I'm dissing CariVaughan, it's just that there were two masqueraders who showed up for the parade. I heard the stage show part of the afternoon was good, but we didn't stick around long enough to see it.
Vaughan Citizen article

I know that we, as Toronto masqueraders are spoiled. For the last 10 years or so, we have grown accustomed to having multiple opportunities to play mas for the cost of one costume. For a while there, we used to play mas 3 weekends in a row... it was fantastic.
A few people I know (including myself) just didn't bother this year. With Hamilton and Barrie gone, it just didn't make sense to spend $200 on a costume just to be overrun by stormers two hours into your day. That's $100 per hour. Caribana bandleaders, please understand that allowing these regional carnivals to die affects you also.

I try above all else to be positive about the festival, I root for the underdog trying to give the new bands some coverage. I really want to see this thing grow and flourish because we love it. These guys in Vaughan looked like they spent some money, I counted about 10 police cars blocking off the route. It was a long parade route with all these residents waiting sitting on their fold up chairs to see it. So either they had big support of the city or somebody was footing the bill for paid duty officers. They had many vendors and performers. Maybe they didn't have a budget to pay Toronto band leaders to come up and bring a few big costumes. You would think they would have been willing to foot the cost of a U-haul and some gas. 

Some bands throw these appreciation fetes after carnival, yeah we appreciate this, but if you want me to feel appreciated, forget about renting a club to throw a fete, just load up some of your big mas and drive up to Vaughan. We don't need beer or food - maybe some water, but that's it. The organizers had 2 music trucks, so you didn't have to incur any costs there. Maybe they don't have the budget to pay you thousands of dollars the way Hamilton promised, but THIS would make me feel appreciated.

Yeah I know the Sunday after Caribana is a kinda strange date to choose... please don't make that mistake again CariVaughan if you survive the year.
These carnivals have no hope for survival without the support and participation of Toronto Mas bands and Toronto masqueraders.

Masqueraders, you don't want a last lap? You mean to say nobody couldn't throw on a costume and take a jump in Vaughan? Whappen to allyuh? Didn't you know it was happening? It was odd, because I saw you all last year, even in the pouring rain a few of us showed up. ---> CariVaughan 2012
We had beautiful weather on the Sunday. Again, yeah I know it was the day after, and you only got a few hours of sleep after being at Machel. I don't know why they thought that was a good idea. Maybe they figured the tourists were still in town? Or people would be fresh from the carnival vibes? Hamilton and Barrie didn't happen though, so it could have been Aug 10 or today, Aug 17.

If we don't attend these events and spend some money, they will die. Then we will be stuck with just Caribana, and it's a lot easier to overlook some of her issues if we know we have another chance to take a jump the next weekend.


Black Queen said...

I didn't know that Vaughan had a parade!

The band I played with never informed us about it and truth be told I don't think the " big bands would go to it unless another big bands are going as well. I also don't think they would go because it doesn't seem as important to them as the Toronto parade.

Maybe Vaughan needs to have better advertisements on TV and in news papers. Offer the bands some prize money or something.

the bands need to come together and promote themselves better to the other cities. There are new mas players that they are missing out on ( i.e money the bands could be making.

Crying Wolf said...

In my opinion it's failure had to do with the event literally being a day after Caribana. I personally told them it was a bad idea, and I know they meant good, but I saw this coming. If I stayed for Toronto Caribana we'd have to do the parade, get back to the hotel, pack up, head to Vaughan that same night and somehow get a hotel room near the route. While Toronto's events continued the entire weekend (which I don't attend to anyway) but a ton of others do. What if I had to make repairs to my costume but didn't have the time or materials to do so? I might end with no costume to do it in. What happened to those beautiful costumes Vaughan had for sale on their site? Did those not deliver either or did nobody register? Since Barrie and Hamilton are done they should have at least done it a week later. I still have high hopes for Vaughan for next year if it happens again. I'm so sick and tired of all these cancellations that I'm willing to go to Montreal, Ottawa, or both, just to get my carnival fix. Things are just sad now.

Kara Bana said...

Yes, this was their 3rd year. What was surprising to us was last year in the pouring RAIN ppl showed up in costume!


But I doubted it would get that many people being the day after our carnival. I didn't think it would be a no show though!

The organizers definitely need to advertise more, including with the Toronto bands. The reason the TO bands didn't tell their masqueraders about it is bc it's not like how Barrie or Hamilton were in that they were a part of it. TO bands were not part of CariVaughan.

Vaughan isn't that far from Toronto, just 30 mins, it's not like the drive to Hamilton or Barrie.

Obviously no one registered/bought their costumes. They have the right idea for sure, they need a lot of support from the Toronto mas community though, IMO.

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