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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What do YOU want from Tribe in Toronto?

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?

Customer service?:

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?


Jennette said...

Let's be honest, this is not a "new" band to Caribana...I have a feeling that this is the band that used to be AllSpice...which is why they aren't coming down last in the parade....

Caliber of costumes...we will have to wait and see how the costume goes from the launch to the road.

The All Inclusive fete...we will have to see how that plays out with the bar closing at 2am.

It is a big wait and see!


elsa said...

I am welcoming Tribe in Toronto. Let's hope they can supply the ultimate experience. Nice music, sexy costume, good security, etc.

I had the opportunity to play in a new band (AllSpice) last year and it was an absolute diaster. The costume that was promise upon registeration was never deliver. I never even got as much as a panty for my costume.
What I would like to see in a band: Excellent customer service, the costume you saw at the band launching is what you will get, every feather, accessories etc. If you order a tankini, I would like to get a tanking not a bra with a glue on wife beater that is attached to the bra and you the band leader or section leader telling me that is a tankini. Or a piece of organiza fabric attached to a bra. To me this is not acceptable.
On the day of the parade the music truck and food truck dont arrive until 2:30pm. This is not acceptable.

Tribe take heed this is what I dont want in a new band.
Again welcome to Toronto Tribe.

I have family who plays with Tribe since year 1, and they swear Tribe all the day. So I welcome the change.

Mz No Behavior said...

All I can say is, after trying out another band [who will remain nameless] in 2008, I will now and forever be loyal to Carnival Nationz! I am anxious to see what Tribe brings to Toronto, however I feel that CNz costumes, customer service and on the road experience cannot be beat! Not even by big and bad Tribe :-)

Unknown said...

Karabana, as always, a great post! My friends and I were asking some of the same questions. We have played with Nationz since they first came out and their service and costumes have gotten better and better each year and so far nothing but a drop in costume quality and service will make us leave them.
I think that Tribe will definitely poach from some of smaller bands and maybe even some of the larger ones if they implement the TLC card here which will allow people to register for TT before other people. That will be a HUGE incentive to for people play with them.
I also think that Tribe's appearance will make the other bandleaders in TO work harder and provide more in order to keep the following that they have. A little competition is good for the soul. Bandleaders need to appreciate their followers. So if there is fear that they may lose people, maybe they'll offer more.

Karabana said...

Trini-in-Toronto wrote this post. :-)
Yes, if the rumour is true that they'll be in the top 8, it's bc All Spice is now Tribe TO.


Elsa, a wife beater, for real? Steups. Oh man, back in the '90's, costumes may have been "designed" like that, but as TiT said, those days should be long gone!

Unknown said...

Trini-in-Toronto, yes a wife beater, for real, I still have the costume at home, for proof. If AllSpice is now Tribe TO. Sorry they will not get me as a customer. After my terrible experience from them last year. Sorry. Hell NO.

Carnivalcocoa said...

Hi Kara and Trini-in-Toronto. Long time.
I would like TRIBE to succeed and represent Trinidad well. BUT, TRIBE can only do soooo much in another man's country. Like Trini-in-Toronto said, the liquor laws will definitely restrict TRIBE's offerings on the road and in a fete. So that part is scratched out.

Secondly, they will have stiff competition from TO bands in the costume department. The costumes in Toronto are awesome, many times I feel like I'm looking at a band or King/Queen costume in Trinidad (CNZ rocked in '09). And I say this a someone who has been to many North American carnivals including Toronto, Montreal, my own Brooklyn NY, Long Island NY when they had one, East Orange, NJ when they had one, Boston, Washington DC, and Miami. Toronto costumes top all of them, they're not to sleep on.

As for the fete scene, I think TO's scene is already set in stone. Again the city's liquor laws and time constraints are not that of Trinidad. TRIBE can add to the Toronto experience, yes. But they CANNOT change it. They'll still do well though.

Karabana said...

I'm a bit confused w the wife beater comments, Elsa said a wife beater that is attached to the bra, I read that to mean a wife beater as a tankini. But David, is your wife beater a wife beater?
lol, this sounds funny as I'm typing...

Hiya Carnivalcocoa, yes, that's how I feel also, the ai thing can't happen here, & isn't that what Tribe is known for (& exclusivity)?
BIG thanks for pointing out Toronto costumes top all the NA carnivals, as someone who's been to them. :-)
About that, let me ask you, how does Caribana the parade compare to the others? (I've only been to NY & saw Ottawa's years ago...)

Anonymous said...

Hi Karbana, I too played with a band one year and I got a wife beater and glue it to my bra, and that is what they called a tankini. This band is Tribal Knights. I hate when you go to a mas camp and they promise you, yes you can get everything, tankini, whole piece, etc. and 2 days before Caribana you go to collect your costume and this is why they give you. Not even a phone call informing you of the change of costume or design. You know in Trinidad someone will sure get a bust head for them stupidness.
One thing I can say I totally rely on Trinidad Carnival Diary blog - this lady Saucy goes to the mas camp, and totally check out the costumes and give us a honest opinion, that I trust totally.
Check out the blog: www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com. Hot off the press. It looks like Mr. Andre DeFreitas is the one behind Tribe coming to Toronto. And Curtis, Godfrey, Rodney has parted ways with All Spice. Now they are in Saldenah mas camp as section leaders of 2 sections.
Let's just say I got burn with AllSpice and they not delivering costume. I will definitely not play with them again. Sorry you only get burn once.

Carnival Nationz take me back please.

Trini-in-Toronto said...

Hey Anon, We are very familiar with Saucy and her blog, we were at the original blogger lime. Yeah, when we were preparing to go home and play mas for the first time in many years, Saucy's blog and advice were invaluable. We aim to provide similar useful info to visitors to Toronto. One thing even a visit to the mas camp won't help you with, is when a section leader delivers a costume that is different from the prototype on display.

Carnivalcocoa said...

You're welcome Kara. As for the comparison of the parades, I can definitely say that Toronto's does not have a curfew per se, it can last well into the night as long as the bands get past the judges and onto Lakeshore blvd by 6:30pm. Once you're on Lakeshore it's jump up for so, no police stopping you. THAT is palance.

That's not the case stateside, nor in Montreal. The only other carnivals that go into midnight are Miami and Ft Lauderdale. The overall curfew for the other US carnivals is 6pm. Period. For a couple years, in NY the parade went up to after 7pm due to delays cause by the police, or a storm so we got a little leeway. Otherwise, it's 6pm sharp.

DC is a small carnival so they tend to finish earlier than 6pm.

Another thing, in Brooklyn there are more cops than costumes (hey the authorities are nervous about over 1 million black ppl in one spot). And the cops are directing you where to go and which direction to walk. Too much b.s with that. It's not a carefree experience at all. Major vibes killer. Ugh.

Toronto and Miami rock!!! My two absolute favorite N.A carnivals.

Anonymous said...

Hi Trini-in-Toronto, a visit to the mas camp do helps alot, someone can get close up shots of the costume, thoroughly check out the costume to see if its able to sustain all the wining and jumping up that goes on the road. My question we should hold these section leaders responsible for delivering the same prototype costume they display on the band launch. Don't promise the world, and come time to pick up they don't deliver. To me, they think its easier to make a 2 piece, than to hassle themselves in getting a whole piece or a tankini, quick and easy money. I've done my research, to make a tankini and a panty or boyshorts cost approx $70.00 in Trinidad, that's cheap might cost approx $13.00CAD. Come on band leaders, section leaders, not everyone wants a 2 piece, not everyone is a size 2.
Getting the costumes form India or China doesn't help either, to much drama, lets not get me started, I'm totally against it. Remember a black woman breast size might be totally different to chinese or indian bra size. Just pay a visit to the dollar store, they sell bra. Sizes are way off.

Karabana said...

Anon 4:28 welcome to the blog. We've been going to TCD since it started in '06. You most likely came upon my blog from the link on TCD. ;-) I've been going to mas camps & posting pics for anyone who can't go themselves since I started my blog 3 yrs. ago.

Technically the Caribana parade should end at 6, that's when they start street cleaning. Some ppl like that we're not as strict as NY, others don't. I remember the wall of cops along the NY route & thought impressive! They made us feel safe, & they certainly kept stormers out. And it's no surprise that's my #1 Caribana pet peeve, stormers. But yes, I didn't feel that sense of freedom Carnivalcocoa, I noticed hardly any masqueraders with a "water" bottle.
A lot of fear about walking with anything but water.
Yes, Anon 6:35 I definitely have always said deliver what you advertise. See:
Another pet peeve is string bikini tops. I know designers/section leaders can buy quality bras instead, for example, La Senza for $10 a pop. And American Apparel boy shorts for the same, or lower, price.
Hmmm, looks like I'll be doing a post on masqueraders wish lists...

Unknown said...

Please look out for the press release/email from Torontolime.com in regards to all your comments and concerns. Your feedback is great and gives us alot of insight on what you are expecting for 2010.

All in all though ALL SPICE is NOT TRIBE Toronto, hence All SPICE is now in a joint venture with Louis Saldenah owned by Curtis Eustace, Godfrey and Rodney. "Read his No Year New Beginnings" note on trinidadcarnivaldiary.com for proof.

Thanks again Karabana for your post, will be in contact towards launch time.

Andre De Freitas
Band Leader TRIBE Toronto

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty excited to hear the Tribe is coming to Toronto, if their costumes are anything or even exactly like the ones in Trinidad then I am sold. I'd be willing to give it a shot.

Since, my first Toronto Caribana experience was pretty bad, being with the Tribal Knights and all. Paying for my costume in full up front and only getting 3/5ths of what I paid for, I was pretty upset. Some didn't even get 2/5ths, I was lucky. But I hear Tribal Knights has some big plans this year as well, reading their blog...and etc. I hope they keep their word this year, like they say. But, I don't think I want to risk it again.

Anyway, I'm excited to see what Tribe has going.

Karabana said...

On behalf of Trini-in-Toronto (who wrote the post), you're welcome Andre. Thanks for commenting, & under your name Andre. It's good for readers to know band leaders want feedback.

Regarding all the comments about Tribal Knights costume problems, were any of you given a discount?

Only January, & looks like it'll be quite an exciting Caribana.

Anonymous said...

No, I never got my discount because I paid it in full when I registered back in April. So I got screwed.

Karabana said...

This is information that I received from a band leader.
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, 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 $160.00 max), it is feared that they cannot maintain the quality of costume they produce in Trinidad ($TT3000.00) 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.
This is quite an unusual development for Caribana, stay tuned for more...

elsa said...

This is a comment geared to Andre, since the three stooges are no longer associated with you and more. Can we believe we will get better customer service. I've playedd with AllSpice last year and the customer service did not existed at all. Here is what I would like to see this year. Give us a costume just like the one we saw at the band launch. Don't say we have everything available such as: wholepiece, tankini, corset. Come collection day, nothing was available, and all I get is a sob story.
Costumes are ready on pick up date, not while I'm paying someone in the back is now attachine the appliques etc.
Will Tribe Toronto be catering to people of all sizes and shapes. Not just another bikini band.
Is Tribe Toronto affiliated with Tribe Trinidad, or is that a commerical hype to arouse the people of Toronto?
Some people are thinking if they play with Tribe Toronto and they have never played with Tribe in Trinidad, they will have first dibs on the costumes of Tribe in Trinidad. You need to clarify this please.

All I can say good luck to you and your new management team of Tribe Toronto. let the Caribana bachannal begin.

Tr|n|gYa| said...

To specifically answer the question posed by the blogpost: My ultimate experience is a fabulous costume, fabulous customer service, and a fabulous road experience. Not 1/3 or 2/3. 100% impeccable in all areas of commitment.
I am not ashamed to say that I have high standards for Carnival revelry. And as someone who has attended several NA Carnivals as well, AND a couple Caribbean Carnivals too (including Trinidad), I can safely say that, yes Toronto has arguably the most gorgeous costumes for this continent :)

However, their customer service and road experience leaves something to be desired- with lunch arrangments and my pet peeve, which is STORMERS. Ugh!

Anywho, the plot thickens!

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