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Sunday, April 22, 2012

First look at Empires

 Here are some shots of each section of Carnival Nationz epic Empires presentation. More tomorrow, off to bed... 


Anonymous said...

Not their best, not their worst. It is clear which ones will sell out fast and which will take a while...

Danil87 said...

My CNZ Family pulled it off again this year. Great costumes, The designers did their thing again. Can't wait to see the rest of the pictures.

Lesley said...

Good afternoon, thank for the quick pics. But I was watching it online, I see that they were late and the view online was very poor cuz of too much lights and too far. The videographer needs more training. Beside from that I have no comments on the costumes but I'm VERY annoyed that they claimed this "new rule" that they get 1st choice position for Caribana. but Whatever!!!! Let's the bacchanal begins.

Anonymous said...

To be quite honest. I heard the cost of carnival has gone up so the cost of costumes has gone up from $185 to $215 for a basic costume with CN. LAST YEAR I would've paid that NO PROBLEM. The quality and presentation was well worth it. This year? I'm dissapointed. I was expecting more from them. It's not their worst, no, but after the year they had last year, I feel they could've come better...just sayin'....

TB said...

clearly I live on another planet as i have a very different view than the above comments maybe i was watching a different band launch... LOL it helps when you are close to the stage or get an opportunity to see them in person.

maybe its cuz i always play FL and they really BROUGHT it in terms of FL and i dont think anyone can really dispute that or would have expected more from the FLs.

Anyway I am trying to choose between my top SEVEN of 12 (Frontline).

Can wait to see the prices so i may narrow down some of my options.

and i personally think if you WIN 5 titles in one year you should get to choose your position on the road - just saying its pays to WIN!!!

For the record before anyone comments back I am not arguing or discounting any one elses opinion just stating mine differs that is all :)

Even though i play with Cnz every year i attend the launches for the other bands as well to support :)

TB said...

so... what is everyone's top picks and why is it your favourite?

Anonymous said...

What the hell 215. I like some of the costumes but I have to see them in person. The plus size model is hot hot! The guys are good but I liked their costume better last yr.

Karabana said...

Yes, pricing is now up.
Which ones do you think will sell out fast? For those saying they're disappointed, what were you expecting?

Anonymous said...

The costumes are not representative of "empires" to me. The colors are a bit random. Head pieces are either overwhelming or underwhelming. I saw the pictures and said, "oh." Kinda like it...but last year I loved it.

Anonymous said...

@ TB I totally agree with you. I
love some of the sections and just like the others. Aztec we going down the road! The entire section looks so nice. About the pricing, everything is going up so obviously costume prices are going to raise as well.

Anonymous said...

after looking at these, and hearing about the price rise...i for one am NOT impressed at all. and this whol picking your position...no it should be drawn like all the other years. I most def will be looking foward to Louis Saldenah's launch...i really wanted to give nationz a chance, bt i guess this isnt the year back to Mr. Saldenah and their wonderful, organized services!! =D

Anonymous said...

I find it funny how you can never please people, complaining about the online stream, the pricing or how the costumes look. I honestly have to say that CNZ goes the extra mile for there mas players. I don't see any other band streaming there launch online. Maybe the prices might have gone up but people don't look at what it takes to bring out amazing costumes like these. To play mas in TNT is expensive, however you don't hear peaople complaining even though some of the costumes could not compare to last night. I have been with CNZ for years now and last night presentation was just amazing. The band look amazing as all section are sexy. Tuff decision ahead.

Lisa said...

The costumes are not representative of empires....they are representative of bikini and beads.

Lisa said...

I don't mind that the pricing is up as personally I think Toronto is way cheaper than anywhere else. For what is included it is a wonder these costumes are not upward of $250....jus sayin...

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with some of the previous comments, not all the sections represent Empires but some are really nice like the first photo with the pink and lilac. The orange costume is cute but i don't know about all those dagger looking beads ouch,lol. I really like the blue and brown costume although the head piece looks like it would be troublesome on the road with the flaps on the side of the face but it is nice and full and looks Egyptian.

As for some of the other sections...hmm.... the red and black looks a bit dated but the use of fabric is a convenient cover-up. the baby blue fringe costume is unique(i kinda like it) but the head piece looks like dead weeds or grass. The black and teal costume has me torn, the tassels on the costume are a bit odd and the head piece reminds me of elephant ears. However, i love the front of the regular belt an the color combination, and the one-piece combo would be good for the older crowd, kudos for the use of the older model :)

As for the rest, not too bad but not really grabbing my attention,
I would defiantly have to see them in person.

Some of the men's costumes need help. I expected to see the theme more but most look like they were just thrown together.

Anonymous said...

After seeing the prices, I am very disappointed. I'm not concerned about the backlines, it's the frontline costumes that annoys me. Just because I get a wire bra and a bigger headpiece, you want $450????? No collar, no backpack. I can get a large headpiece, collar, feathered arm pieces and foot pieces in another band.

Anonymous said...

Love the costumes, good job Carnival Nationz.
Here's my 2 cents:
Mongolian empire - looks like Ibizia - Tribe costume.
Russian Empire - looks like Yen from Oasis.
Ming Dynasty - the headpiece is from Spice 2k10 and Island People - Inka.
The Pink Empire - individual costume is a bit to much pink feathers, should mix it up a bit. - and the price of $925.00 come on the Designer who in their right mind paying that price - it is much as Trinidad frontline costume and I could jump up for 2 days and all inclusive.
I give the section leader big props for including a plus size model, good job.
Rio - another costume from Trinidad but just a different color. - the colors on the headpice is a bit dull.
Rio and the wings - it does not represent Rio Carnival at all.
Espanol(Spain) Empire - what's up will all the Basketball wives earrings on the entire costume - its a bit to much.
I love the Egypt costume it represent the theme, love the color combination.

The Sparta empire - love the headpiece, love the men's costume -stuck to the theme, love the makeup on the sexy men's costume.

Akkadian Empire - love the costume and that monokini- all I can say is wow - loving it. - bright colors, will look nice on the road.

My top picks are: Egypt, Aztec, Akkadian.
To the person who says the costumes does not represent the theme.
Here's my question - if they stuck to the theme and made costumes that looks like the theme, would you play in Nationz. Sorry in today's world beads and bikini sells.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a section leader from another A band these prices are CRAZY everyone wants a profit at the end of the day but this is way too much!!! if masquerders go for this outrages prices then they are letting carnivalnationz set the standerds and all bands will sooner than later raise their prices as well!this has moved from the art and love of MAS to the love of money these costumes are not worth the price.

Anonymous said...

1 word Hideous! These costumes in no way represent the theme. Then they have the audacity to charge 925 dollars who in their right mind is going to pay that? the above posts are correct in Trinidad thats all inclusive prices! especially not after the way people were treated last year standing in lines people pushing and shoving to get to the front. Waiting for 8hrs total Mayhem. Sorry after last years episode and these ridiculous prices I will take my money elsewhere. I will not have a repeat of that

Anonymous said...

Has carnivalnationz lost their minds some of the costumes are total rip off of trinidad carnivals gone by and some are just bits and pieces of what they've done before but all that i can forgive- but last year was a disaster for pick up and instead of offering some kinda discount they go and pull this nonsense of $450 -900 if you want a few more feather too full of themselves! its not worth it for a few hrs on d road u might get food if ya lucky i'll save that money for Trinidad all inclusive and 2 days on the road and still have change!!

Anonymous said...

I have to admit that I had a bit of sticker-shock when I saw the prices on the website. I've been used to paying in the mid to high one hundreds for a costume in TO...then it suddenly jumped to upwards of $200, especially when you add on the extras like hot shorts or fabric. But everything is going up. I played mas in TT this year and was shocked at the prices. But I paid it. And I will pay this year to place with CNZ. However, I have a "magic" number that is my limit when it comes to the cost of a costume either in TT or in TO. And when I hit that magic number I'll no longer pay the money to play.
Nationz costumes look good. They're nicer than the costumes I've seen from other bands so far. And yes...some of the designs are a mix or outright rip from TT bands, but who truly has an original idea anymore? Even the bands in TT rip off costumes from Rio...so that's like pot calling kettle black.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad that I'm not the only one who thinks the prices are outrageous.

Ever since Nationz came on the scene, the prices have skyrocketed, and the other mas bands have no problem following suit.... and for the lack of customer service and increase in attitude, I won't be playing with them.

Lisa said...

I agree with the last Anon. I was a little surprised at the prices, but this is CNZ we're talking about. I have my top 5 costumes from the launch that I like. Does any band really represent their theme fully? Even in other countries, the costumes dont always reflect the themes, why would this be any different. True some costumes look like rip offs from Trinidad Bands, but compared to the rest of the Toronto Bands, they are the best. I know we're still waiting for more band launches, but i'm pretty sure they will mostly be beads bikini mas that don't really foloow the themes......again.

I love CNz for their experience on the road (their security is ON POINT) but they really need to work on their customer service. Considering they've been doing this for a while now, and they always have good numbers in regards to masqueraders you would think they would've been somewhat more organised.

With pricing, you can't compare these prices to Trinidad's pricing. First, that's for a 2 day experience and most of the bands are all inclusive meaning drinks on the road, not just water. And food, not just a wrap or rice and 1 piece of fried chicken.

Lisa said...

Yes you can compare Toronto and Trinidad prices. Trinidad prices are 2-3 times more than toronto prices.

It does not matter if you are playing mas for 2 days or for 1 day, suppliers charge the same. They don't really care about your 1 or 2 days experience. Toronto section leaders get charged the same for material as trinidad.

Additionally, masqueraders expect, food, drinks, music, security, pee truck on the road. Where you think the money comes from? This is another cost for section leaders. So for bands to charge anything under $250 is a steal in Toronto.

Lisa said...

I don't think that Nationz has the best costumes of the bands so far. They have a few good ones and so does Tribal knights.

I am looking forward to see what Saldenah will bring next week.

Lisa said...

That's exactly my point, you aren't paying for the costume only. There's the whole experience that has to back it up. Trinidad offers more TIMES 2. I don't care if the supplier charges one price, the security is TIMES 2, the food is TIMES 2 (at least b/c bands have snack trucks too!), the drinks and potty truck. If at any point Caribana become more than $300 for a backline then we can question the costs. I'm not complaining about the money. I understand where CNz in coming from. But what I am saying is that you can't use the excuse, 'well I played in TnT and paid $600, so this is nothing'. No you pay more in TnT because you get more in terms of experience.

And because of Cnz experience (minus the customer service) I will play with them again. I will choose my top 5 and play with them. I'm sure other bands may have prettier costumes, better organised registration and pick up schedule (b/c lord, I remember last year waiting 4+ hours for my costume pickup for CNz) but the same people who said they had a smooth pick up, were the ones complaining of their costume falling apart on the road, having stormers and having to use porta-potties.

Trini-in-Toronto said...

Im not sure you can chalk up a 16% increase to inflation, but you do have the chance to play Mas in barrie and Hamilton. We play Mas on 3 different weekends for this price, and in terms of entertainment value, that is a bargain. Mind you, we don't indulge in frontlines.

Natasha said...

I agree with most of he comments here. I was very surprised with the cost of the costumes. Anyways, there are only two sections that look amazing, Aztec and Akkadia. The rest are nice, but I expected more from CNZ. Although, i'm not such a fan of the band itself. I just feel like they're trying to be like Trinidad bands etc, and there's this arrogance in them and the people that stand for them. Maybe that's for every band and the ppl that are dedicated to that one band. I just get that impression the most with CNZ.

So far every band that has launched so far has got their "A" game going on, and I see it the costumes being displayed. Alot of gems and beads, plus creativity. I wish every band the best of luck this summer because I think it will be a very close race.

I have yet to see Saldenah, so I'm very excited for that launch. :)

Anonymous said...

I have a few questions for the mas camps.

How hard is it to put everything in one bag with my name on it?
Why do they bother taking measurements if you get a D38 when you're a B?
Would it kill you to sent out an email if you're not ready that day so I don't have to spend an hour in traffic driving from Brampton, only to have to do it again the next day?
Can you strive for pickup the week before so that we can do alterations to our costume and fix and crooked bra issues.
How about we try to be a little green, and instead of truck potties, we have standing ones along the route (every 500-800 meters or so), strictly for masqueraders.

I apologize for my rant, but I'm really tired of the prices increasing, and the customer service decreasing.

I can tell you one camp that stood out, and it was 7 years ago with Calalloo. Since then.... horrible. I might give them another shot this year.

Lisa said...

The frontline are a different story. I understand Trinidad is about 3 times more for twice the experience, so all this means is that Toronto is even more of a deal.

Can I also add that customer service in Toronto is far better than in Trinidad too. Where do you hear of people being able to pick up their costumes up to a week early in Trinidad?

Masqueraders also starting to expect their section leaders to be available to them 24/7 nevermind there are costumes to be made and nevermind if said costumes were late in delivery there would be a big hoopla....please you buy a costume in Trinidad, you don't get to meet and greet the section leaders and hello... I am pretty sure there are no alterations and pick up is through a little fenced off area.

Lisa said...

I'm also excited to see what Saldenah has...fantasy in jewels is the theme and it sounds very interesting to say the least...

TB said...

Since no one else has brought up this point yet I will throw it out there...

One thing to think about in terms of rationale of the increased costs may be a combo of any of the following:

increases in gas/fuel prices (this affects shipping costs of the materials whether they come from the US, Trinidad or China).

The new tax structure HST also affects costs of materials, and importing them.

Its a dominoe effect as the Suppliers charge more the bands charge more as their overhead rises.

There are a lot of costs to producing mas... have to pay the DJs, designers, Lease for the mas camp space and hydro/water/electric, Security on the road, Big Trucks for the road and their drivers (again GAS), portapotty truck (GAS), Food and water (anyone who does grocery shopping would see a difference over the last 12 months in food costs).

I could go on and on... just wanted to provide some examples that may help others appreciate what the bands are facing and why they may have made a tough decision to increase prices.

At the end of the day MAS is a money making business and those that invest their time in their business deserve to make a profit - none of you go to work for free so why we expect the mas makers to starve is beyond me. I dont see any of them living the laps of luxury so I think their profit margin is entirely reasonable.

its simple ecomonics - supply and demand.

Anonymous said...

WELL ppl I hope they have group discounts! maybe 10 or more ppl can get the costume for 190-185 baseline. if they wont have that deal then maybe I will hit up TK (DEXTER) and see if he and his section leaders will give a person a lil cash break!

But I did like CN costumes, some of them didnt fit the theme but others did! I will wait and see the other bands.

Karabana said...

I know it's automatic to compare Toronto to Trinidad, but really we shouldn't, since Caribana will never be (a 2 day) Carnival. T'Dad's pricing reflects that it's not only 2 days, but all inclusive bands provide, among other things, all-you-can-drink & food. (True, we get Hamilton & Barrie, but they are extra, & most masqueraders don't go.)

I don't think most people are disputing that bands incur costs to operate & that prices must therefore increase due to the poor economy. What I believe people are rightfully shocked by is the 16% backline costume price increase & 20 - 30% frontline price increase, because as was said, it sets a scary precedent. We can't simply say well, if you don't want to pay that, just don't pay it, bc all masqueraders and all bands are affected by these price increases. Other competing bands will feel inclined to raise their prices as well.
I do wonder, what is the cap I put on a costume...?

Finally, a question: are there 2 different Lisa's commenting??

Shanna Marshall said...

With all this being said, Nationz has always given me my costume (yes some ppl in other bands didn't get theirs last year!), drinks on the road, food and a chance to play in Hamilton, Barrie AND Miami. If most people don't go then that is their choice. I will make the most of my $215 or $425 or $925 if given the chance.

I really hope the customer service gets better this year.

I am interested in seeing what Saldenah has to offer even though I am already registered in Nationz. It would also be interesting to see what Saldenah's pricing looks like.

Congrats to Nationz on selling out 1 section in the first day of registration! Aztec we coming hard !

Anonymous said...

so what did people think of the day 1 registration at the sound academy yesterday. I think it went very smoothly compared to previous years - people available to help measure and answer questions, organized set up, no paper form to fill out, and the wait time was reasonable.

You know the section and band leaders read these blogs so have your voice to either compliment them or give suggestions for improvement (considering registration will continue for several weeks they can still make changes for those yet to register).

Anonymous said...

Lets be honest the
1.sales tax.....complain to the Ontario provincial government this is a business that when cash is not the main transaction, tax would be required.

2.the fee for purchasing the costume online....complain to ticket gateway, they have to eat a food too!!! Allyuh want everybody to starve for your enjoyment or wha???

So for the easy of online registration, no line up, no burning of GAS to drive to Solarium and securing your desired choice.....LOW de band nah!!!!!

They will not be the only band selling costumes online or through ticket gateway.

Anonymous said...

I'm a section leader in an A band, and I happy to see Carnival Nationz increase their prices this year, come one people, I paid for my niece costume to play mas in Brooklyn, New York, and the band leader told her that the price this year and the price is a whopping $175.oo for her costume, and that's a child costume. and yes, that's the price, the starting price for a backline costume is $300.00 and you guys are complaining to pay ONLY, ONLY $215.00, COME ONE PEOPLE.

MY band only increase their price by $10.00, which in my opinion is not enough. If you only knew the cost of feathers this year, and trust me John Bead don't have a damn thing, and don't say go to Miami, his feathers are terrible. and also pay in mind we have to pay duty on everything, trust me again John Bead don't have anything. We have to go to New York, and pray that someone has a contact to get your stuff direct from China, and trust people duty tax is a hell of thing, and hope it clears in time, don't forget your bodysuits, well that's another story.

Kudos Carnival Nationz on a job well done, love the costumes, good band launch.

This is just my opinion,

Natasha said...

Ok, we can look at it in the POV of raised taxes and gas prices etc. But last year we were experiencing the very same epidemic and the prices were below $200. In fact, CNZ so far is the only band launched with prices like that. There are still other bands that haven’t launched their costumes as yet, and their prices have not been revealed. It is true, if allow one band to raise prices for a costume, then other bands will follow suit. There should be budget plan in place and a price cap instilled for all bands and the costumes. $975 for a front line costume is a ridiculous price. I really do not know who in the right mind would dish out the money to play in a Front Line costume for what? A wired bra and more feathers? Come on. There are costumes from some of those sections that are not even WORTH $215 as well.

It would be nice to have a reply from a band leader or section leader on this.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was reading something on the callabo blog spot, and they asked the question about the price increase. Here's what cnz said.

TCB: We noticed a slight increase in the prices for costumes, can you comment briefly on the factors which contribute to the increase?
CNZ: Carnival is based on women and they take pride on what they look like. It is not simply to put together sequences, braids, beads, but to produce good quality costumes.

When making costumes by hand, volunteers are useful and helpful but when you start getting to a certain number or capacity, solely using volunteers may not be the best option. It is important to understand there are costs associated with manufacturing and shipping. Ensuring costumes are manufactured at the right spot so that quality is maintained, in addition to produced and shipped on time involves costs.

In looking at this from a business perspective, the markup in Toronto Carnival is much lower than other North American carnivals and significantly lower when compared to business or suppliers that may charge up to 300% more for a product. The increase in price is a little more justified, when it ties into the points mentioned earlier about producing a costume on time, maintaining quality and the experience while on the road. This year we have even moved the band launch earlier to allow for more time. Overall, we truly take pride in our costumes and to deliver the ultimate carnival experience.


Lisa said...

Hi Karabana I just noticed your post on the lisas. I do notice there are a few Lisas listing...oh well.

For me, there is only one Lisa...lol. love your posts.

Anonymous said...

Aztec, the best looking costume SOLD OUT!!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh....after last nights disappointment by Saldenah, I running to Nationz $215 here I come....

Anonymous said...

And on top of things, they wanna charge ppl a whole heap of money, the food on d road already not all that!, and there isnt no alcohol. Like atleast give ppl a free fete pass na!

Anonymous said...

Its no longer about the culture anymore, its all about the money!. The treatment is horrible, the costumes ALRIGHTTTT!, and they wanna come charge ppl 200 something dollars

Anonymous said...

I don't understand how using volunteers cheapens a product. Do they have some special hot glue school to get certified for this sort of thing?

Anonymous said...

nationz allya ready for de road we comen on de with the reef in 2013 we ganna mash up the stage and show the juges what the reef is all about band of the year 2 in a row maybe 3

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