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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Wrist bands

Some people are probably tired of hearing us complain about the crowd control "stormer" issues within the parade. So I guess we should be grateful for any efforts being made.

I was ready to bash the new wrist band strategy, saying it was pointless and ineffective. When I first heard about it I thought, why bother giving masqueraders wristbands? Is it that you can't identify a stormer? He's the guy not wearing feathers, glitter or maybe a board shorts. I wondered if they were trying to weed out persons who make their own costumes, which is not so much of an issue in Toronto because we can't even keep out the guys in jeans and white Tees.

On further thought, I figured its more of an educational campaign, the FMC and TMBA are coming together to try and teach the public that this is a parade and its not ok to just overrun the bands.
From the first band launch, they had SKF up on stage telling people, that without a wrist band, you will be ejected from the parade route. Its kind of an empty threat, once they are in you can't really throw them back over a 9 foot fence.
The only hope is to teach people that their actions are unacceptable and shame them into not doing it.
 I think we need to get the mainstream media involved, I want to hear G98.7, Flow, CTV and the Toronto star telling people that they can't just hop the fence and jump up.  I mean, I read this article in the Star called "Don't fence us out"

They got the info out, that there would be taller fences, but we need them to go a little further by encouraging guys to not jump the fence. Instead they go and quote the guys complaining about being kept off of the route.

The fact that people complain that they are fenced out means they don't understand that IT IS A PARADE, NOT a FREE FOR ALL for anyone waving an island flag and is entitled to join in. The people wearing those costumes? THEY PAID FOR THAT, they are called masqueraders, THEY are the only ones who should be on the route.

I get it, when I was a broke student, I used to storm. If I had $150 it was going towards Air Jordans, not a costume.  But there are other options, you can volunteer, either with a band or with the festival itself. Get your friends together and help out. Its a good time, you get to meet people and if you are a teen, you can get some community hours that you need to graduate.

Also, lady masqueraders, if you don't like your band being over run by stormers, you can't let these guys wine on you. Even if he's looking good, toting a six pack and smelling sweet. They are  like bees draw to nectar and you are the flowers. With that kind of incentive, no wrist band will keep them behind a fence. If EVERY time he try to get a wine he is told "no costume... no jam" maybe he will play mas next year.



Crying Wolf said...

All I can say is good luck with that. I've seen volunteers get pushed and trampled by hoards of people busting through the gates the moment they let a masquerader through. I think the only way this is going to work is if you have AK-47 wielding police officers patrolling the fences. Cops that will tell them to leave or they will be booted out. I doubt people would listen to plain old volunteers wearing bright and colorful t-shirts checking for wristbands. But hey, at least they tried something new for once.

Trini-in-Toronto said...

the only thing that moves a crowd is dog bite and police horses

Karabana said...

Also tear gas.

Crying Wolf said...

Could you imagine all the horse poop on the road if they had horses? I wouldn't mind seeing horses and German shepherds though lol.

Unknown said...

I had to share this post on my FB page because every year I promise "this is the last year I'm dealing with this stupideness" and then I see a costume that calls to me...smh...and end up playing mas again. The crowd control...or lack thereof is the issue. I've seen people climbing over the fences, but most of the storming comes from (1) there are no barriers at the end of the parade route when you get to that bridge underpass, so that's where most people enter the parade route and walk up towards the bands (2) masqueraders from other bands that have already crossed the stage simply turn around and walk back up the parade route and infiltrate the bands that are coming down.
The lack of respect that is shown for the costumes, for the masqueraders, for the public who came to watch the parade...I don't even know where to begin to fix it. It's definitely not going to happen overnight. I guess it's going to have to be constant education of the public, following through on threats, and beefing up Police presence. I really hope it's better this year...

Kryssy said...

I agree with Lisa.
Also I have to say that I noticed last year that the parade wasn't as crowded as the year before and I felt that the "threat" of the greater police presence and random searches (or maybe even that horrible shooting the year before), may have kept people at bay. Maybe... (and I'm reaching on a hope and a prayer here)... the notice of "wristband enforcement" will be another "threat" that will keep people at bay some more.
If I'm being realistic, in my head nothing will stop stormers with one exception: law enforcement, parade organizers, band leaders & the city have to work together to have enough of a presence downtown to keep stormers off the route. It's so dang annoying & disrespectful to just join the parade with no costume. People really go out & buy outfits JUST to walk down Lakeshore. Why not buy a costume? It's baffling.
But wait... There was a family friend who we played with 2 yrs ago. Then last year she didn't play mas but popped up to say hi to my family on the parade route. To my shock, she had MADE her own costume and actually WORE it down to the parade. All of our faces were like... o_O
I'm more concerned about stormers this year than in years past because my 16 yr old sister is playing mas with me and her older cousins this year. I can see it now... Some little fast boy is gonna try and pick her up and grind on her, (like we all know the SWEATIEST boys with their little hormones raging do), and I might just catch a case & end up on that white plane with no logo -deported right back to Trinidad. LOL. The irony is that my younger brother (in his 20's) is a stormer. He is "too cool" for the parade so he just roams the street all day. If he couldn't get on the Lakeshore I'm sure his experience would not be as fun...
Anyway, I'm going to have a positive attitude about it and hope for the best. (I'll pass on the horse poop in the streets though. ICK! LOL)

Trini-in-Toronto said...

The police provide crowd control in Brooklyn for labor day.... They have thousands of them.
But, that is not the role in they play in Toronto. Organizers told me that the police are there to keep the peace and protect the safety of the public. They are not there to organize the parade, keep stormers out, or make sure things run on time. That is the job of the FMC and TMBA. Actually I don't think I want to see Police getting into a confrontation with
stormers. I volunteered for crowd control at kiddies, and some drunk band volunteer got in my face and I really wanted to hit him, and that was at kiddies. Can you imagine an officer standing in the sun for 5 hours listening to a bunch of alcohol fueled youngsters mouthing off at him. This is not the kind of interaction you want with the police.

Kryssy said...

Oh wow! I has no idea. That makes a lot of sense now that you've shared that info about the role of the police.
Knowing that, I don't know how to still be positive about the whole stormer situation getting resolved.

Unknown said...

true. police are there for saety but i saw someone jump a fence and hit a masquerader . i play every year. past three years with scoita so i could be part of it and only 5-15 dollars. playing a midline costume this year . dreading it being ruined. hell i know it will. firstly bands need to get on the road faster. its harder t jump in with bigger bands because they have better security and less stopping will happen down the line if they address this issue. i mean alot pause at the gates once stormer hit.

Kryssy said...

I sent out an email asking about the wristband enforcement (who/how it will be enforced) & Curtis Eustace was nice enough to email me the following information back directly:

1. Enforcement on the route: for the first time it will be done by special security guards and paid duty officers.

2. Paid police: (Are there to maintain the peace.) Additionally, this year police will actually be assisting at the points of sweeping and ejecting
unauthorized persons from on the road.

Wanted to share with y'all. It certainly makes me hopeful that they seem to have a strong plan in place. I think the only thing that they haven't accounted for his masqueraders storming other bands. But that's not so bad.

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