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Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Mas disrespect

You've seen this or others just like it, the all too familiar image of mas disrespect all over the Internet 
Photo courtesy of King Trinbago, a member of

It was when the bolt cutters came out that people should have put to rest any beliefs that something can be done to stop these stormers. If the image of guys scaling tall fencing and someone prying it open doesn’t tell you that, I don’t know what will. (People said they spotted a cut opening in a fence, and a guy with bolt cutters.) This was a deliberately panned act. Where do you think that guy got the cutters, from a vendor along the Lakeshore? Of course he bought them to bring to the parade with the intent on getting in.  Respect de mas? That was a slap in the face to everyone involved in the parade – we’re talking the creatives, financiers, management and buyers - who are the bands, the FMC, the (main) sponsor, Scotiabank, and the masqueraders. 

It’s not like you can blame the mob mentality any longer. You know, the theory that’s been proven true time & again that when people are in a mob, they let the frenzied vibe take over their better judgement and get crazed. So once one guy creates a gap in a barrier, more people follow, thinking it’s alright. And when you see people walking through an open barrier, you just follow the crowd and figure there isn’t anything wrong with it.

We’re not talking about that. 

There are thugs who know we’re trying to keep them out, and they consider that an affront to their entertainment. They figure they have a right to be in the parade. They know the reputation our carnival has had for as long as I can remember (15 years playing mas people, 15). And they don’t want to be told this year to stay on the other side of the fence just because there are some recent rumblings about not breaking into the parade.  So a masqueraders association formed in 2013 after a noticeable amount of people began to complain on Facebook. It’s nice to know we’ve got a collective voice. It feels good to vent together and encourage people to respect de mas. I like to know I’m now not alone in my frustration over it ruining my mas experience. 
I’ve been complaining officially on here about the storming problem since 2009. Here's my 1st post. Here is Trini-in-Toronto's most recent post and another one from 2013. We all talked a lot about stormers last year. And of course you must remember last year's attempt at wrist bands and how us (paying! legitimate!) masqueraders were being blamed for the congestion?

Did you know The first Respect the Mas was in 2011? And this was the 2nd one - Off the Road. Another stormer post of mine --> K - 2011 and T-i-T's --> S - 2011. There are also more in 2012 , 2011 and 2010.

But for all of our efforts, which are greatly appreciated, there are more people out there with ill intent. People intent on saying “f your mas, this is a street party, and we want in!” 

So for all the constant childish bickering between the separate groups (and you know who they are) whining “well, it’s so obvious what the solution is: __insert brilliant idea___.” or, the misinformed who sound like a damn broken record the way they continuously “blame the bank” – what I ask you is this:
What would you do about the guy with the bolt cutters? How would you stop him?


Unknown said...

1. ROAD BLOCKS - Strategically placed these can keep people traffic and regular traffic at bay.
2. MAS PLAYER ONLY ENTRANCE - This makes one entrance of the CNE for people in costume or working for the bands/festival.
3. $5 SPECTATOR ENTRY Before 12 noon- CHILDREN FREE - This is supposed to be a Family event
5. TTC should stop service to the beginning of the route at a designated time. 2 or 3 pm
6. The official parade should stay within CNE grounds while the Lakeshore should be free for all.
7. Call in the army to hold the perimeter if necessary.
8. Food vendors and washrooms at the end of the free zone. Not near the CNE.
9. Food vendors inside the CNE
10. Mas players should get 5 passes for family/friends
The wire cutters are just too much. Everyone wants to have a good time but that is BEYOND disrespectful. We have to be strategic and smart to keep these stormers in their place.

Unknown said...

I am going to try to be brief. Stormers have always been a problem and the one thing I have noticed is that we have never advertised that it is not a free for all street party. On all the ads on CP24, the presentations no one has actually ever said to the public live on TV for the massess to hear " This is not a free for all" Respect the mass and those in costume" Everyone has a plan, wants to talk about educating the young people, are they gonna listen ..noooo. They just want a free party on the street. We need to stick to point tell them the truth "Respect the mass and those in costume" and then once we have their attention and they understand , we can then educate them on the cultural significance and why it is important that we continue to have such a festival.

I for one have never had a problem with CNE grounds as the location. However I think we need some outside of the box thinking. We need a set up like King and Queen. Even an actual stage if we are on display as maquaeraders. We should be in a location or have a location set up in a way that we are the "show". I posted a video showcasing how its done in Barbados. It works... they start at their national stadium, there is a huge area the spectators sit in the stands anyone in costume (or affiliated, band leaders etc..) has one entrance the guests have another, where they can only be seated. Every band has their starting point, The masqueraders egt in their sections and go around the stadium leading up to their performance on a STAGE in front of judges... once judged they can either decide to stay on the road (spring garden highway)and be with the public or if they are not into it they can end their day at the stadium. I dont know of all of the location options in Toronto. So not sure how it would work for us.

I dont have all the answers, I dont know all of the logistics and what challenges we face. But there must be some way , some how we can have a wonderful festival with the masqueraders being respected. Collectively as a comunity we want something to be proud of and something that we can pass down to the younger ones. If we continue this way we will not have that.

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