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Friday, June 03, 2016

Get ready

It was a busy 2 months! All the bands have launched, (we haven't heard back from Concept Costume Creators) and registration is underway, with many popular sections in big bands selling out quickly, as expected. 

Looking at the numbers, we've attended 88 band launches in the past 10 years. In the first couple of years, we visited mas camps for pictures when there weren't launches. For the big bands (with up to 16 sections and 4-5 costumes per section), we take easily minimum 500+ photos x 2. For the small bands, both of us take anywhere from 80 - 200 photos. That brings us to a total of about 41,600 photos taken since 2007. And that's just the launches, I'm not getting into the other events like the official launch, Jr. (Kiddies) Carnival, King & Queen, or the parade itself. 

We started this blog because there was no easily accessible, up-to-date information online at the time for Caribana. We wanted to see pictures of all the costumes, share & discuss them, so we attended all the launches and posted pictures here. This is our hobby. We aren't professional photographers, and the image of our blog has always been that amateurs can take pictures of the costumes for carnival enthusiasts to see, and we all are free to share our experiences with each other. 

When band leaders, sections leaders, designers, models and masqueraders like & share our photographs, display them as their profile picture, send us thank you messages, and use them on their websites and in other promotional material, we are appreciative, and that makes it all worth it for us. We attend every launch with the same objective, to get the best coverage of the costumes we can. The same effort is given for each and every band. For something that isn't our job, we put a lot of work into this, including post editing. Staying up until 5am to edit, upload and post the pictures has become the norm, perhaps sometimes to Trini-in-Toronto's chagrin. We don't have to do it, we want to do it. 
I still get a rush when I see new, unique costumes on stage and models having fun displaying them. I always hope to see "my" costume stand out among the rest, and get I excited thinking about wearing it on parade day. That has happened this season, there were some memorable costumes, and I applaud the designers who come up with something different for our BBF mas. I remain astounded with the ladies who model, essentially bikinis, in those 6 inch platform heels - that takes some skill. So many models walk & wine on the runways with style, and it's evident they love doing it. They are truly selling the mas.

The challenges at some launches remain to be inadequate lighting and inexperienced models who don't remain on the stage long enough or pose, or aren't coached to do so. But we work with what there is, and that's where editing comes in, although we don't use Photoshop, just our basic camera software. We're talking cropping & colour correction. Two new bands reached out to us to ask what they can do to help media at their band launch, and for feedback on how their launch went, and that is what we mentioned. 

Production at all camps is well underway, and many masqueraders hope that bands learn from their past mistakes, and are not still hot glueing gems on costumes Friday, July 29 at midnight with their thrilled customers lined up waiting outside.

When it comes to the costumes this year, I was expecting bigger mas, bigger wings. It seemed like that trend was going to continue after the last couple of years. Who knows why, maybe not much of an interest in those huge costumes, and/or because of the tactical maneuvering required on the stormer filled Lakeshore. Most people who've worn one have learned they don't want that nightmare again.  Speaking of big mas, and the high prices of these ultra frontlines, I would think masqueraders want to get their money's worth. You pay an ultra price, but will you get an ultra experience? 

New band Island Vybz Mas says they are committed to catering to masqueraders. "We offer a stylish, premium carnival experience with a focus on providing exceptional service, costume quality and deluxe amenities both on and off the road." They list Uniformed Security | Mobile Washrooms. World Class Djs Seamless Registration and Pickup | Superior Costume Quality Innovative Costume Design | Unparalleled Masquerader Service.  

Atlantic Mas, another new band, says they will provide "an all inclusive experience alongside added security measures for masqueraders, (and) will be meticulously involved in operations to ensure a safe and memorable experience for their sections."

Two new bands recognizing the importance of security, and this was before they announced new bands go last.

Jamaal Magloire, Toronto Revellers bandleader, mentioned at their launch that since they are going down #1 on the road and will avoid the stormers. 

Since it's apparent from last year's parade that it's going to be up to the bands to provide security, I have a question for all the band leaders: What are you going to do to provide security for your masqueraders?


Candace's Photography said...

Good question. I hope this year it's better. We'll have to wait to see how the bands handle the security. Btw, keep up the good work. Finally nice to meet you in person and discuss our favs from the previous launches before the launches begin!

Karabana said...

Thanks a lot Candace, it was great chatting with you at the launches and nice to have like minded carnival media to discuss TO carnival with.

KevCanada said...

Great article Kara. I would love to see the big bands (Saldenah, Revellers, Nationz, etc.) set an example by providing security for their masqueraders. It has been shame over the past few years to see big bands with 15+ beautiful sections swallowed up by a horde of stormers so that there is no freedom of movement for the masqueraders and the observing crowd cannot appreciate the costumes.

I know that we all pay enough for our costumes, but I would not mind paying an extra $15-$20 premium on my costume if it would go towards paying for security. I think it would a worthy collective investment to ensure a clear Lakeshore Blvd.


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