After last year’s frantic pace of band launch after band launch in July (Evolution being first out the gate) this year the band launch season for Trinidad and Tobago Carnival 2010 kicks off with the launch of The Spice Route on Sunday July 19th at Club Zen.
Sophomore band Spice being the first to start the ball rolling, and I cannot wait to see what they have in store as the Spice route will be taking masqueraders from Venice to Greece to Egypt, only a few of the countries that will be represented along the journey; much more exciting places and costumes are in store!
Several more band launches are slated to take place in August, which is shaping up to be a very popular month for band launches, as 5 bands so far are scheduled to launch then. Interestingly enough, two bands are even launching on the same date!
So, as we count down the days to the FIRST launch of the season in 5 days, here is my guide to Band Launches for the newbies and veterans alike:
section of crowd at
TRIBE’s band launch for Birds of a Feather
1. Carnival Bands in Trinidad launch the following year’s presentation usually between July and November. Harts USED to be the first to launch for a number of years, however several bands have started the trend of launching in July, long before this stalwart band. This year band launching “season”, as I like to call it, starts on Sunday July 19th with Spice launch.
2. Tickets for the band launch are usually pre-sold at the mas camp, some other designated venue or through committee members. The normal procedure is the band contacts masqueraders who have played with the band before via email or telephone with information on when and where the launch will take place. After that everyone, masqueraders and non masqueraders alike, will have an opportunity to purchase tickets.
3. The main focus at a band launching is to showcase the costumes for the following year’s presentation. Unlike a regular fete it is best advised to arrive early to see the show, if live models are being used. Though the costumes are the main attraction at the band launch a live band or performer is sometimes used to entertain the crowd before the show begins.
4. If your goal is to get a first hand view of the costumes know that the live models usually walk some type of stage , much like a catwalk, and only those patrons who are closest to the stage will get a good view of the costumes. If you stand further back chances of getting a detailed look are limited.
Island People launch of their 2009 presentation
5. For those so inclined you can walk with a camera though many of the photo websites such as , triniscene.com do take photographs of the models in costume for their website. The caveat is that you have to wait for the photos to be published. With your own camera you can take shots of the costume and review them at your leisure. The only problem I have encountered is getting really good, full bodied shots of the costumes are difficult. The photographers from the aforementioned photo websites usually have a media pass and are allowed backstage so they can get up-close shots of the costumes while you have to get a quick shot positioned at the side/front of the stage while the model saunters down the catwalk; much more difficult a feat to accomplish than it seems.
6. Some bands distribute promotional material at the band launch showcasing the costumes such as booklets or calendars where professional photographs of models in costume are displayed. These booklets are also extremely helpful as they list the name of the sections/costume as well. Make sure and secure one of these especially if you do not walk with a camera.
7. You will not be able to register for your costume at a band launching that takes place in Trinidad. Bands will announce the dates when the mas camp will be open and the website will be up and running following the launch, pay attention to those dates. Harts mas camp is the only one that I know of which opens it doors on the Monday immediately following the launch, but even then the website launches at a later date. TRIBE has been known to open for a pre-viewing of the costumes (you still will not be able to register) where they are displayed at a designated location and persons can have a much closer look at the costumes. Following the pre-viewing masqueraders will then be informed of a date for registration. TRIBE’s system is such where both online and in house registration begins at the same time. Other bands simply open their doors for registration at a later date following the band launch.
8. A band launching is not a Carnival fete so do not expect to see patrons dressed in sneakers and shorts ready to jam and wine down low. Several band launches take place at Club Zen and others are themed events, complete with set decor and props. You will see all the latest fashion trends on display. I
9. There will be many band launchings occurring between July and October, for both smaller and larger bands and even private sections of bands. Choosing which band launches to go to will depend on where your interest lies though it is worthwhile to go to a few of the bands you might be interested in!
10. Finally if you are coming from overseas especially to attend a particular band launch DO NOT purchase your flight ticket until the date has been CONFIRMED by the mas band. Dates and venues can change up to the last minute; I remember Island People changed the date of their launch in both 2005 and 2006! So unless you get an email or phone call from the mas camp please do not take the “alleged” dates to heart, even if you read it on this blog!
Let the season begin!