Before I get into this review I want you all to know that I don't have an allegiance to any band or designer. I think that in order to give thorough feedback on an experience, you have to have "other" experiences to draw comparisons. That said, I've played mas with different bands on all of my trips to Trinidad for carnival on purpose.
For carnival 2016, I played mas with Island People (IP) Mas. My experience with the band is very mixed. I think that the overall presentation was pretty and cohesive, I especially liked the Guardian of Love, Guardian of Carnival, and the Guardian of the Forest sections.
The food was decent, no major complaints about the food at all. The spots where we stopped to take lunch breaks were comfortable. Last year (another band) we stopped to eat at a gas station and me and another friend of mine ended up with a food born illness. Still, the drinks are another story, no HUGE issue but I think that all drinks should be available at all trucks. There's no reason why I should have to walk to truck #3 to get a Shandy--nonsense! The drink truck service was pretty good...I didn't experience any rudeness at all. Kudos to the bar staff and mobile potty! I especially want to shout out the shuttle bus drivers Jason and the other two guys--they were WONDERFUL!
The music on Carnival Monday was THE worst! I swear I heard the same five songs the entire day and I was completely annoyed with the DJ's. I do realize that there is a larger issue behind the repetitiveness of the songs as far as the Road March is concerned, there has to be another way to decide on a winner...maybe it's just me. The music on Carnival Tuesday was mixed up much better. The water truck at the end was definitely a bonus, I had a lot of fun despite the obscene amounts of chlorine in the water. My eyeballs went ape shit by the time it was all said and done.
This was the worst aspect of playing mas with IP hands down! The people that I played mas with spent HOURS at the mas camp over the course of two days trying to collect their costumes. They played in the Guardian of Wealth section--I scored a last minute costume in the Guardian of Peace section. From what I understand, there was some sort of supply chain issue which caused the problem. Whatever the issue was...Band leaders need to understand that when patrons spend hundreds on a costume they don't care about supply chain issues. I mean things got pretty ugly at the mas camp to the point of belligerence on the part of a few masqueraders--understandably so! I feel bad for the people working at the mas camp because they were catching the brunt of the anger from masqueraders.
Moreover, the bra part of my costume did not hold up well. I have yet to wear it because it didn't fit but bling was falling off from the time I took it out the box. Meanwhile, I have clothes from big box stores that have held up for years. Needless to say, when I spend that kind of money I definitely expect my costume to last longer. That said, ATTENTION ALL costume designers hot glue is not the answer to everything! It does not hold up that well--
please start sewing the diamante on the costume.
I don't think that I'll be playing with IP in the foreseeable future. Mostly because I think that they have a lot of problems that they need to fix with regard costume production/collection. From what I heard from many other masqueraders, the problems are not being addressed and their experiences keep getting worse. I personally feel that bands need to work out kinks in years 1-3, beyond that, the band should run like a well-oiled machine. IP's been in business for years--