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T&T launches 2013 festival

The Mas Band: The Mystery of Cascadura.

Even as Barbados is still wrapping up the post-mortem on Crop-Over 2012, neighbouring carnival country Trinidad and Tobago is already launching its festival for 2013.

Traditionally held in February ahead of Ash Wednesday, at least one band took to the streets in a simulation of carnival half a year ahead of the scheduled February 11 and 12 celebration to launch its colourful band for next year.

Local designer with Wednesday 2000, Mackie Holder said although some Grand Kadooment bands launched earlier than usual this year, mainly because of the economic situation, he could not see it getting to the stage like Trinidad, with promotions six months ahead of time. The main reason, he explained, was that carnival was an industry in the twin-island republic, whereas it was simply a season here.

Former T&T Soca Monarch for 1995 and 1997, Ronnie Mackintosh, now bandleader of The Mas Band, launched at the weekend under the theme The Mystery of the Cascadura. The 11 section band hit the streets with music truck from the top of Fredrick Street to City Hall, with band members in full costume.

The band, which has won medium size band for the last five years, has been steadily growing with some 1,500 revellers expected to jump for 2013, with a section designated specially to the Marcus Crew of masqueraders from New York.

Holder told Barbados TODAY though that the business of carnival is quite different from Kadooment in Barbados.

“In Trinidad there are people who make careers out of bands, whether it is wire bending, making headpieces, bathing suits, what have you. I am not so sure it could work here,” he said.

While there were a few bands here for whom a Kadooment band was part of their entertainment business, he said most bandleaders had other job. As well, he maintained, there was not a lot of designing of bands going on in Barbados, when compared to Trinidad.

Quite a few bands now were designed and even made elsewhere, and Holder contended that in order for there to be a serious industry in Barbados the judging criteria would have to change to foster a more indigenous product from beginning to end.

“There is no industry here… How do you form an industry? It has to have local content in the design and manufacture stages. If you import everything, what are we doing? We have to have a system as well that rewards that local input. How do we judge craftsmanship? You have to look and decide how you want it to go,” he said.

Indicating to designers like the infamous Big Mike out of Trinidad, he said: “This is such a business for Trinidad that you have people for whom this is what they do.”

Holder said usually he would go to New York in March to start looking for fabrics to design his Crop-Over band, and Big Mike, for whom carnival would just have ended, would already be shopping for materials for the following year.

In fact, he noted that that particular designer would sit with his suppliers for sometimes about two weeks, designing and sourcing materials to produce the band for the next year. (LB)

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