My TRIBE 2011 Review

My History with Tribe

I am not a newbie to TRIBE.  Neither in all my years, have I had any hook ups, known or gotten to know a designer, committee member, or band leader. So I feel like every complaint and feeling is warranted!    

I have played with TRIBE since they branched out in 2004, except for one year, 2007 (and only due to breast feeding).  ...And I happily add, I have played with TRIBE while I was 2 months pregnant with my daughter in 2006. Due to registering with the band and making travel arrangements from 2005 for Carnival 2006, when I discovered I was pregnant, I felt I could get away with a two months pregnancy belly on the road. Despite TRIBE's yearly warnings about no costume changes, I will admit in 2006, they were kind enough to assist me with just that.  Due to pregnancy, I needed a bra size change to 34D since I could no longer fit into my regular ordered cup size. No hassle, understood, it was changed!  

Surprisingly enough, I remember being overly protective of my pregnancy belly at carnival fetes, yet I felt very comfortable and safe, during my TRIBE Carnival Monday and Tuesday experience.  One vivid recollection was seeing a then younger Dawg E.Slaughter, and X-Caliber DJ, as we entered the old Savannah stage. There was something so tranquil about that moment which I remember about our friendship to this day. 

So when it comes to fond carnival memories, sincere love and loyalty for a carnival band, mine has been with TRIBE.

And if ever I've had a complaint, as long as I've played, I find it brutally unfair how new comers (non-TLC holders) get pre-registration hook ups. Many a friend of mine pre-registers despite not owning a TLC (TRIBE Loyalty Code).  Certainly registering for some of the most desired sections. Yet, I wait every year for my TLC registration moment, whether the outcome is in my favour or not! In 2010, it was not in my favour when I got one of my last choices, Eri but hey I settled with just getting into the band.  Hard to believe, after years of loyalty that I would have to settle to be in TRIBE, but I did.  

MY TRIBE HISTORY IN PICTURES

2005: (Forgot band theme) - Achaean Odyssey
First year with my Trini college friend (seen right) who introduced me to Trini Carnival 

2006: What Lies Beneath - Parrot Fish
2 months pregnant

2007: Ole Time Something Come Back Again
Only year, I ever missed in TRIBE

2008: Myths and Magic - Lady of The Lake
Started to blog about carnival, particularly Lucian Carnival

2009: Birds of A Feather - Spangled Cotinga

2010: The Secret if Silk - Eri
One of my last choices, but loved it by the end!

2011: The Way of The Warrior - Knights Templar Frontline
MY FIRST FRONTLINE EXPERIENCE ... can't even compare to my worst backline experience!

This was me once I got out the car and was able to put on my headpiece ... half an hour later from the time we parked and got shuttled to the band's location, my FRONTLINE costume was already falling apart! Mind you, I never wore not a single item of my TRIBE costume on Carnival Monday!  ... And here it goes ... while walking, my brother from a white mother (no relation, just my boy who has become like a brother to me) had to be assisting me with retying while my husband took pictures.

Let's rewind to when I picked up my costume and tried it ...

My Bra
My first complaint was this is a cheap bra. This was not TRIBE's usual bra. It reminded me of a bra, I'd get in Lucian carnival, not TRIBE. And rightly so, knowing the difference paid for each costume in various country carnivals.

I know A TRIBE bra, it is usually like a Victoria's Secret bra for me.  It keeps me supported, pushed up and looking absolutely blessed. Just check the previous pictures. Since Knight Templar's was strapless, I felt the tension of the bra was not its usual quality. I knew just tacking the bra would not suffice. I would have tits popping out every minute.  Reassuring ... my bra came with straps attached. Yet that was not the costume I had chosen, I had my mind set on a strapless costume. For some reason, my St.Lucian friend, Chela came to mind ... and I could see her *tying the bra* like she would a bikini top. So again, with the cheapness of this TRIBE bra, I knew there would be enough stretch for me to just pull tightly and knot this bra in the back. ... And I did just that to solve my problem.  In addition to wearing nipple pasties and walking with my bra straps in my man-bag, as added precautions.

So back to the road ....

My Headpiece:
My headpiece was rather heavy and probably was the first metal frame headpiece that I own.  I'll confirm that when I get back home to Virginia. I am usually good when it comes to wearing my headpieces all day long, along with carrying my Lucian flag by my side and TRIBE drink cup in hand.  We don't part! 'Though I wore my Eri headpiece all day long last year, by the time I took that one off my forehead was bruised and scarred for weeks after. So after only minutes of Knight's antagonizing heavy and uncomfortable headpiece, this was the first part of my costume to come off, by my own doing!  

Yet, within minutes of costume collection, I realized that jewels were amiss on my headpiece. No biggie, I'm truly not one to complain over minor issues. By the time, I got out of the car on Carnival Tuesday, and put on my headpiece, I realized more stones and jewels were becoming loosened. I became a bit more concerned, especially since I had to be consistently propping it on my head (as seen in the pic below). I suppose knowing the scarring from last year's headpiece ... I neither wanted my headpiece too tight, yet still I was afraid it may just come crashing to the ground. Funny still, I knew I'd be in for a HEAD ACHE. On Carnival Tuesday, I was ready to leave my head piece in the hotel room. My hubby and brother from another mother said I could not do that since it finished me off. Since it has become customary that I bring every carnival headpiece back home to my daughter, I knew that head piece had to return to the hotel. So I smartly made a deal.  "If I take it off, you carry!" 
 5 minutes out of the car, full costume ... I felt like a KNIGHT TEMPLAR!
*SINGING* (even now as I look at it) ... "I'm a Warrior!"

ARM / LEG PIECES
(I admit I reverse wore my leg and arm pieces)
Before I knew it my one of my wrist arm pieces popped ... is it lack of glue, cheap glue!??! I was clueless.  So I began to think but my Monday Wear, made by me ... not a rhinestone dropped off, and I'm no pro. (...And the real test, today, I just machine washed my Monday wear corset and every jewel still remains). So how could my frontline costume, within minutes, without me shaking, already be coming apart? I pulled them off, figuring no biggie I still had my feathered arm pieces.  Yet, I for a minute was wondering what if there was a lil' rolling station that could do quick costume adjustments. A glue gun would have been nice! ... And I was not even thinking about the money I had spent, as much as our band had yet to cross the stage to be judged, and I was no longer in FULL costume! Not long after, minutes after ... one of my feathered arm pieces also popped off.  Now I was burdening my husband with every bit of my armor. Saving every piece, to return them all for my daughter! This was all happening a little after 9AM. ... And my first day of wearing my FULL so called FRONTLINE costume!  Feet away from the stage a lil after 12pm, I decided to wear at least one side of my arm piece, I was still thinking judges! Yet, with the tremendous wait to get to the stage, a very much crowded band, fear of digging out an eye with my headpiece, I took to a lil' area left of the stage where I took a few pictures with some ladies in Xi'An and for at least an hour, waited to cross the stage and with a clash of music between music trucks one and two, I decided to skip the Savannah stage.  I walked along the outskirts and went straight to the TRIBE meeting spot for lunch.


MY NECKLACE
This was a four stone necklace at 9AM. Yes, after this carnival I realized how much my phone is my crack! I'm a total crackberry! On my trek to the lunch spot after 1PM, one stone went dashing under a car, I stopped and considered having my husband get down to find it. Then, I remembered we already had one drop off while dressing in the hotel, and that was already sort of a nuisance to fix. So I decided to just let it go and move along our merry way.  I needed to just go cool out!

Yep, after meeting the band by 9AM on Carnival Tuesday, and a breakfast of champions, straight up Jose Cuervo, as in tequila, no chaser, a very over crowded band, no space to move even in my spot due to ridiculous headpieces and arm pieces of certain costumes, heat from the sun and trucks, and the clashing of music from music trucks 1 and 2,  I started to depend on Slaughter (music truck 2) for the countdown in minutes till the Savannah stage.  A little after 1PM, I told my husband, I had no desire to cross the stage.  NO desire to take "ADVANTAGE" ... let's just say I had had enough. I was in need of water and now fed up.  Granted TRIBE drink trucks move off to the side and no longer serve beverages before stage, but my ... we stood there for hours!  Why not have TRIBE staff to serve cans of beer, water, gatorade, popsicles or something to keep us hydrated and cool? I mean we paid for the TRIBE experience!  Again, I felt ripped off!

I did not cross the stage on Carnival Tuesday and proceeded to the lunch area, a lil' after 1PM.  The first revelers to cross the Savannah stage started to arrive after 2PM.  When last I checked, I had three stones then. Yet, when music trucks pulled off again and we hit the road, yep ... I lost my second stone!  *Sun still up* ... and remained with two stones surprisingly well into the last lap fete at Jenny's Car park. ... And we were one of the last ones to leave since they kicked us out at 11PM. I would have been long gone had it not been for my brother from another mother.  LOL!



LUNCH
On Carnival Tuesday, we arrived to a very open grass area, dotted with red blankets. My hubby and I grabbed a few and prepared for our friends waiting to cross the Savannah stage.  By then, a BBM friend in NYC kept me posted as TRIBE crossed the stage.  So I knew we were in for a long wait.  I still was not fussy, cause I used the time to take a much needed breather, to freshen up and some how get a vap for round 2, last lap.  

Monday's lunch was disappointing ... 2 lil' pieces of what was supposed to be BBQ chicken and a whole lot of rice.  That meal actually reminded me of a pelau, not even BBQ.  I was shocked cause generally after years of lunching with TRIBE, this had to be the worst. So on Carnival Tuesday, having arrived early ... I could have my pick, I chose creole which I normally have in past years.  Well needless to say, that too was disappointing ... very lil' chicken, nothing like creole. One friend lamented, "Someone needs to teach the person who catered creole food for lunch how to cook." I'm St.Lucian, so creole is stew.  This was some dried pieces of s/thing. Tasteless, which reminds by the time the band started to come for lunch, one gentleman asked my friend "how was the creole?" I added "the pepper sauce is good!"  Coming to think of it as revelers arrived, passing those already seated with meals, it became a standard, obvious vision, as people peeked over others' food to see what they had so they could make a final decision.  

Lunch beverages were hot.  Water, gatorade, etc ... it was like what's the point?

Carnival Monday ... I waited hours before TRIBE offered a lil ice cream. I could not even wait any longer, my friends and I took to a side street and bought passion fruit popsicles. Poor guy ... 'cause we shouted him down as if in dire need! Carnival Tuesday though, I could have had five popsicles as ladies walked around offering.

but what ever happened to this TRIBE Lunch experience?
... And this was only in 2008
DURING LUNCH ... with enough time to think and observe, I asked myself a few questions.  

Is this the end of days with TRIBE?
Is it that I am getting too old for this?
Is it getting too familiar?
Is BLISS, TRIBE's new focus?
Should I have played with BLISS instead?
Did Saucy (of Trinidad Carnival Diary) know something we did not? LOL!

Feeling that it may just be me, I started to ask friends familiar with the ORIGINAL TRIBE experience for their opinions.  The general consensus was something was amiss.  The food was not good.  The drinks were hot.  The music was too slow. The band was too crowded.  Biggest female issue "My costume is coming apart!"

'Though nothing was special, unique or different about my FRONTLINE experience it was simply a pricey expense, for the worst ever BACKLINE experience in a font line costume. ... And 'though in FRONTLINE, I will forever be the backline chica, adhering to what makes me comfy. For example ... no stockings! LOL! I will admit though, I loved the beading of my costume but was so disappointed to pay so much to have it fall apart and no kind of special anything.

I even came up with new tags lines ... "TRIBE ... NEXT-perience!" and "TRIBE ... the VEX-perience" What ever happened to the "TRIBE EXPERIENCE" that after years of playing, I have come to know?

Looking to my husband for some sort of answers, he stated, "TRIBE management is thinking more profit than quality. Maybe BLISS is their new baby, particularly for the competition."

My friend in NYC also confirmed that BLISS on the Savannah stage was beautiful, well organized and orderly. He said that TRIBE, though our costumes were nice, our sections were mixed on stage.  He also stated that no one mentioned our various sections as we crossed stage.  So there was no idea of knowing our sections. Towards the end of the band, eventually he saw certain sections get in sections. Another person complained "Front liners for any section never took to the stage first!"

... Which reminds me, TRIBE COLLECTION

I could only pick up my costume on Carnival Friday, 5:30 to 8PM. As usual, we got there hours in advance.  So by 3PM, my hubby and I met a group of already seven people already at Cascade waiting for pick up. Most were familiar faces. I remembered I had met and drank with one young lady at a fete in D.C the year before, another couple I knew their 18 month old long before he was born, and the rest I knew, thanks to Facebook friends and their albums.  Even those I did not know, we spent the time drinking from the Cascade bar and sharing 2011 issues with TRIBE production, such as Iroquois headpieces were not yet completed causing revelers to return to the mas camp. ... And whether any of us had gotten 'that not ready for pickup call' from TRIBE.  We joked the numbers on file, were either in the USA or Canada, and we're all in Trinidad.  So oops.  No calls. LOL!

After years, of heading to Cascade ... nothing has changed. Still a poor venue, due to deadlock traffic and lack of parking.  So in years, I get there early to get away.  So those of us, early birds for Friday costume collection, started to align our chairs, for some sort of organization which was followed by every other, arriving reveler after us.  Yet TRIBE members just came out, sat at their usual table and started handing out tickets.  When that happened, people swarmed around their table.  Nearly causing a riot. When one young lady in our group complained that we had been waiting for hours, they eventually stopped handing out tickets and gave our group the first few tickets.  Even still, it was confusion and chaos. Just the TRIBE members' nonchalance attitude was an indication that they really did not give a damn! One gentleman from the group teased, "We're all the dumb asses. 'Cause they treat us like this, and we'll all be here again next year!"

On a side note, I am still trying to figure out, why if I paid in advance and my husband had a balance to be paid, how ever was he able to meet me in the area for costume pick up?  I was 10th for paid in full and he was 14th for not paid in full, not too far apart but still I left him outside to go into the hotel. And he still met up with me on the line for costume pick up.  SMH.

TRIBE 2011 OVERALL

If the band is going to be so crowded and big, please provide smaller, more practical headpieces, costumes, arm / leg pieces. 'Cause right now there's no space to move, dance, shake, except outside of the band, without feeling like I'm going to dig out someone's eye on the road. Knights Templar, Xi'An and Iroquois headpieces were dangerous. Mayan Eagle ... when I got lost behind a front liner and her feathers, I would duck to be able to get ahead! Same with Persian Gold but not too bad. Don't talk for Mongol Fighters ... those arm pads were some bad boys on the road!

If headpieces are going to be heavy or heavily jeweled ... it would be nice to have some extra padding on the inside particularly so foreheads do not get bruised and scarred. Maybe it's time to give men costume/pricing options. The men hardly wore their headpieces. One male friend, just saw his Amazon headpiece as "Impractical and waste of money!" especially after sizing up the crocodile detail of his headpiece. My hubby just laughed at the shape of his Knight Templar headpiece. Even when I told him, save it for our daughter, she laughed too. And said, "daddy looks silly."

The craftsmanship was a major issue in 2011. Female costumes ... every piece was falling apart from head to toe. Did you change glue? Not a single jewel from my Monday wear in which I wukked up in (moved in, rubbed up in, wined in) fell off. ... And I am a costume gluing amateur. What did I pay for? My Monday wear, made by me had more life! Maybe consider providing a lil' portable FIX-IT station in the back of the band, for quick repairs especially if costumes are cheaply made. All I needed was a glue gun to be the KNIGHT, I was meant to be!

TRIBE always has pretty costumes but what's the point if we can't show them off? We're stacked like sardines in the band on the road. No room to give a real good visual from top to bottom! Speaking of ... what's up with all the running in the band? It's either we're deadlocked and not moving and when we do ... my friends complained, "Why we running down d truck after lunch?"

BTW .. shout out to music trucks 1, 2 and 4. LOL! Also I nearly dropped when I did not see DJ Bandit's name in my TRIBE booklet. I even felt jealous that he may have been a BLISS DJ in 2011. Bandit is my favorite DJ on the road. ... And due to his absence, I spent most of my time with the X-Caliber music truck. Thankfully, I caught a glimpse of Bandit playing with Hypa Hoppa, truck 4!

As for the TRIBE bar ... what is PREMIUM? JW Black? I recall Grey Goose, why now Absolut? Not that I even drink vodka. Now that 2011 is over, bring better premium liquor and better drinks options in 2012. One friend suggested, "NUVO, red wine, white wine, even MOET!" ... And why not? And I certainly can't help but complain about the long wait before stage. Why not serve us? Come on TRIBE, do not get greedy and lazy! Crazier still, I don't depend on TRIBE for liquor my cup is filled with my elixir long before I leave my hotel.  So all I needed was a bottle of water! Every year too, our goodie bags are unimpressive. I was told BLISS' bags were better.

Another friend complained, "Security was rude and pushy." I really can't say much other than on Carnival Tuesday people in regular clothes were freely moving about the band. Neither did I see security pushing them out. I did note though a very rude bar man who I happened to take a picture of. I won't put him on the spot by posting his picture.

SO AFTER LUNCH  .... this is how I got back on the road!
No headpiece .. left it in my friend's truck!
A 3 stone necklace ... no longer a 4 stone!
Useless arm and leg pieces ... simply no glue to re-stick so that I could have re-tied my armor!
The nagging jewels from my bra that kept scratching under my arm ... I yanked that off
And when I got up from the red blanket ... a few of my hip band backside jewels remained proving a TEMPLAR once sat there!

But hey, still a smile on my face, no bitch complaining ... I sipped on what was left of my tequila, I was on my way! ... And I can tell you the only reason I won't leave TRIBE at this point is because 'I LOVE MY DJs!'

Best advice from a new friend: Get to know your costume designer. Find their emails and numbers ... so that you can call and request what ever it is that you desire!


10 comments

  1. Girl I knew the band was too damn big since last year!

    http://www.trinidadcarnivaldiary.com/2010/02/tribe-carnival-2010-good-bad-and-the.html

    We were the last section and it took us SEVEN hours to get from Stanmore Avenue to the Savannah judging point.

    My experience last year mirrors yours with the exception that the costume did not fall apart ( it was the best part of my day) , security was on point and I had no food issues.

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  2. Ny...this was an honest review. I've always heard great things about TRIBE and am surprised by all the complaints this year. Seems like there will be a mas exodus to YUMA for 2012????

    Us masqueraders have very high expectations since we spending plenty plenty money. ALL these mas bands need to find a good, consistent balance between quality and service. If not, our loyalty gone outta da window and we on a mission to get the biggest bang for our money and our TIME.

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  3. Saucy ... so how was your BLISS experience compared to/with TRIBE?

    Nicole ... and sad thing, I probably won't leave. I truly like the TRIBE DJs.

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  4. I never commented here b4 but I frequently check out your site. Your pics prompted me to comment.OK Seriously u looked FAB! My gosh im so envious (in a good way of course). Kudos on the hot bod mom!

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  5. I never commented here b4 but I frequently check out your site. Your pics prompted me to comment.OK Seriously u looked FAB! My gosh im so envious (in a good way of course). Kudos on the hot bod mom!

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  6. Thank you DQ. ... And happy that you took the time to say that you visit my blog!

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  7. TRIBE has definitely gotten too big, said it last year, and this year it didn't seem any smaller. Only difference for me this year was that my section was up front so I didn't feel the squeeze.

    I may end up leaving, but the question is "...to go where???"

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  8. Shells, my section was 2nd in line, and I still felt squeezed and packed. And you are so right, to go where?

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  9. Great review! Like you, I have been with TRIBE since inception - did not even miss a year. However, for the first time this year, I had costume issues. Beads were falling out even before the costume left the box, messey glue work, etc. This is something that they will have to address as it is one of the major complaints from masqueraders this year. I am sure they will as they usually pay attention to comments.
    Overall though, I had a good time.

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  10. sad....very sad! if the only think still keeping you with TRIBE is the dj's then its time you jump ship!

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