Crossing the stage

 

It seems that every year there is so much hype surrounding crossing the stage. Whether it’s the song that people cross the stage to, the costume they want to wear crossing the stage, time of day they cross the stage or any number of other things. People seem to anticipate the stage much more than anything else! Not me…..

As always, let me start by saying, I’m not Trini, and I’m a Carnival newbie. My 1st Carnival experience ever (not just in Trinidad) was a mere 3 years ago!

A Bit of history

My first “stage” experience was a year ago when I played with Tribe. I’ll give you guys a quick summary of the experience. It was my first year crossing the stage, so, I had no idea that the drink trucks would be diverting and I wouldn’t be able to access them. BIG MISTAKE. I also had no idea just how long it would take to get TO, much less cross the stage. All in all I waited in the sun for roughly two hours, listening to at most 3 songs over and over. I NEVER EVER WANT TO HEAR ADVANTAGE AGAIN! Sure the 10 minutes I got in the stage were great. But 2 hours in the blazing hot sun (imagine the heat from the fires of hell radiating on your skin), with nothing to drink and the same song(s) playing over and over, for 10 minutes of enjoyment hardly seemed worth it to me at the time!

But, you know what, Tribe was a huge band, and I had heard there were some logistic challenges that caused the holdup. So, you know what, chalk that up to a one time bad experience.

2012

In 2012, I played with Yuma, smaller, newer, tighter band. They had what seemed like a much better plan. Get to the stage earlier, before the congestion and provide masqueraders with a much better experience! Clearly they were on the right track….

Admittedly we did get to the stage quicker, and due to it being much earlier in the morning the sun wasn’t quite as punishing. But, we STILL had to wait a little over an hour to cross the stage. Again, the 10 minutes on the stage was amazing. The energy, excitement, dancing, photographers from all over the world taking photos of the masqueraders. It was great… but, 10 minutes? 20 if you really pushed it I suppose.

Why bother?

After 2 years of crossing the stage, at this point, I have to ask myself, WHY? Why do people think it’s worth it to stay in one spot, for 1-3 hours, in the blazing hot sun, no access to drinks (sure you can BUY drinks from vendors), and listening to a limited selection of songs is worth it? I would much rather be chipping through the streets of Trinidad, constantly moving, jamming to (get it?) different songs, drinks flowing all day as opposed to spending 2 precious hours of time waiting for 10 minutes of excitement. For me, the payoff of the stage isn’t nearly worth the sacrifice.

I realize that as a tourist and Carnival newbie I may just not have the full appreciation for the stage and what it means. But surely there are others like me. So a suggestion to any band owners that may happen to read this. Maybe you could introduce a split in the band as the stage approaches. Let the people that WANT to cross the stage do so, and for the people like me that would rather keep it moving, let us go on a different route, then have everyone meet up again at some point. WIN WIN!

So would you rather keep it moving? Or do you think the stage is worth it?

3 thoughts on “Crossing the stage

  • May 1, 2012 at 7:09 pm
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    Harts comes with hot costumes every year, had excellent male costumes this year, and does not hold people up at the stage, from what I hear…they keep moving…and they get on BAD!

  • May 7, 2012 at 6:36 pm
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    hmm Will definitely need to take a look at some harts reviews… Won’t lie, everytime I mention Harts to someone, it’s inevitably received with a puzzled look and then a comment along the lines of “Harts is for ‘the white trinis'”

  • May 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm
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    …it was started by a trini minority (white) family and apparently was first played in by their friends…and grew…generations later it’s still the Harts running it, and in addition to foreigners and locals (many of the same minority), the children of the original people and their friends still play. They quietly sell out section after section every year, watch them this year and see…they even added an extra section this year and it was so hot.

    I do think I wouldn’t play in it unless i had a crew to play with, just in case the whites pretty much knowing each other leaves me feeling left out during down periods like lunchtime, and I am ready to play solo this year (and getting a free costume as the photographer of another band) so they are out, but if all that were not the case they would be on my list. I do tell my clients of the fact of them being a band owned and run by Trini whites so they can make their own decision…but they are definitely top quality band on par with TRIBE. They are the ones who introduced bikini mas and some other things, their history is on their website.

    They don’t cross the stage from what I hear so I thought they might make you happy. Here’s their costumes from 2012:
    http://eloquence-inc.blogspot.com/2011/08/trinidad-carnival-2012-harts-wrath-of.html

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