Most carnival veterans have “their” band and have already started the process of getting a costume.
This year however, I think a sizable chunk of the veteran population is ready to try a new band. I personally have been playing with tribe since 2005 and think it’s time for a change.
1. Where are your friends?
I have, in 2006, jumped in Trinidad carnival all by my lonesome. It was, as usual, an epic experience that I will always remember. That being said, it was even more fun when the guys came along in 2007 (So much fun it was just about illegal). Many will be influenced by peer pressure in order to keep the group together and stay with your wingman (more on wingmen in a post to come). Many will also stick with their group cause they have lots of female friends in the group. These girlfriends have been referred to by some as “carnival vibes insurance”. When the girls in the band going on stush and no one is dancing you always have your female friends:)
2. What are the girls wearing?
It was very close race, but in the end I think this factor comes second by a hair in most cases. We don’t even look at the male costumes most times other than to see the colour shorts. What we want to know is which section is the G-string section. Every year, WITHOUT FAIL, that section is the first one to have males sell out. We see the well toned glutes of the models at band launch and on the band sites and assume that we will be surrounded by hundreds of these ladies on the road. Wishful thinking, but no matter how hard I tell myself not to….I want in on those sections too! The fact is that when the ladies have a sexy revealing costume that the KNOW they look good in, they have more confidence and more vibes and by extension the guys have more fun:)
3. Band efficiency and service
We guys are not a particularly demanding lot. We need the “costume” to have the right waist size and be placed in our hands with only a moderate wait. If a bead is out of place….we will live. On the road we must be confident that drinks must be freely flowing and that security must be tight. If stormers are too numerous the vibes will be dead. If the band is too big the vibes will be dead. If the wait to go over the stage is too long the vibes will be dead. We need a band that knows these things and does something about them.
In 2006 when I jumped alone, I still remember walking into a section in tribe between two trucks where I was the only male visible. Guys….let me tell you…that was a surreal experience. Talk about carnival Smorgasmbord:) The male to female ratio of a band is directly proportional to the fun you have. Ratios of under 3:1 (female:male) leads to a disaster as only 1/3rd of females want to dance or are the body type you like. Ratios of 5:1 or more are more preferable
I am sure there are many more criteria…Fellas…chime in!