Starting this week, T&T Guardian will be going to different mas camps, getting the stories behind presentations and finding out what makes each mas camp unique in a season where costumes are more similar than different.
This week, we begin with a brand new band to enter the bikini, beads and feathered fray, Charm Carnival and their 2013 presentation, Charm.
Name: Charm Carnival
The band is a joint venture between businessman Robert Amar and mas designer Keith Maclean.
Charm is offering ten sections: Thrill, Magic, Spellbound, Entice, Captivate, Delight, Mesmerize, Temptation, Charisma and Beguile.
Amar says in order to keep the band manageable they will not register more than 1200 masqueraders.
Carnival track record: Though Charm is a brand new band, neither Amar nor MacLean are novices in the mas world.
Amar was an executive producer of mas band D’Krewe and is said to be the man who introduced mobile bathrooms to the all-inclusive mas experience.
MacLean learned mas at the feet of Wayne Berkely and has produced costumes for bands such as Tribe and Spice and has more than 20 years experience as a Carnival designer.
MacLean: I started my career in engineering but at the age of 24, I made the decision to get into Carnival. My first attempt at drawing a costume, won the Best Costume category in a competition. In 1988, I got an invitation from Wayne Berkely to join his team and that led to my career in carnival. I have travelled three quarters of the world doing mas.
Traditional mas or bikini and beads?
MacLean: This year we decided to do pretty mas. The truth is, all the bands today are working with the same historical age group of women that participate and it is clear that the majority of women want the bikini and beads experience.
We named the band and the sections of the band on women. Carnival is women. It always has been and women is Charm. All of the sections are named based on what we get from women on the road. They are magical creatures and Charm provides a magical Carnival experience. All of Charm’s costumes are created and produced locally.
While MacLean admits the costumes are very similar to other bands, Amar promises that the level of service being offered by Charm this year will be something other bands will emulate in the future.
Amar: All inclusive has become the norm but it has also become mundane. As a new mas entrant we had to make a decision on where we would focus the most attention. We chose design, how women would look in the costumes, improving the all inclusive package and service. Masqueraders will have pina coladas, strawberry daiquiris and frozen drinks to keep them cool.
Charm would be ensuring that there was more space for masqueraders to play mas than there were vehicles for equipment on the road.
Charm is redefining the idea of a drinks truck on the road and instead have customized trailers to make an actual on the road bar, that will deliver cocktails and frozen drinks.
The band will also be setting up a venue with tables and chairs and serving stations so that masqueraders are not forced to sit on the road, exposed to insects while eating.