When it was made clear that Carnival 2023 would see a return of the revelry that Trinidad and Tobago had become accustomed to, expectations from both band leaders and masqueraders have been sky high.
However after a few of the major bands launched and started revealing the prices of costumes, some potential masqueraders expressed concern.
Resonate Carnival, which launched last Saturday, is hoping to fill the void for those who want to be a part of Carnival’s return next year, but don’t want to be smarting as significantly from the pocket.
“First of all we are making it a lot more affordable because we know masqueraders, our previous masqueraders have experience concerning how they buy their costumes and how they play. What they are interested in etc. So we decided just to make it more affordable for them so that they can enjoy carnival after all this time,” a spokesperson for the band told Guardian media.
The band unveiled five sections at its launch, but it offers potential customers numerous options in terms of the customisation of those costumes to fit their budget.
“We think persons are really watching their pockets and we intend to still offer persons a premium experience at affordable costs based on the costume options that they purchase. So we give you a very simple package to start with, and then as a masquerader, you can build on what it is you want on your costume as to how expensive or how you want your costume to be,” said the spokesperson.
The team adjusted its approach based on their initial research as well as the reaction of the public to other bands following those bands announcement of their prices for the merry monarch next year.
“You also have to look at people’s pockets because we just came out of the pandemic and people are still looking at their pockets. We looked at the conversation online and how people feel about prices. You see how people were commenting and sharing their thoughts on the prices of certain Carnival bands and what people are willing to pay for and how they spend their money,” said the spokesperson.
The band is new, but it has come with a wealth of knowledge in the industry.
In building upon their theme; a cosmic experience, well-known designers Sandra Hordatt and Nikitha created the costumes for the band’s five sections: Aditi – The Queen of 5 Suns, Ayizan – The Planet of Miracles, Katesh – The Goddess of Sacred Love, O-Ry-Yah – The Mother of the Universe and Ryu – The essence of fluidity.
The management team is also full of known quantities in the industry, as it is a collaboration between Residence lounge, Silhouettes lounge, Fantasy Carnival and Entice Carnival.
While Resonate is a new entity, the band is not short of know-how concerning mas-making.
The Resonate spokesperson said the plan for the band had been in the works for some time.
“Since the break from Carnival over the last two years with COVID and stuff like that, I think the team has always had an intention of coming back for Carnival since the last Carnival (in 2020) and it was just a matter of
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time for them to finalise and put everything together to make their presence available for 2022,” said the spokesperson, “The band comes with experienced (People) of over 10 years, with management from different types of Carnival, from Fantasy and Entice Carnival. Some of the players are from there, the same persons who are accustomed to managing and having Carnival bands for the past 10 years.”
But the band is wary that many dynamics have changed from 2020 to now, as the supply chain challenges contributed significantly to production costs in other bands.
In a bid to reduce costs, the band has opted not to outsource material for the creation of its costumes, instead opting for local products.
“They are looking at basing everything on local production in Trinidad which means it’s going to be a lot more cost-friendly for us. In terms of obviously, the design and how they design the costumes. It will also be a lot more cost-effective because we don’t have to ship from China. Everything was made and done in Trinidad,” said the spokesperson, who explained that even the shift to local material had been planned by the management team since the acquisition of its workspace.
“With the new space that we have. We now have the space to carry about that project which will be our own mass production house,” the Resonate rep said.
However, the cost of putting out a band, especially a new band without a following is a costly one, simply getting to this point has been a significant investment.
The Resonate spokesperson could not give details on the cost incurred so far but detailed the various expenses that have racked up, all before registration officially begins.
“I could just tell you from my experience, that bringing out a Carnival Band is expensive because you have to do market research, for every customer you want to know what people want and what people like,” said the Spokesperson, “Just producing a show (for the band launch is a huge expense because you have to pay for models you have to do photo shoots video shoots. You have to put on a show, it is a lot of expense that goes into putting out a band because you know everything has been about people on social media, Now everything is digital, digital platform payments, social media everything.”
But the team is confident that the investment made now will be worth it as there is a space for Resonate to occupy within the industry, particularly given the demand for mas in the upcoming Carnival.
“This is another option. People are looking for premium options. People are seeing their favourite bands are selling out, plus a lot of foreigners have bought out costumes, especially in the bigger bands. So we have always been the other option and we want to be another option that provides quality service to masqueraders as well as a great experience on the road,” said the spokesperson.