A not so short review of my experience with Xhosa Barbados this year.
The registration process was simple and easy to navigate. Go to website. Put in information.Wait for approval. Pay online or head into the band house and pay your 50% deposit with cash or cheque. I chose the latter for myself and my two friends who were coming from Trinidad.
I chose Scorch Oro Queen, the frontline option.
Let me start with the good.
Scorch Bim distribution was everything a costume distribution should be. Timely, staff was friendly and pleasant, shout out Shabier St. John, who contributed significantly to me having a wonderful experience. He chatted, explained how to put on the costume and made sure I had the true Queen experience. When I didn’t receive the thong bottom I ordered he immediately went to rectify the situation. I opted to just take the “mistake” bottom after I tried it on though.
I was under the impression that most other sections were experiencing the same smooth distribution but chileee nahhhhhh.
I first caught wind that there might be some distribution issues coming up on Wednesday evening. I was told that some sections hadn’t arrived due to customs issues. I was expecting to see an announcement on social media or email keeping masqueraders abreast of the situation but saw nothing.
Ok so a few days passed and I keep hearing some of the costumes still hadn’t arrived. So yuh know people were cruel by now wondering what was happening. Still no announcement. Then on Saturday night an Instagram post (which has since been removed) informed masqueraders who hadn’t received their costumes to come down to the bandhouse to collect them.
What really made me do my best Maxine Walters impression is the fact that there was no kinda explanation given for the costumes arriving late.
Please stop treating us, the customers, like we are dumb asses. We understand that there are some factors beyond your control. What IS in your control is the narrative you present to your customers. It would have been so easy to say to those affected by the late arrival of costumes that they were held up in customs or whatever the specific problem was. Like just let people feel like they are part of the process.
But nah, instead Xhosa seemed to be fine with people shelling in the band house and being irate.
I have a friend who had to hodge podge pieces of costumes from previous years to make a full costume because her sizes were off and the rest of the costume was poorly made.
I absolutely loved my costume and had zero issues with it. It was well made. Everything stayed intact all the way to Spring Garden. It was gorgeous and I felt superb in it. Thank you Scorch Bim.
Xhosa offered breakfast to their masqueraders. I arrived at the stadium around 10:30 and breakfast was finished. I heard from other people who said the breakfast consisted of baked beans and Vienna sausages.
I wasn’t surprised because last year it was similar so I filled my belly from home with not Vienna sausages and baked beans. I, genuinely, want to know how hard or expensive it would be to organize boxed foods for masqueraders so that everyone receives said breakfast and you can get something other than bubble guts inducing food. Some ham or fish cutters bwould have gone a long way to making that a pleasant experience.
Similarly, you KNOW, how long it takes to cross the stage and how damn brutal the sun can be Kadooment Day. I mean Kadooment Yeshua blessed us with a sun that ensured that our makeup and costumes would be visible yet somehow you found it necessary to spit in his face. I spent a good two hours waiting to go across the stage with nothing but some lukewarm water from a barrel. Bottle water was too hard fam?
Despite the breakfast hiccoughs, I was ready to get on the road and party hard.
My bad I guess.
Cuz sprinting behind a truck is not my idea of partying. Again, I know this may have been out of your control with the NCF and Crop Over being what it is but, while my conditioning is pretty decent it was tough to keep up with the truck and actually get a dance in.
Let’s talk about drinks on the road.
Man look, you cannot have runners and the runners not have water easily available when the sun is literally scorching.
I am so glad that Scorch provided a snow cone man for the masqueraders in their section. Large up Dexter The Snow Cone Man because without him I feel like I would have passed out on the road.
But what about other sections? There were people behind the last truck who were just searching for water like they were in the Sahel desert. How is that cool? The drinks truck was sprinting down the road, the runners were rushing through the crowd and shoving you out the way like they had specific people they wanted to serve and had to get to them.
This is by far my biggest grouse.
Why were the security ropes 2 inches long?
Why were stormers in the band from Station Hill?
Why am I smelling musty ass men with no Xhosa armbands before they accosted you for dances?
Do y’all care about your masqueraders?
Especially your women masqueraders?
Why did I have to threaten a stormer with violence because he was harassing my friend repeatedly?
Y’all seriously dropped the ball with this. I mean this is one of the main reasons many women choose to be in a band.
Safety *clap* on *clap* the *clap* road.
I went to Carnival this year. I am so sick of RH Trini music. We had a fantastic season music wise this year. So why did it sound like some of the contenders for Road March were from Trinidad? Play de damn well Bajan 2017 music. Every time one of the songs from Crop this year played the crowd got so hype. And then it would go back to Trini music and it would be a dead chip. My bad, for expecting the DJs to keep us hype on the road.
( I didn’t realize how annoyed I actually I am until I wrote this).
And can we stop with the dancehall and Wild Thoughts on the road. I mean good Christ man. We have the whole year to hear these genres. Just for one day can we bash out to some Bajan soca?!?!?!!?
I was ready to go home by Black Rock. I was going to take me and my juck out eye feathers on a ZR and go up the hill home. I didn’t because we lost one member of our crew and we had to find her, so we went down to Spring Garden.
We didn’t take any lunch because my mum, being the person she is, cooked food for us to have after the jump. I’m glad because the food line looked like Federation and I’m hearing reports of there not being enough food and scuffling in the line for food.
This was my worst jump ever. I’ve been doing this almost every year for the last 18 years and this is hands down the worst experience I have had. Y’all can do so much better. I know y’all can because I experienced it the last two years. Communicate with your masqueraders, be up front and honest and be aware that when people pay over a certain price point they expect a certain level of service.
*Up until 8:20 am, Wednesday, August 9th, 2017 there has been no public acknowledgement on social media that patrons are upset and not pleased with their experience*