This was my very first year playing with IP and while having done all my research, I was told they had the most vibes. Below is my review.
I was so excited when IP launched that I was one of the very first to register. However, my section’s designer, Sonia Mack was responsible for handling registration and payment which I must say is a pain in the rear as it does not reflect the customer service I may have received from IP directly. Registration itself was extremely easy, there were times where the website was down, and Sonia Mack’s website was unavailable for a very long time so there was a lot of confusion as to what prices were. Please work on your website build out next year.
The communication from IP was extremely LACK LUSTER! We waited too long to be told when registration would be open, and when the website would be fixed. There was absolutely no reveal of Monday wear. They waited literally, two days prior to tell us when distribution dates were, which for people traveling into Trinidad is a headache! IP nor Sonia Mack was clear as to where we had to pick up our costume from, which created confusion also. Please do better , consistency is key. I do not think designers should be able to handle collection on IP’s behalf. Lastly, I truly believe people pay too much money for their costumes and the experience to be treated like we’re begging to play in your band.
Our collection for Sonia’s section was at IP’s mascamp and not at the plaza which was a bit of a life saver. We picked up on our date given and there was only one person ahead of us. However, I was extremely disappointed to find that they had no receipt of what I had already paid for and depended on us to tell them what our balance was, and what additions we made. I personally was missing my necklace but improvised and did not let that spoil my experience. Two women in my crew did not get their additions (headpiece, boyshorts) at all, which is disheartening.
Carnival Monday we met the band late, but had no problem catching up to them as we had friends there who were able to tell us where the truck was. The band was pure vibes, however, there were too many non-masqueraders in the band. Considering one of the extraction members checked ME to see if I belonged, I expected better. It was so cramped at one point I could barely whine to the side. Truck #1 played the same 12 songs over and over. ANNOYING! Mostly Machel songs, which yeah yeah, I get his allegiance to the organization but my god, can we have a well-rounded mix of songs? The truck also drove too quickly. At one point, three trucks passed me while I was chipping, which I had to run to catch up to. Not until the end of the day, did I end up near the last truck, where there was way more space, and a variety of music did I truly enjoy myself. And that was toward the end of the evening.
The food was dry, I chose the vege option and could barely finish all my food. The bartenders surely kept the drinks flowing. Whether I asked for water, coke by itself or my drink of choice there was no issue. They did however, run out of cups and my IP bag did not include an IP cup. So imagine my surprise when I had to beg a local KFC for some of their cups. Again, people pay way too much money to participate for this to be happening.
First of all, WHERE WAS THE COOLING TRUCK WE WERE PROMISED? In 90 degree weather, where people have been outside since 6/7AM, this was truly ridiculous. People were supposed to meet the band at 6AM at a certain location. 6:15AM the band moved to some random street.
I must say I loved the look of my costume and was comfortable in it but it was not the most practical. My tights were thoroughly ripped because of the belt, before we even met the judging section. One of my cousins eventually just took off the belt and ripped her tights off. Even I, took my belt off before I crossed the stage. There was also a jewel on the bra that stabbed me in the chest for most of the day, that most of us had bruising. I get that designers want to have the most beautiful costume but they should also be functional. The wait to cross the stage was unbearable in that heat, but I don’t think that is a reflection of IP.
We got to the rest stop ahead of the band which was a plus so there was no line for food, bathrooms or to find seating. I took the best nap in the bleachers. I did not find out until late about the ice cream stand and massage section, but I did enjoy both amenities once I found them. There should be better communication/signage about where amenities are. Also, there was no announcement of when the trucks left, so we had to run through Tribe to find IP.
Overall, I had an amazing time despite the things I listed above. I learned not to let things beyond my control ruin the actual experience for me. The vibes was on point, friendly masqueraders, and staff. The end of the night, (though left on the highway) was the most amazing once the sun went down and a truck hosed us down with water. I am not sure at this point if I will play with IP again, they seriously have to work on their communication and customer service.
Yours in Mas