I really don't see the big deal with pre registration. I mean if you know a committee member of a band of your choice, you will find yourself taking advantage of that connection...right? I know I will! But I do believe that each committee member or section should be a allowed a set number of pre registered masqueraders. And that number should not be so large that the majority of potential masqueraders are unable to register using traditional methods. But my position on this is that we as the paying customer should not allow these bands to feel that we would give an arm, leg and a couple of vital organs to get the privelege to purchase a costume. I've said so many times that there are too many bands to choose from, and we should stop acting the fool as if Tribe is the only band for T&T Carnival.
I agree that Tribe offers a lovely product and great service. I have experienced this service when I played in Tribe in 2008. However there are other bands that do the same. I was very happy with Spice and I've heard great reviews for Ronnie and Caro and newbie Oasis. But this change has to be collective. Most of us would not play in a band if our friends are not there. The thing about Tribe is that you must see at least 15 people that you know which is always fun. We also place a social value on bands like Tribe/Bliss, Spice, Harts and IP. These bands attract a certain class/colour as well as class/colour aspirants which make them bands of choice for many people who do not recogize bands that do not offer these social benefits.
I am in no way condemning persons who make these choices; I have played in these socially privileged bands so I cannot chastise anyone for doing so. But let's stop pretending that mas is all embracing and equal....
**The pic is of Oasis' Koi whose FL starts at TT$3985 (pic from Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Costume Photos)