Band Launches: Why you should attend.

Atlanta carnival 2022 Band launch flyer

All about band launches!

You’ve decided to take the plunge and participate in Caribbean carnival for the first time. Congratulations! After you’ve figured out your budget, it’s time to check out a band launch and view some costumes with a potential mas band (or two, three, four…)

Band launches kick off the carnival season for the upcoming event.  Some carnival band associations will allow you to see all the Mas band costumes in one night, while some carnival Mas bands may opt to display their costumes on dates separate from other bands.  I highly encourage all masqueraders to attend band launches, if possible.  Of course, COVID-19 is still a thing, and it’s not possible to make every possible band launch.  I will talk to you about live and virtual launches, what to expect, and the pros and cons of each.

If you are coming to this website for the first time, check out my blog on how to start with carnival. 

Attending a live band launch.

Carnival Band Launch Photos of costumes
band launch photo for Guyana carnival 2018. Photo credit: Guyana Times.

Attending a band launch for carnival is a lot of fun, and I strongly recommend you attend if you can.  There is typically a fee to get into the band launch.  Food, drinks, and entertainment (music) are provided to get everyone excited to see the costumes.

I like to attend carnival band launches, because you can see the colors of the costume live and how it flows when worn.  Photos do not always do this justice, and many times Photoshop (color-grading) can alter the presentation of the costume.  This is a chance to see if the costume is realistic for wear.  Simply put: Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s meant to move in for several hours, and not all coochies are made the same (You will understand what I am talking about when you start viewing costumes).

Mas bands work hard on their presentation of costumes. The models spend hours practicing, and sometimes choreography may be involved, so chances are you are in for a great show.  

A live band launch will also give you an overall “vibe” of the band.  Does your energy match their energy?  Is this presentation something that you want to feel part of? Feel the energy of the loyal masqueraders in attendance (trust you will tell). Are you energetically gravitating toward this band and its masqueraders?

You can also attend a live carnival band launch virtually. Nowadays, many mas bands will have a live event that you can attend, and they will broadcast it over YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or even some television stations.  This is definitely a cost-effective way to view the band launch, especially if the event is happening out of state or out of the country.

Pros:  

  • You can visualize the movement of the costume.
  • You will appreciate the true colors of the costume.
  • You can determine if the costume is wearable for you.
  • You will feel the overall vibe of the band.

Cons:

  • You likely won’t see all options of a potential costume (high waist panty, boy short, full coverage).
  • In my experience, band launches hardly start on time.  This irks my military soul.  Prepare your mind to see the costumes at the last possible minute (near the end of the event).
  • You can’t attend ALL the live band launches, and you’re at a disadvantage waiting to see pictures before you decide to register (especially if the band is popular).  Sometimes bands will register at the event after the costumes are displayed. YES, I have seen costumes sold-out at a live band launch before it even goes on the website.  This is where pre-registration might be your friend.  For more information on pre-registration, click here.
Photo from band launch

Pre-recorded (virtual) band launches.

Mas bands have found a pre-recorded band launch to be more cost effective.  They won’t have to pay for a venue, the licenses to hold the events and serve alcohol, security, food, and all the other logistics that come with a live band launch.  But thanks to COVID and the need for social distancing, it makes more sense.  

The bands hire the necessary people to put together a production to display the costumes, and a videographer helps put it all together.  In most cases, these presentations are no longer than three minutes.  Below you will find my absolute favorite virtual launch from Mascots International for Miami Carnvival 2021.

Pros:  

  • You can watch the band launch from the comfort of your own home whenever you want.
  • You can see all the virtual pre-recorded launches at your fingertips.
  • You will view the models moving in the costume.
  • You can determine if the costume is wearable for you.

Cons:

  • There is a chance you won’t see all options of a potential costume (high waist panty, boy short, full coverage).
  • Bloopers and other difficulties are edited out.  If the model was having a hard time wearing the costume, you won’t know any of it.
  • Pre-recorded band launches won’t necessarily give you a genuine “vibe” of the band.
  • Mas band often forget to show the back of the costume.  This is why I prefer to attend a live event, because I can see the carnival costume in its entirety.  
Below is a virtual band launch release from We Kinda Ting.  This band launch is for Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival 2022.  For more information about Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival, click here.

I love band launch season! It gets me so excited for carnival.  I enjoy the process of viewing the costumes the mas bands have to offer and making my decision.  I hope this helps you appreciate the value of band launches.  If you choose to attend a live launch, have fun!

See you on the road,

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