So you have decided to participate in Carnival and now you are overwhelmed trying to decide which band to join.  This can be totally overwhelming for even the experienced masqueraders.  Most people choose to go with the suggestion of their friends or word of mouth.  Some may even research blogs and suggestions from influencers.  The truth is finding the “right” band is totally subjective and based on your needs and expectations.  Below are my suggestions on how to choose a carnival band. 

To read about getting started with Carnival, click here.

#1: Budget.

When choosing your mas band, it is important to consider your budget. Ask yourself: How much do you want to spend, TOTAL? Then, How much of that do you want to spend on a costume?

Many are eager to jump for registration without considering the cost of travel, parties, accessories and other outfits.  Decide how much you can spending total, then decide how much you feel comfortable spending on a costume.

You may find that your costume budget may not be right for the most popular band, but perfect for the smaller ones. 

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#2: Amenities

If amenities are important to you, review each band and what they offer with your carnival experience.  You may find that some bands offer your favorite costume but not many frills you want, such as portable toilets, air-conditioned trucks to rest on, touch-up trucks, etc.  

Note: This recommendation speaks mostly to overseas carnival events. If I am being honest, I’ve found that most amenities offered by many US bands per their websites don’t make it on the road.  Note that I said many, and not all.

#3: Music

Carnival is exploding in popularity and with that come masqueraders from all over the world.  You will find that some bands may choose to play music to represent their masqueraders, or the crowd that is watching the parade.

But when I play mas, I prefer to hear MOSTLY Soca music. Some bands have a reputation for playing some bands have a reputation for playing mostly Dancehall or other genres.  If you are interested in a band, ask to find out what their music is like. In most cases, you won’t know which DJs will be on the truck until closer to the parade.

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#4: Your “fete” style and other needs

For the absolute best time, seek a band that matches your energy level (or vibe).  Not every masquerader is looking for a high-energy experience.  For example, if you are looking for a more relaxed experience, high-energy bands will likely not be the fit for you.   

If customer service and an intimate experience with band members are essential to you, a smaller band may also be something to consider.  Bands with fewer masqueraders can provide a more personalized experience as they have more staff and the capacity to address each masquerader’s unique needs.

When you find a band that meets your interests, ask around and do a little digging before you drop that non-refundable deposit. It’s not a  matter if a band will have logistical issues, but when, and how it will affect you. How bands handle tough situations is VERY important.

Reading social media comments, blog reviews, and asking around will be important with determining if you want to patronize a particular band and/or section leader.  As you become more experienced, you might get hip to fantastic bands, but section leaders with an unreliable history. Until then, do as much digging as possible, and trust your gut.

Have fun picking your carnival band!

I hope these tidbits help you with choosing your band.  By the way,

DON’T SLEEP ON THE SMALL BANDS! They are great, too. 

Not everyone needs to jump with the most prominent, band to have a great time.  Take each of the factors I have listed and prioritize them according to your needs as you make a decision.

If you have any other suggestions, be sure to hit the comment box below.  If you have any specific questions, you can also email me at:

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