Carnival Road March to Success!
The Trinidad and Tobago Carnival is one of the largest and most well known festivals in the Americas along with Rio Carnival in Brazil and the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It has inspired the structure of several carnivals throughout the Caribbean region and is the most replicated Carnival in the world. More than 29 carnivals in the United States, seven in Canada, over 52 in England and four throughout Europe are the product of Trinidad and Tobago’s diaspora and are now welcomed by the larger populations in their adopted homes. This is making Trinidad and Tobago’s carnival the world’s most globalized festivals.
Carnival visitor arrivals have grown by 60 per cent since the late 1990s and in 2007 there were over 40,000 visitors who spent approximately US$28 million, over 10 per cent of the annual visitor expenditures. Most recent data from the Central Statisticals Office (CSO), coupled with University of West Indies (UWI) research show that three weeks of revenue from Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival exceeds US$100 million.
The Masquerade industry also generates significant economic activity in a range of sectors in the local economy such as entertainment, media, hospitality and retail sectors. Having emerged primarily as a creative activity and a socio-cultural practice, the Mas industry has evolved to also become a substantial contributor to the local economy. Carnival is business; big business.
In 2005, Dean Ackin a 38-year-old Trinidadian entrepreneur launched Tribe Carnival Band and pioneered the all-inclusive Carnival concept. Ackin and his team took the Carnival product and improved it by packaging it in a way that is appealing to an international audience and to the younger generation.
Tribe Carnival Band revolutionized Trinidad and Tobago Carnival by introducing innovative ideas such as online registration and the Mobile Cool Zone, which emits a mist of water to cool down masqueraders enduring the blazing sun on the road. Beautiful costume designs, all-inclusive food and drinks, tight security and the feel-good energy that flowed from the band strengthened their position in the Carnival arena. Tribe Carnival Band is also known as the organizer of many parties around Carnival time. It also organizes parties at Carnivals in Miami, Washington and London.
In 2009, the band was the recipient of the Business Development Company’s and Republic Bank’s “Excellence in Business” award. Tribe Carnival Band was just adjudged TTCSI’s (Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries) Exporter of the Year Awards in 2011.
Other bands have followed suit, but TRIBE — which has hosted Richard Branson and actor Michael Ealy in years past — remains the most sought-after band: its 5,000 slots were sold out almost instantly for Carnival 2012. Demand has been so high that a second band has been created out of Tribe. The new band, Bliss, has just over 2,000 masqueraders and a long waiting list as well.
TRIBE’s goal is to come up with something new and innovative every year as it continues to be a Leader in the industry. It is in that mind frame therefore that Tribe Carnival Band partnered with Anya Ayoung-Chee, Project Runway winner, for the designs of Carnival 2012.
The alliance was announced at an exclusive party held in late 2011, which was attended by Hollywood actor and musician Will Smith, T&T’s Ambassadors for Sport Brian Charles Lara and Dwight Yorke, as well as the Ayoung-Chee family and specially invited guests. Anya Ayoung-Chee presented an exclusive section called ‘The Runway’ in Tribe’s Carnival 2012 portrayal titled ‘Take Me To….’ Price for registration in the special section was eye watering but was closed and sold out 48 hours after the launch.
Tribe is one of the most innovative brands and remains constantly on the lookout for new talent, trends and concepts in all areas of its operations, which allow the Carnival band to boast, “Tribe does not sell a costume, but an experience…”