Several mas makers in south Trinidad are feeling the 'pinch' as a depressed economy has forced some of them to lower prices on their costumes.
Masqueraders at one time spent over $2000 to play in the band of their choice but as consumers continue to 'tighten their belt' in the face of a sluggish economy, mas makers say they are seeing a drop in participation by masqueraders.
From calypsonians to soca artistes many competitions this year have definitely taken a hit financially, and have had to scale down. It seems mas makers are no exception.
While some have fared better than others, given the challenging economic climate, mas makers are praying for a last minute rush of revellers for the road.
Reigning Band of the Year in San Fernando, Kalicharan has won the title 11 times consecutively. Despite the band's tremendous success, they were not left unscathed.
Spokeperson for the band, Aaron Kalicharan noted his team implemented a price strategy this year to create more financial flexibility for masqueraders.
He said, though they have seen cutbacks with some of their 'regular masqueraders', they have also seen increased numbers with new members. The reason for this they say stems from affordability, and people desiring to play mas closer to home.
He said, “This year we provided a cheaper alternative for consumers with a new section priced at $1000.”
The new section, Kalicharan says it is more geared towards fashion and gives the masquerader a beautiful stand out piece for the road.
Kalicharan says all the front line pieces in his band are sold out.
Lionel Jagessar from Lionel Jagessar and Associates another popular Carnival band in south Trinidad says this is slowest Carnival period he has ever seen.
He said, “The shortage of US in the country made it difficult to get some of our materials.”
They noted recycling aluminium and cardboard helped to cut cost for some of their bigger costumes.
The band which is all-inclusive has costumes ranging from $1600 to $1800.
Echoing similar sentiments, Rajendra Nathu, a senior member of Carnival band, Fireworks Promotions said, “It has been very slow. We have had to cut back expense. From workers to security, we have had to scale down.”
Though none of his sections have sold out this year, Nathu remains optimistic that there will be a last minute rush of people ready to purchase costumes for the road.
The original Article can be found here: http://www.trinidadexpress.com/20180130/news/mas-costumes-prices