By Josha Shivprashad
While playing Mas at Toronto Carnival is tremendous fun, it does come with a bit of preparation. Don’t stress though, we’ve provided you a guideline of how to go about the important tasks without wanting to pull your hair out of your head.
If you missed it, here's Part 1.
First things first, book your time off accordingly. Remember Carnival comes with a lot of pre and post parties outside of the parade as well. Usually the Thursday and Friday before as well as the Saturday evening, Sunday and Monday after are full of parties and live concerts called fetes where you can see Soca artists perform. This time is also known as boat ride season.
There will be a lot of boat cruise parties happening around this time and you don’t want to miss out because you didn’t plan ahead and book off time from work. You’re going to want to get rest prior to this week as well, because let’s be honest, as much as we say we are going to rest up the night before the parade – it never truly happens. Carnival week/weekend is known for its “all nighters” and minimal sleep times. Keep that in mind, especially if you’re cranky when tired.
Check in with your Mas camp to see if they are offering any exclusive deals for fetes and/or providing boat ride tickets for those playing with them.
Glitter And Glam
Planning on getting your make up done professionally by a makeup artist the day of? You’re going to want to confirm with them early. They most likely have other carnival appointments so try to get a time slot that fits you. The earlier the better, this way the artist won’t rush your makeup and you won’t be late for the parade. The worst thing is running to catch up with your band because you were late getting ready.
Remember you will be on the outside on the road for most of the day. While most camps usually do provide their masqueraders with a light breakfast and/or lunch, bringing your own fuel isn’t a bad option. Walking with a little backpack is a great idea. You can buy some snacks and water before hand and walk with them on the road, as well as other beverages, if you know what I mean…
Comfort In Style
Plan smart is my motto. Buy a pair of shoes that match your outfit, preferably cheap because they will more than likely be ruined by the end of the day, but comfort is key. You don’t want shoes that are going to be digging into the back of your heel for the whole day. Try looking for old shoes that you haven’t worn in a while and feel free to accessorize them with jewels, gems, paint and sparkles to match the rest of your costume. If you want to look extra glamorous on the road throughout the day, buy some mini cosmetic items. You can carry them in your travel bag and touch up your makeup or look at any time to stay fresh throughout the day.
Pick Up The Most Important Thing
The most important thing to do before the parade is to pick up your costume. You will find with bigger bands that costume pick up does get a little hectic. This is because they have a lot of different costumes that they have to make. Stay in contact with your Mas camp in regards to your costume. Find out the earliest time you can pick up your costume. Unfortunately, many times costume pick up does fall the night before the parade. This is why booking time off accordingly is important. You want to be readily available to pick your costume up once you get the A-OK from your camp.
No Wristband , No Access
Once you have your costume in your possession make sure you also have your wristband! If your Mas camp has not provided you with a wristband for the parade you won’t be able to get into the parade route. The wristband is your access to play mas with your band. No wristband no mas. Put it on as soon as you get it to avoid forgetting it. Then feel free to accessorize your costume if you please. A lot of people like to add their own flare to their costume to stand out, so if that is you, go wild!
Don’t let the stress of preparation get to you. With proper planning and minimal procrastination, preparing for carnival can be a breeze. Stay calm, stay organized and remember the end result. You’re preparing to have the best time on the road with friends and loved ones. A little work won’t hurt you, so come on and get to stepping so you can get to fete-ing!
Stay tuned for the do’s and don’ts of Toronto carnival. We will explore what to do on the day of, carnival etiquette and what to expect.