Caribfest: In review.
OK a lot of people have been asking for this review because of what they thought was a less than perfect Caribfest 2012. I will say straight off the bat that I will not be “bashing” anyone person or group but merely stating the facts as I saw them or as they were relayed to me. Don’t be confused, this is not a disclaimer because in my world I don’t have to prove anything to anyone. I just don’t want more “fakers” coming out of the wood work telling me how evil I am just because I didn’t like some decorations -__-. And if by chance you do lash out at me or my opinion with your slanderous talk you shall be swiftly blocked and deleted like a few last year. Their names escape me but who cares…Lets proceed.
I understand that Caribfest is a HUGE undertaking and is a true trial by fire for the new executive, Caribfest Committee and everyone involved. Every year we have something to bitch about but don’t feel any way. I have been on that side of the table twice in my short stint here and no one was merciful on me… so in TRUE CSO tradition let us proceed…
Now, as I descend from my proverbial high horse I will be touching on a few major things: the general planning and execution, the events leading up to the parade day, the day itself, and Food.
Planning and execution
You know sometime in the early summer when I approached the Chair about Caribfest and what was going on, it was only because I was generally concerned and wanted to offer my help. I felt like I was in a better position to help the organization get the Caribfest message out into the community. After all, it’s a GREAT product. She told me about what they had planned, most of which were still in the pipelines, but I could still appreciate the ambitious effort. The inclusion of a Miss Caribfest pageant was of special interest to me and many other people. Now as time went on less and less information was being circulated and requested. Maybe they felt like they wanted to spring this brand new thing on us and blow us away. Well let me tell you…blown away I was not.
Being the person I am I know people that know people. Just through talking to different people and other people talking to me I felt like I knew more than the entire organization. This was the committee’s first down fall. The failure to communicate their plans left a lot of people with a sour taste in their mouth and unwilling to participate. From what I gathered, little information about tradition, what was done previous years, successes and failures was given or requested and many things were left up to the eleventh hour to do. It really didn’t help that the majority of the committee never really experienced a Caribfest from the other end. They never saw early midsummer messages to rally flag wavers, or sat in a meeting debating if we should buy goat because Americans don’t like goat almost months in advance. They probably never sat in a Caribfest presentation where budgets were in and accounted for. It certainly didn’t help that people wanted to, according to one person, “reach across the room and strangle Fidel for her condescending tone”. No disrespect to the newbies on this committee, but you all definitely need an attitude adjustment if you all want to appeal to a wider selection of CSOnians. Then again it’s not your fault either, you are who you are. I give fault to the past executive for forming such a green team with no one that appealed to everyone or had the political and social sway to get everyone involved. It was apparent that the committee and its pull was a bit “one sided”.
Talks about dictatorships started to fly around as they begged for the reins to be released. Well we all know what happened after that. The only well planned thing I saw, was the Miss Caribfest pageant. Everything else was kind of just thrown together. Yes it pulled off, but far from what it could be or the image that was presented to the general membership. Everyone wants to do something different to make that Caribfest memorable I get that. But when it borders on reinventing the wheel I give you wrong. The Caribfest pageant was more than enough and I am afraid you all bit off more than you could chew. If more energy was focused on incremental upgrades rather than a full over haul maybe it would have come out better. As I move into the next section, here are some take away points: Condescension does not encourage participation and less is sometimes more.
NB: FYI: Caribbean Life has never been approached by any committee (except social) to help in, assist, or formulate any strategy for the promotion of Caribfest or its preceding events. In fact, I was disregarded after I OFFERED formal help. Caribbean Life has been working on their own time to put out a quality product to promote their brand. This means; no Madame co-chair those promotional efforts were not yours to claim.
Events leading up to the Day
I am not going to talk about all the “parties” that went on in the name of Caribfest as to me they did little to spotlight the event, culture, or promote the event to anyone outside the regular. I will say, however, that there was a marked increase in the number of Wichita falls locals and students in these parties as the committee tried to use their own network to get enthusiasm up.
What I do want to talk about is The Caribfest launch and The Miss Caribfest 2012 pageant. I LOVED the costumes and to think that CSOnians made them is simply wonderful. We have some really talented persons in our organization that is for sure. I lived near the mass camp and every night they worked tirelessly. Although I initially thought the cost of a costume was WAY too expensive ($20) I could see the quality and value in the work. I even had a friend email me from Dominica to find out if I could send her a few. Good Job! Colette, your weavings have always been on point and you are a very creative individual. I just hope that you stuck to the “no shirts on Thursday night” rule and no one stressed you out. We all know how last minute we Caribbean people can be. Shizzy Bee Gumbs thanks for picking up the slack and volunteering your night to make sure iron band had nice cut t shirts.
The atmosphere however was not energetic and for such an exciting event was kind of dull. The bar was set really high by the last Caribfest committee and the present failed to rise to the occasion. It was essentially a come see the costumes we made and less of a SHOW. Once again improper planning and vision undermined the entire thing. Thank God it pulled off! Big up all the models that came out on the catwalk. The room was a lot livelier whenever you all stepped out. I would also like to send a personal thank you to Heather, Leona, and Iscanyi for donating your time to the Caribfest Photo shoot. It was a great event with great models but was lacking the “WOW” factor.
From day 1 I have told everyone… “Miss Caribfest will save Caribfest 2012”. That was the BEST part of Caribfest hands down! Well thought out, well organized. There are a few things here and there that could have been done differently but I refuse to nitpick as it is the VERY FIRST one. It will get better in time. Good job Committee for conceptualizing it and great job Fatisha for seeing that it was executed properly. IMO: I thought Tiffany did not deserve miss photogenic BUT she should have won the Swimsuit section. Other than that great judging.
With the weeks of little information and last minute decision making the day was not highly anticipated. Well maybe it was but for the wrong reasons. Yes people were there, yes there was music and food but the day in general was a bust. SKANTIEST parade I have ever seen in my four years. But I don’t blame the committee for that I blame the membership! How do you expect to have a Caribfest parade with more Americans than Caribbean people?! Yes, you want to strangle Fidel for her condescension but magway-sa put some paint on you and go jump up in the band. Why do you want to see YOUR culture on display? I also give wrong to the exec. How can you tell a band they are prohibited to go on the road and then turn back and say OK you can go? So peoples time is your own? Honestly that band would have SAVED CARIBFEST PARADE! And the budgets, or lack there of was inexcusable. No amount of bullshitting can cover that up Mr. Ass. Treasurer. I cannot even blame it on experience because there are several past presidents, executive members and Caribfest chairs and co chairs that could have been consulted when making decisions. The parade is not even the committee’s fault is everybody else’s fault. If members had joined a band and stopped complaining about everything, maybe the parade would have been better. We also saw the exclusion of “faces of the Caribbean”, “flag wavers” and “Jab Jab” this year.(iron band / blue devils did not count as JAB)
An American that has been going to Caribfest since 2006 told me that that was the saddest parade he had ever seen in his college life. And I didn’t even ask for his opinion. You know things are when people start to elect information. The longer route, although it was a good thought, combined with the late start and cold weather REALLY messed it up. Some people actually left before the food even came out! This is the first time I have EVER seen empty chairs in a culture show. CSOnians usually have to get up for Americans to sit.
As it relates to the decorations and culture show all I saw was “Island girls” dancing. I don’t think there was even a culture show. No little limbo in the end…that burn me. Well maybe they did but I left before everything was done.
I will not comment on the food because everybody cooks differently. I won’t say the curried chicken wasn’t curried-chickeny enough or the cook up wasn’t nice because my mom puts codfish in it. It was really stressful for the ladies in the kitchen and being back their helping, I saw that first hand. Nicoyah, Alyssa, Renisha, Hilda, Orisia and everyone else I don’t know by name; good effort. I think the Caribfest would have been a lot worse if there was no food. I WILL say, however, that the codfish was VERY salty…WOY MY PRESSURE….! Glow fete was just OK, although I didn’t feel Jime too much. I heard he made up for it in the clubhouse at black out though.
All in all I have very low marks for the day itself. Just that it pulled off at all was a huge success in itself. I know some were working against the clock and against budgets but we have all been through it so toughen up. No one said it would be easy. Who was there enjoyed it I hope but I know for sure I was not impressed.
The next general meeting should be interesting…