STREET BEAT: Last lap
Grand Kadooment is just about four days away and the bands are in last-minute preparation mode.
Street Beat visited a few band houses to see how they were doing and get a bit of history about them.
At least two of the bands – ROMP International and Choc O’ Wuk Presents Exotic – are headed by people with an international flair.
ROMP’s bandleader is Sonia Outram, who spent a number of years living in the United States. For her, forming a band was a now-or-never thing.
“It’s something I always wanted to do and after turning 50 and moving back to Barbados, I told myself if I didn’t do it now, I wasn’t going to do it so I decided to jump in,” she said, as she and her team were finishing up costumes in their James Street, The City headquarters.
Outram said it was their second year, with last year being the teething year. She said that this time around they would be more structured after learning some of the ropes last time.
“We have a flag girl, dancers and costumes. Not all have sold yet but people have called and promised to come, so we are waiting to see if there are any last-minute takers,” she said.
Even so, Outram said they had reached their initial quota but would not mind another 50 revellers. She said the theme this year was It’s On Fire and the band has five sections – Rum, Energy, Harding, Pepper Sauce and Baxter’s Road. She said they were more than ready for Monday.
“I’m excited; I can’t wait until Monday. Our models and dancers have really brought life to the band and we will definitely be making a statement on the road this year,” she said.
Another bandleader bridging Barbados with the world on the road this year is Nikkie Beckles of Exotic, who has both British and Barbadian heritage. More known for her Foreday Morning forays, she will be entering a band for Kadooment for the first time. Street Beat visited her at her Silver Sands, Christ Church, home.
“We started as the only chocolate Foreday band – not using mud or paint. I have a lot of people who contact me from overseas who asked me if I would put together a Kadooment band and I said I would think about it. I decided to try it, so I will see how it goes,” she said.
Even at this early stage, Beckles said she already wanted to continue in Kadooment, and would use the first year as a learning experience.
“It’s gonna be good; we are getting numbers slowly – about 50 spots left out of 120 in total but I know it’s a hard year and I am satisfied with the interest being shown. Now people know about us we will do better next time; next year will be a plush year,” she said.
Beckles said she got involved in Foreday in the first place while living in England. She said she had been visiting Barbados for 20 years and decided to get into putting together a band as a way to promote Barbados. This year, she said they were celebrating Barbados’ 40th anniversary by offering a buy-one-get-one-free costume deal. Exotic’s sections are Luscious Lily, Exotic Hibiscus, Tropical Tulips and Plush Blue Lotus.
Wednesday 2000, led by Mackie Holder, is one of the veterans in Kadooment, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Holder said they too were keeping costs down. It is located across from Independence Square, The City.
“We design our costumes with the economy in mind as Kadooment is really a situation where costs outline what you charge and only a very small number of people can afford to buy a costume at the prices they are worth,” he said.
Holder said they were holding their own anyway as he had a good team of designers and producers. One of those team members, Andrew Rock, said what was special about the band was the family setting. He said they had all but sold out.
“Some of our costumes went really quickly but we are a small band with about 200 people – which is probably why,” he said.
The theme for the band is Nirvana and it has four sections: Imagine, Kaleidoscope, Tribute and Origins. Rock said they were no stranger to reaping accolades and they expected more of the same this year.
“We’ve won prizes already and our flag girl places in the top three every year but we enter for fun. Even so we are confident this year will be another successful year for Wednesday 2000,” he said.
One of the bigger bands on the road this year is perennial favourites Power X Four. However, the big band – located along Harbour Road, St Michael – is going to be a bit smaller this year.
“What we have found this year is that a lot of the girls are complaining, ‘Times are hard’, and a lot of people are opting for our J’ouvert band instead. As such we had decided to bring our numbers down to 1 000 when normally we have up to 1 400, but we will be ready; it’s what we do. The vibe is very good and the people are excited,” said one band memeber.
The band is celebrating its 21st year under the theme Journey To The Caribbean with six sections: Spice, Mas, Liquid Gold, Beach Life, Gyration and Soca Riddim.