I had the pleasure to sit down with “The Woman of Carnival” Stacy Balcombe and discuss Vincy Mas and The Network SVG. Not your ordinary band, The Network is more than just a Monday band. Find out why they are THE team to follow for all things Vincy related!
Renee: Known for all things Carnival related in SVG, how did The Network start?
Stacy B: To be honest, The Network was started by my brother Colin. At the time in 2011, I was in England doing my Masters. He called me, telling me how something was missing from Carnival, especially Monday Jam. I said throw it out there to our friends and family and see what they say. The feedback was really good. We had sponsors come on immediately. The word “The Network” came from us using our friends and family to network to get the idea and concept started.
Coming from a background in Marketing/Promotion industry in New Castle, UK, Colin was able to really ignite The Network. Her father also has a significant role in Carnival and in his younger days, he used to be a DJ. This combination of promotion, marketing and entertainment, set the tone and foundation for The Network.
Renee: What ignited the start of the company?
Stacy B: For Vincy mas on a whole, something has been missing for a number of years. And The Network is one of the reasons that there is bit more hype and excitement to Vincy Mas. Although we are known for our Monday Jam, we are much more than that. We give you places to lime and eat, it’s more or less us using the network we have to get Vincy out to these events and spots for the season. The change was definitely needed. We were the first band to include other things in the packages for Monday Jam. We try to make it different. We also promote safe sex, don’t drink and drive…those are some of the campaigns we started and you get in your packages. From that, other bands have included that as well. We have definitely created a standard.
We started with our front line, offering more options to persons. Now, if we look at Carnival, the persons who spend the money to travel for carnival, that’s who we need to target to come for Vincy Mas. I think that’s what was missing, that they were not targeting these persons. They are looking for the all-inclusive events, something sexy to wear on Monday, good vibes and a good time. Not that we are straying from tradition, but we have to look at blending with what is happening now and tradition.
Renee: You are the “go-to” spot for upcoming news and what’s hot. How do you keep up?
Stacy B: Social Media. And we also have direct relationships with promoters. It’s more or less being glued to social media and traditional media to see what’s happening.
Renee: Do you ever get tired of being the go-to person?
Stacy B: The band, the network, this new venture that we are doing, is a lot of work. It is very time consuming and you can feel overwhelmed, it’s only because I have a passion for carnival, and there is a need for this change. Also, you build a bond with really cool people you meet along the way….that is what The Network is about.
Renee: We’ve dubbed you “The Woman Of Carnival”. What does that mean to you?
Stacy B: I wouldn’t say I’m the woman of carnival yet, maybe on the rise. I’m just one small person that is urging and is determined for there to be a change and for persons to see how beautiful SVG is. We are known as the Hottest Carnival in the Caribbean. I am just one person or a stepping stone to making sure that this is the case. I love Carnival, I love Soca and Vincy Mas is a time to relax, let go of your stress and enjoy yourself. I’m one person, there are other persons and other promoters who are doing what they can do to produce quality events so that persons can enjoy themselves.
There are different levels to the brand. Although, known for Monday Jam, The Network is building a brand that includes more than the Carnival approach. Stacy believes that the brand is underestimated.
Stacy B: In the last two years, we try to divert from just focusing on Monday Jam. We look at different sectors, entertainment, food, places to stay, etc. We cover other Carnivals, to give persons a sense of what is happening on our sister islands.We try not to just focus on Vincy Mas. We have to cater to a wide audience to stay true to our name, The Network.
Renee: How do you stay relevant in the off season? And why is that important to you?
Stacy B: I think it is a way to keep our followers. I think if you have a brand you cannot stop at just what you are producing. You should venture into other areas. In the off season we do educational seminars for students, we do mentoring and we visit different communities. The off season is important. If you aren’t active in the off season, you could lose your followers.
Renee: Tell me a bit about yourself. Who is Stacy?
Stacy B: I went through trials and tribulations and I use that as energy to direct me. People think I have it easy. My family has worked hard to where they are now, they never gave me anything. I been through things that would have shattered somebody, but I got through it and God plays a big role in my life.
Renee: Ok, let’s have some fun! What is you favorite thing about carnival?
Stacy B: Only time of the year you can be wild and creative.
Renee: What is your carnival must?
Stacy B: Rum
Renee: Have you ever missed a carnival?
Stacy B: Yes!
Renee: What is your favorite carnival experience?
Stacy B: Wet Fete!
Renee: Finish this phrase: Carnival means…
Stacy B: Bacchanal!
Renee: Is Carnival is your outlet?
Stacy B: Yes, definitely. Carnival is the exciting part of Stacy.
If you have not got your tickets yet, don’t stick. Check out the event listings and make sure you’re ready for Vincy Mas!