Seven times in a row.
Masman Brian MacFarlane yesterday broke the late Wayne Berkeley's 19-year reign with most consecutive wins with his seventh consecutive George Bailey Band of the Year title.
An exhausted but exuberant MacFarlane and his winning team gathered at their Rosalino Street mas camp in Woodbrook for their now customary champagne celebration.
But even in the midst of an emotional goodbye to Carnival, the bandleader said he could see himself returning to mas, only if the "right incentives" were put in place.
"Life is constantly changing, constantly evolving, but to leave and then try to bring your members and your masqueraders, that is a very hard thing. There would be a lot to consider."
He said he loved Berkeley, who he described as a great friend, but he was glad to have broken his six consecutive victories.
"It is a great feeling...the entire team worked so hard for five months. I just wanted to give it my all, give it my best. We had many sleepless nights."
He said he is not done with Carnival, not retiring from mas in and of itself,
"I can see something like the MacMas presentation we did last year—a show that we can take abroad."
While MacFarlane is still full of creative ideas, he said he has grown tired of the elements bent on ruining Carnival, namely the lack of proper support for the bandleaders.
MacFarlane has always been vocal about the low prize money for Band of the Year winners and this year was no different. He said while everyone in the industry deserved a satisfactory financial prize, mas producers like himself always spent more on their costumes and did not make the huge profits everyone assumed they did.
While he said he was not in a position to determine the amount of money, he did say while one man could win $1 million by singing, it was not enough for a whole band to be produced on just $300,000.
"It certainly needs to be more than $300,000. Maybe three million for first prize, two million second prize and one million third."
He said the bikini and beads mas camps brought in cheaper-made costumes and had a wide audience that played with them so they made money, but for those who produced mas locally, it was much more expensive.
MacFarlane took a dig at the authorities that disqualified his performance at the Queen's Park Savannah for staying on stage more than 30 minutes.
"No large band can cross the stage in 30 minutes, that is ridiculous and whoever came up with that idea is also ridiculous, but I can guess who that is."
"I don't care, I had a presentation to say farewell and to those who say I played it smart and went to all judging points, I want to say that I always go to all judging points."
MacFarlane said he heard some reports criticising his preference for Brazilian carnival, but stood by that statement that he made on Carnival Tuesday after crossing the stage.
"People think Brazil carnival is bikini and beads but it is more than that."
He said there were full costumes outside of the five or six half-naked women on floats, with Samba classes and government-rented warehouses for the costume productions.
"We don't have the greatest show on earth, we have the greatest street party, the greatest flesh street party," he said.
The announcement of the 2013 Band of the Year title took MacFarlane by surprise as he was informed late Carnival Tuesday night that he was disqualified for staying on the Savannah stage over the allotted 30 minutes. With a disqualification, his production was not judged and received zero points at the Savannah.
But even with the disqualification, MacFarlane earned enough points at the other three judging points to put him back in the winner's circle.