St Philip residents have always considered their parish special.
From the days of Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire and his ‘red army’ of Philipeens, as they like to be called, St Philip folk have never hidden their pride in and loyalty to their own.
Besides having RPB, the island’s ten-time, Calypso monarch, a galaxy of stars in entertainment and sport, its own Carnival, a national park and the island’s only six-exit roundabout, the south-eastern parish boasts of having its own book – The St Philip Book, a TV show by the name of Route 10 and a five-hour bus tour.
Now, the newest addition is a Crop Over Foreday Morning band which will hit the road for the first time during this year’s festival. Its name is REIGN, named for the parish’s adopted colour, purple, which is symbolic of royalty.
The band’s co-leader, Darren Watson, the 2015 St Philip parish ambassador and one of the faces of the Route 10 TV magazine, says REIGN has been two years in the making.
“After working on all the other events based in the parish, it felt like a natural progression, another way for all of us to come together. The band is for everyone, especially those who want to jump and never have. They can come and join; we guarantee they will see someone they know,” he said.
Watson who is assisted in the venture by a cohort of friends and family, said this year’s theme is Kings, Queens and Goddesses. The costumes were designed by fellow Philipeen Kayla Forde-Cumberbatch.
“We wanted costumes that fit all body types, that women can wear and be comfortable in,” he explained.
The REIGN team is paying special attention to security in a bid to offer ultimate comfort to patrons, said Watson.
“When the group met, before we even discussed costumes, we met with the head of a well-trained security outfit who conducted a risk assessment outlining all the areas we need to have covered. From the time our members park their vehicles and board our buses to when they disembark and get back into their own vehicles, they are safe.”
The security measures include members-only, free, round-trip transport from St Philip and a central location for non-Philipeens.
“Our members are going to have a hassle-free jump, plenty of fun in a safe environment with people they know and some they don’t but by morning we will all be one family,” Watson promised.
Registration for REIGN starts this Friday, May 12, from 3 p.m. at the band house located in the car park of Hoodees Sports Bar, Six Roads, St Philip.