Meet the Bands: Stardust Arts

Meet Stardust Mas and Pan, a dual Steel Band and Mas Band established by Randolph Baptiste in 1983.

Stardust Carnival Queen 1983 (1983/1983) by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

Stardust's Beginnings

Stardust Mas and Pan band emerged onto the carnival scene in 1983. They comprised a young energetic steelband, and a creative carnival costume band. 

Randolph Baptiste by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

Randolph Baptiste

Stardust was founded by the late Randolph Baptiste in 1983 after he left Ebony Steelband, which he also founded in the 1960s. Baptiste based the band in Acton, West London, and quickly developed an excellent reputation both in the steel pan and mas making scenes. 

Carl GabrielNotting Hill Carnival

Key Members of Stardust

Other key members of Stardust included Carl Gabriel (pictured), Roy Narayan, Wendell Greaves, Perry Murphy, Gayvon Charles, Roscoe (Drummer) and Roy Gabriel, who helped to create the unique sound and look of the band and helped with costume making after practice. 

Tenor Steel Pan (2021/2021) by Marlowe McCaffreyNotting Hill Carnival

Over the years, Stardust thrived on both fronts, with the musical arrangements created by Randolph Baptiste and Patrick Julien, as well as intricate costume designs by Errol Romelly, Clary Salandy, Mac Copeland and Rhonda Baptiste Groombridge.

Jacqueline Baptiste by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

The creation of costumes was also aided by Jacqueline Baptiste (pictured), Joyce WadeKathleen ‘Kaye’ James (née Ward), Franklin Ward and Ettenia Smith.

Stardust Carnival King 1984 (1984/1984) by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

They achieved huge wins in the Kings and Queens Carnival Competitions, with Kathleen James and Franklin Ward being Stardust's first King and Queen. 

This image shows Franklin Ward as the Carnival King of 1984.

Stardust 'Metamorphosis' Costume by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

In addition to acquiring steel pan achievements, winning both the Best Adult and Children Band on the Road. Stardust was known for their vibrant and elaborate costumes with detailed finishing, creating an elegant piece of work.

Rhonda Baptiste by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

Rhonda Baptiste Groombridge

Randolph's eldest daughter, Rhonda, has been designing and making costumes for the band for many years. She has always been involved in making costumes from a young age due to her parents being a part of Ebony Steelband, and used to make costumes for Ebony. 

Stardust 'Junior Queen' Costume 1989 (1989/1989) by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

Rhonda started by helping to decorate her mother's sections costumes. In 1982, at the age of 11, she was able to design her first costume for her mother's section in Ebony Steelband. 

The costume pictured here is Stardust's 'Junior Queen' costume, made by Rhonda Baptiste in 1989.

Stardust 'Playmask' Costume by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

Ever since Clary Salandy left Stardust in the early 90s to set up her own band Mahogany, Rhonda was able to get experience making costumes with the designers that were already there, until she was given an opportunity to take over.

Stardust 'Noon' Costume by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

Stardust 'Rebirth Costume, Stardust Arts, From the collection of: Notting Hill Carnival
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Stardust 'Noon' Costume, Stardust Arts, From the collection of: Notting Hill Carnival
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Pictured here is Stardust's 'Noon' costume, made by Rhonda Baptiste in the mid-1990s.

Tara Baptiste by Stardust ArtsNotting Hill Carnival

Randolph passed in 2003, leaving his three children Rhonda, Tara and Adrian to continue running Stardust. Rhonda has kept making costumes and Tara (pictured) has continued to lead the steelband along with brother Adrian.

Stardust's focus is now to develop stronger links to return to Notting Hill Carnival in the very near future. Here, watch their Steelband's performance from Notting Hill Carnival 2020: Access All Areas.

If you’ve enjoyed getting to know Stardust, be sure to follow them on their socials:

Instagram: @stardustarts
Twitter: @Stardustarts
Facebook: @Stardust-Arts

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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