If you haven’t been to at least one Trinidad carnival in your lifetime; it’s ok. Trust me; you will survive. Life will go on and you wouldn’t have known any different. If you haven’t noticed, I’m not the best at being sarcastic.
Honestly if there’s one thing that I’m SURE about in my 29 years of existence (and sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes not so good) is that carnival is addicting; especially the Mecca, Trinidad and Tobago. It is a life-altering experience and I wish had 10 dollars for every time I’ve said, typed or written that down. I’m pretty sure I could retire and just do carnival for the rest of my life if that was the case.
I’m going to say this once and only one time. If you choose to go to carnival, your experience will depend on you. From fetes to Jouvert to the stage; after spending all your hard earned money and time waiting…it is HONESTLY going to depend on your PERSPECTIVE and OUTLOOK how your experience will be. This is just my experience and in no means should be taken down as gospel.
While I undeniably had a time this year, it was evident that the process to get to Trinidad, attain fetes, band of CHOICE (your choice) had significantly become more difficult for everyone. Pre carnival anxiety is normal, however mixing that with stress and tension due to the process had me weighing if it was truly worth it. I’m not going to delve into specifics of what fete was “besssss”, or which band is easier to get into only because as an adult I feel …
“If you don’t like something or how things are done. You can choose otherwise.” That’s all. I’m definitely “choosing differently” next year because I want to enjoy the process and carnival.
So first fete (for me at least); was a combination of all my favorite elements. Live music from my favorite artists, great venue, SPACE (lol) to move around in, the beach (1st time going to a beach in Trinidad in 3 years, lol I know shameful), great food and “meh people people”. Definitely a must do for next year.
TAKE ME BACK TO THE BEACH!
I love the idea of having one fete where you can dress up and still have a time. I think it’s a nice change from the usual. The ambience in Beach House was nice; beautiful people, your choice of libations, music was excellent but at some point in the fete (especially for 200+ USD) you have to fete. It was only towards the end of the night when the vibes really set in and a time was definitely had. The only con was leaving the venue in your nice ensemble trekking down the road trying to find a ride or wander about aimlessly (not exaggerating) for a shuttle bus or maxi. I think for the 225.00 dollars spent, promoters could have ensured patrons got back to their car park comfortably. Also, after a few rounds of walking around and people watching, I got a bit idle and wished I had something to do besides “selfie”, drink and eat. Nevertheless, I had a time with my crew.
So instead of cruising on the Friday morning, a few of my friends and I opted for a ride to Phuket on the Rollin’ bus. And it was vibes with the occasional police stop (don’t ask and I won’t feel obliged to tell) and hymnals; baggies (my favorite) and light yummy finger foods. The music was definitely “wuk up” worthy as we “cruised” down the streets of downtown. The best part of this fete was literally a mix of the bus party and enjoying the varied reactions of people’s faces when we literally rolled by.
What can I say about Phuket? I mean this has been my most CONSISTENT fete for the few years I’ve been going to Trinidad carnival. It literally never lets me down.
1. There’s no struggle for tickets.
2. There’s always something familiar but different about it; excites the senses but still feels like home.
3. Literally, the point of this fete is to just “Phuket” and no I don’t mean Thailand.
This is an “almost-always-must do-never lets me down-keeps me smiling all the while- experience. Photo evidence below.
Bush. Single handedly is the best alternative Jouvert experience hands down; they are very consistent in the product they produce. It is an epic event; however after having done it for the fourth time with just change in themes and “not the best” customer service in regards to collection and process (this year), I have to say that I’m looking for more. Generally the prices of fetes are going up and I find having to pay more money for the same experience (mind you good experience) including hiccups is not desirable, but then again that is my choice. I do think if there was an actual Jouvert experience during Jouvert morning, I’d be definitely intrigued. I also think that for a carnival newbie, it may be the most E.P.I.C. Jouvert they’ve ever experienced. It depends on you and your outlook really and truly. My favorite parts were the water truck; which I stood under the hose for maybe 10 minutes (I love water lol) . And FINALLY, finally getting the opportunity to conquer all of the water slides including the dunk tank.
So with already having done 4 fetes for the trip and almost at the peak of exhaustion, we headed to Soca Brainwash (my first ever SB experience having failed to attend Miami’s and last year Trinidad’s –another story that need not be asked about). The sun was at it’s PEAK; I was so happy to just have a t-shirt (check out @moaapproved on Instagram) and shorts to wear, because it was hotter than hot. So there are several reasons I LOVED Soca Brainwash. Here we go.
- It wasn’t crowded. It was however ram packed with all different types of people, nationalities, crews etc. I loved the diversity of people in this fete.
- The food was varied and awesome; vendors served local delicacies to spaghetti and meat sauce (my fave).
- There were other activities if you did not feel like “wukkin” up. For example, I played Twister and won a smiley face cup; its the simple things. Just FYI, the photo evidence has vanished along with my iPhone 6 but trust me when I say I had a time.
- Tickets were not easy to get; but they were accessible to the general public. Easy access.
- My entire crew was present! I had the best circle around; they literally made every fete EPIC!
For the past several years, I’ve never stayed past Ash Wednesday for varying reasons (y’all know the drill, don’t ask, won’t tell) . This year I opted for the B Positivo Au Revoir Cruise – Down the Islands. It was a nice cool down cooler cruise with a family feel and gorgeous views. I encourage everyone when you visit Trinidad, take advantage of sight seeing because there’s so much more to life than feting (I may regret saying that one day). My favorite part about this cruise was jumping into 39 feet of water into an open bay with no cares in the world for what was swimming under me; definitely an experience I’ll never forget.
ROAD! My absolute favorite part!
After a very chaotic year of “life events” while simultaneously figuring out if I should still go to carnival or not; the anticipation for the road was HIGH! I got to the band EARLY (literally the first one there) after my make up appointment and was happy to see how organized Tribe is from the onset. As the morning rolled by, the “vibes” for me didn’t set in until after lunch (only complaint of Monday) but it was quite entertaining finding people and taking pictures etc etc so I honestly think it’s what you’re into that makes the experience (I love selfies and I’m not ashamed).
By late afternoon into the evening, masqueraders started “moving”; it was like a flick of a switch or maybe just the truck I was following. Vibes was pumping, waist was pelting, I was jumping all over the place like a maniac lol.
So many things went “wrong” on Tuesday, from costume malfunctions, finding the band, finding people etc; I still maintain that this was the BEST day out of my entire carnival trip. There is nothing like crossing the stage in costume especially to your favorite road march song.
Indescribable, but I will try.
for an entire year you’ve developed this knot of frustration, worries, tension, stress at the most uncomfortable, unreachable part of your body. You’ve gotten massages, rubbed it, squeezed it, rolled it, pressed it but with no relief in sight. Days go by and you forget about it; often times it makes its’ presence known at a fete or glancing at past carnival pictures, in your daydreams or even in your sleep. As the months roll by, the tension increases and you’ve just accepted that this is life and there’s nothing that you can do to shake this thing. (I hope ya’ll are getting where I’m going with this)
The minute my foot steps on the stage, the stress lessens, the tension softens, the knot loosens. On the stage, I am as light as a feather, bounding up and floating down with every beat, matching the rhythm of my counterparts, hands in the air releasing every bit of angst, worry and frustration…it is euphoria.
Photo evidence below.
What To Expect
If you haven’t started planning, *slaps your wrist* shame on you! At this rate, T&T carnival is becoming more and more of an international event with more and more persons wanting to participate, so to get ahead of the masses, you need to be saving, planning at least a year in advance. I already know several of my friends that have bought their airfare and honestly this is a trip that can cost you thousands of dollars so be prepared.
Expect increased fete, accommodation, transport and costume prices.
Expect for it to be difficult to get into certain bands and parties.
Hope that with these expectations the quality of experience raises as well.
Expect that there are alternatives, other bands and other fetes that have measurable vibes and are much easier to get into.
With that said, the last thing you should expect is to have a great time. Your vibes depend on you.
Until then repeat after me, I am the vibes, I am the vibes, I am the vibes. Follow @rhythmsbahamas for more vibesy quotes.
Till the next jump up,