Crop Over 2017: A Review Of Aura Experience

#AURAFACROPOVA! I usually head to each carnival with a certain expectation, based on stories I’ve been told and pictures I’ve seen. Always keep in mind, each experience is individually owned and pictures will only capture the highlight of an experience. I feel a combination of mixed emotions toward Crop Over. But enough intro, let’s get into it.

REGISTRATION

I usually narrow bands down to “bands worth my time” then select a costume. I was given feedback that Aura had vibes on the road and so I chose them. The band launched, and within a week or so registration was open.  Registration was done via Ticketpal.com and relatively easy. [Minus the high processing fee of course]

COMMUNICATION

Aura Experience solely utilized social media to keep connected with their masqueraders. They posted updates and pictures on Instagram and Facebook. If your preference of communication is via email, you may or may not have missed some messages. I never received my costume pickup email, but thankfully, had IG to keep me abreast of all the details.

COSTUME PICKUP

Enter in HEADACHE! Maybe because it was the first day to pickup or maybe because the location is small – but I walked up to Sheraton Mall to a line that stretched out of the building complex. Overall wait time on the line was ONE HOUR. Once inside, things moved quickly. I was able to pay off balances, then pickup mine and my crew’s costumes. We were greeted by friendly Aura associates and offered a beverage during our wait.

COSTUME EXPECTATION/REALITY

Now during pickup, is the first time you get to see your costume after the band launches. Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the costume quality. Out of my five boxes that were checked, one package was missing a bra, another was missing the panty embellishing and gems; in my box, the gems were undone from my bra, and the gems/rhinestones selected overall were cheap.

Now that’s minor, because, it could be rectified. Gems were glued back on, and a bra was placed inside, but I was concerned about the quality control checks for so many things to be wrong. On Kadooment day (the gem fell off that morning), I found myself finding pieces of string to tie my gems back into place to that it wouldn’t fall off. You’ve got to be a bit creative when it comes to costumes. {this is why you always pack a glue gun and a needle and thread}

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Note: Instructions for being on the road, when the bands meet, where it meets, and overall amenities listed for the band were not placed in any of our boxes. For a foreigner at Crop Over, you would have to source that information for yourself. 

THE ROAD – Food/Music/Staff/Vibes:

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We got on the road EXTREMELY LATE! And typically this isn’t an issue because you just meet the band when you’re ready to pump. But in Barbados, you cross the judging point BEFORE the road. So essentially, we were not at the Stadium when our band was being judged. (That is our fault). I heard breakfast is given at that point but since I missed it, I won’t be able to speak to that.

The pump itself was a B- at most. For some reason, the road was too stush for me, my crew and I brought the vibes and misbehaved but there was a lot more chipping  than wukking up. I’m not sure if it’s because there was more groovy/sweet soca songs for Crop Over but that element was definitely missing and somewhat disappointing.

Once i flew off my feathers, I made do and had a blast with my crew – keep that in mind, your squad can make or break your experience. travel smart.

The Food/Lunch/Rest Stop:

Now the food served at the lunch spot was delicious. Fresh and hot! Lunch was not pre-packed, rather you got a plate and someone would serve you from hot food trays.

There is no “rest stop” per say, meaning, once your band parks, the road is over. The meal is given at the end of your pump. Aura dined at the beach, and set up a tent with plastic chairs and tables for their masqueraders to eat. Some people were laid out in the sand, some masqueraders were also in the water which i’m sure was cooling for them.

The nice touch was that you were able to sit in the shade and eat some food. The food line however, was a bit chaotic because there were only two lanes to get food. Patience had to be exercised.

Note: Our band pulled in at 3:15pm. THREE PM. [Crop Over concludes early] 

Music:

As mentioned above, there were a lot of groovy soca songs, MOST of them I loved. Here are some of the popular songs that was played on the road.

  • Marzville – Give It To Ya
  • TC – Paradise
  • Red Plastic Bag –  Boatride
  • Sanctuary – Pick Me Up
  • Hypasounds – Dip
  • Lil Rick – Blessing
  • Lil Rick – Advantage of Me
  • Stiffy – Tip and Bend Ova
  • Stiffy – Mavis

CARNIVAL PREP

  • Stockings: Carnivalista
  • MUA: @jwintermakeup
  • Hair by me
  • Boots from Amazon

THE FETES:

This part of the review has nothing to do with Aura but I’ll mention the fetes very briefly. My first event attended was Fyah D Wuk. I’d heard great things and decided to go. Unfortunately, it rained SO MUCH that the venue was EXTREMELY muddy. However, rain doh stop no fete so we had a really good time. And there was a lot of vibes..

My next stop was Roast Cruise. We boarded an hour later than listed on the schedule but you have to lie to Caribbean people so they will be on time. Roast was a bess fete. We were nice and drunk, the vibes was pumping and like Red Plastic Bag would say, the boat was rocking. The food situation at Roast was extremely disorganized, I didn’t even get food. Roast, please work on improving this on the Harbour Master.

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sigh! more rain, We headed to Soca Brainwash, which is a staple carnival event for most. I wasn’t too fond of Soca Brainwash as a cooler fete, it forced me to stay in one location (because who gonna keep toting a cooler) for most of the event which limited the amount of wines I could have. Never the less, once the alcohol conquered us, we wined in the rain, on people’s cooler and had a good time. SBW is always a good move.

I was very impressed walking into Bliss. The venue set up was lovely, the food court, sexy lighting, the glam photo booth were all lovely touches for the event. One of my friends mentioned that she felt like it was a very fancy family reunion. Which isn’t a good thing in this event because you want people to let loose. We made it a point to get so drunk that we’d loosen up.. and so we did. By the time the johnnie hit my blood stream, I was having the time of my life LMAO.

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Bliss Crop Over -- Crew

Lastly, we played with Caesar’s Army for Foreday at Ambush. Caesar’s army is the same vibes as always. Loved the breadfruit bowl touch, there needs to be a venue change for next year though – that race track did not do Caesar’s army justice, as it limited the ability to build your momentum on the road. Also, I’d like to give Caesar’s kudos for their package pickup. It LITERALLY took me 6 minutes. I walked up with my receipt, got it stamped, got my three packages and left. That was amazing guys!

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In conclusion, I’m happy I went to Crop Over but it’s not a carnival I’m looking to attend again too closely in the future. I think there was too much hype around Aura (because of Rihanna’s involvement) and not enough delivery from them on the product side. Of course, this is only their second year so there is definitely room for improvement.  BIM, you were good to me though, not so much to my crew, four of them got pink eye [what di ass going on in that place?]

Yours in Mas,

GC Signature

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10 thoughts on “Crop Over 2017: A Review Of Aura Experience

  1. I find your experience extremely interesting…I also played with Aura (Purity section)… fortunately I decided to go with a concierge to pick up my costume so I didn’t have to worry on anything. I had one gem fall off my necklace, which I promptly glued back on and thankfully had no other mishaps. I was missing my feathers from my costume by Aura quickly responded and got them to me, so no real costume issues.

    Breakfast was okay… they served either a fish or ham sandwich, I had the fish, which was cool. They also served doubles and had juice, coffee, tea and rum punch available.

    I had no idea that they crossed the stage first…I’m used to Trinidad carnival so that was a shock…it also felt a bit weird cause most folks weren’t even “awake” by 9am after going to fetes or getting their makeup done until the wee hours of the morning, so very few folks actually wukked. I had my fun but the stage was small and brief…not even a full minute, which was a major disappointment for me.

    Regarding the road…I agree I felt the crowd was a bit stush, but I tried to make the most of it… but honestly I didn’t care for the DJ so much, thought he talked too much and could’ve played more power soca…I was also disappointed with the narrowness of Barbados’ roads… I felt extremely cramped so that I couldn’t get on like I wanted because I was always hitting someone else’s feathers and headpieces. I also didn’t care for the lapse in security after around 1pm because there were random folks who jumped in and then never left. Some even tried to get on the cool down truck. Another thing I didn’t care for were the number of folks blocking the road trying to get a photo of Rihanna… that really annoyed me, but whatever.

    Lastly I was frustrated about the food…who wants to eat so late… we didn’t reach lunch until about 3:45… there were folks pushing and almost fighting to get in and the lines were quite disorganized to the point where I didn’t even bother to stay for lunch. I prefer having an actual lunch break like they do in Trinidad then waiting until the end to eat. The little snacks they provided (chips, cookies and peanuts) did nothing to hold me over.

    As far as fetes go… LOVED Bliss… I also did Lush, Limerz, Caesars Army Ambush, Soca Brainwash, Candy Coated Cruise and had a blast with each of them. If I ever do Cropover again it’ll probably just be for the fetes… I know each island is different but I’m not trying to be on the road for hours to eat all the way at the end.

  2. Good Review. My friend did Aura last year hated it and did not return this year. Distribution is always an issue with the bands in Bim. Erup last year was a nightmare that I never want to revisit.
    I did Krave this year, my friend got her costume in 15 minutes I waited an hour and a half at the same time for the same costume on Friday. They had no box ready for me or anyone really and put it together while I waited. So of course there were things missing, after they ran out of Krave cups they put Xaymaca cups in our boxes, but they had no covers…what are you supposed to do without a cover lol. I will say the production was on point but everyone in my section got different pieces and there was no rhyme or reason as to why. When I questioned them they told me that the photos from the website were prototypes and that everyone wouldnt get those extra pieces…lol. I thought the photos on the site represented what you were getting? They have too many kids and friends working for them so they are too casual but this is big business and it needs to be handled as such. They did make very nice booklets with all the info that we needed. And their afterparty was GREAT. But another friend that did Xhosa didnt get hers until Sunday at about 11 pm after going on Fri and Sat smh. A third friend that did Baje ordered a Frontline costume but they put a backline panty in her box. When she complained they told her to cut off the top part of the bottom and it would be the same as the frontline (lol and not true). Cropover starts so late (we crossed the stage after 12) that its almost evil to make people wait until the end of the jump to eat. Also at the stadium the people they hired were being shady about the food and at one point they were tellingbus there was no more water when we could clearly see it under the table. We did have fun on the road, Krave isnt stush at all even though they try to give off that vibe with their prices…but overall the vibe was different in BIM this year. I was cussing folks out all week lol. I might have to make TT my big Carnival of the year and relax myself. Sorry to hear about your friends getting pink eye…wtf!

      1. Thanks for the honest review. I feel
        Like some people love carnival so much everything is a good time. Ok so if I go to Bim maybe no mas since I will get my fix in sweet T&T

  3. Clearly shit i came with 2 newbies from spain 🇪🇸 wanted to show them the hypest band we played in prosperity before we hit the stage custume fell apart so embrassing
    One ugly big indian guy told us to hurry up
    No hype no vybz and the stomers no buenooooo
    Aura you aint shit!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Yea for me , the fetes made cropover everything that it was for me. Limerz was hands down the Best fete I experienced, the music , jumping off the boats , jet skiing, going to diff boats, the unlimited drinks , good food that was served early and made available the whole time and dessert mannn , I would pay way more for that fete, others were good , Limerz to me would be followed by Bliss , Lush, And Roast. I was underwhelmed at SBW but that also could’ve been because of just coming from Limerz.

    Lush was a greaaaaat fete to start off with, even in the mud the vibes were everything. I agree with Aura. I kept looking around while on the road like why everyone just chipping?! Lol but the food was good. We were around the first in line for costume pickup but it was kind of annoying that even when you paid off for costume they still had to ” verify” it … the food at the end of the road was good. But I told my bf I want to play with someone else when I come back. But I def doing Trinidad before I come back to cropover. I was also irritated at the transportation situation over there smh. But good experience over all.

    1. Oh! But I did like the fact that they had cool down busses for you to sit and chill for a few minutes.

      But I def felt aura was hyped by Rihanna smh.

  5. I knew I saw you at Roast!
    This was my first Cropover and I had the time of my life.
    I played with Kontact, I people told me they were unprofessional but I didnt have a bad experience. When I went to pick up my costume majority of my costume was ready except for the headpiece but I only had to wait like 10-15 mins for it to be ready.
    We had breakfast at Burger King and they fed us BK and snacks all down the road.
    The rain was the only thing I can complain about.
    Lush was just muddy and you literally had to fight people for the food a Roast and Booze cruise.

  6. Great review of your experience for Crop Over. I played with Krave and the vibes on the road was definitely bess all around. The only thing that I didn’t like about Krave was that they had us sitting out in the sun till 12 to cross the stage and didn’t want to give anyone any water but costume pickup was okay…me and my crew waited an hour but at least we were in an AC place and were sitting and once I got my costume everything was there. Now the fetes made Crop Over a great experience for me…Lush, Candy Coated Cruise(One of the bess fetes), Bliss(Surprisingly awesome), Caesar’s Army(Great experience minus the breadfruit line), SBW, Brek-Fus(Great fete). Overall if I do Crop Over again I would only do it for the fetes and the beaches and leave. Not looking to jump up in a band again. Trinidad 2019!!!! I will!!!

  7. I completely agree with EVERYTHING in this review. Aura was hyped up by Rihanna and the vibes was too stush for me. Costume fell apart before my friends and I even touched the road. So disappointing when I see the quality of other bands (as well as the massive amount of pictures that other bands have of their masqueraders). It’s upsetting to see such beautiful detail of Rihanna’s costume by the same designer. You can tell the difference. I did not like how early the road ended as well and I only got chicken. Food was done before everyone ate and the staff just stood there looking silly.

    And you’re right, I don’t know what is going on with BIM but I got back with pink eye too! Luckily it started on the day I was leaving. Phew!

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