My throat is sore from singing soca lyrics in front of truck speakers, my right heel is sore from wearing heels for hours, but guess who wouldn’t change it ? of course me.
Jamaica Carnival 2018 was heavily promoted, if you are an avid reader of globalcarnivalist.com, I mentioned in 2015 that this carnival would bloom and I have seen my words come to fruition. I played mas with Xaymaca International in 2017 and had such an amazing time, I went back. I was greeted by Nomadic Escapes this year with this lovely welcome kit to get myself in gear for carnival. Make sure you guys book them next year, they take care of everything. Makeup appointments, Maiden Cay day trips, transportation, you name it.
For this review, I’d like to spend some time focusing on some of the parties since Jamaica had so many fetes to offer this year.
Scorch Duck Work. Price: $40usd early bird, $60usd late bird
A staple event for Jamaica Carnival, you entered Duck Work at Hope Botanical Gardens, greeted by beautiful ladies in Scorch swimmies handing out wristbands and drink cups. Duck Work was a cooler fete so once you found your spot or settled into your cabana, the party started. One thing I appreciate with cooler fetes is not having to run back and forth to the bar for drinks. The event was very vibesy, CROWDED but you could still move your body enough to have a great time. Machel performed so you know that was amazing for patrons who would not get to see him at another event.
Soaka Street Festival. Price: $40usd
This was the first time Soaka was held in Jamaica. Also a cooler fete, patrons were able to bring their liquor in. Sponsors were on sight handing out juices and powerades if you needed the energy. I was using their juice as my chaser 🙂 Though most people attended Caesar’s Army Ambush or went to sleep, patrons who did show up, were having a really good time.
Sunnation Sunrise Breakfast Party. Price: early bird $105usd, late bird $160usd
The most anticipated event of the season, Sunrise Breakfast Party is an all inclusive event that begins at 6am. Upon entering Sunrise, you were handed a gorgeous tumbler cup and a fan to keep yourself cool. Patrons definitely came dressed to impress and the energy of the event shows that. You are there to be seen and link your friends. If you were infront of the stage, there was more vibes in that area. While it was extremely hot, Sunrise had the most beautiful decor and party layout. There were several shaded areas for patrons to enjoy the event. The Flow tents had large industrial fans and wifi for partygoers to enjoy. I thought that was an extremely great touch. There was also a Johnnie Walker cabana with luxe white couches for patrons to rest up and take a break.
Pre Mas Fete. Price: $40usd
A new fete to the Jamaica Carnival line up, this event provided patrons with a ‘pre carnival’ pump where monday wear or an old costume could have been worn. Dei Musicale was one of my favorite DJs that played at this party. PM Fete had a really nice vibe and I am looking forward to seeing this become a staple event during Jamaica’s Carnival.
Xaymaca Beach Lyme
THE BEST PARTY OF THE WEEK! By far, i don’t know if it’s because carnival was done so people were ready to get on or if they knew it was time to leave so it was one last pump, but the vibe was amazing, everyone was having a great time and the DJs were on point.
Now time to talk about road march.
Registration was extremely smooth. The Xaymaca website was up the same night as band launch, with photos and the option to log in and register for your costume
Xaymaca’s communication was consistently responsive. They were active on all social media pages, always replied to customer inquiries in their comments and like last year, created a whatsapp group so that patrons would be able to contact them.
I was told that costume pickup was a bit backed up on Friday but when I went on Saturday afternoon around 3pm, pickup was quick. My balance was paid off so I was able to walk right in with my final receipt, which a Xaymaca rep had printed and handed to me. My box came, and an associate went through each item with me. My panty was missing and thankfully they were able to provide me with one. I did notice once I returned home that one of my armbands was missing string to tie it.
First and foremost, Congratulations to the Xaymaca team for tripling their masquerader numbers for 2018. LOOK AT PEOPLE! The vibes on the road was up and down. The first half of the day, before we were “stormed” by non-masqueraders, was pace as we chipped down the road. As promised, all soca artists that were supposed to deliver, did. Blaxx even performed twice and Alison Hinds, who was repeatedly a surprise guest at many fetes, was on the Xaymaca truck as well. I did feel like the DJs played the same 10 songs for the most part, I cannot count how many times I heard Hulk, Top Striker and Genna Bounce.
Drinks flowed, we had a good four drink trucks and I never had a problem getting a drink from the friendly bar staff.
Regarding costume expectations, my headpiece broke before I got to wear it on the road but from band launch to the costume I picked up, met my expectations.
While there were a lot of people, lunch was in abundance. I got my veggie platter, which consisted of rice and peas, pasta and plaintain and sat down, IN A/C again, to eat. The rest stop was rearranged a bit this year, so masqueraders either sat outside to eat or squatted on the floor indoors. I think as a band we outgrew the table/chair setup so things were changed. [Similar to Trinidad rest stops except you’re sitting on blankets outside] The lunch stop had as many amenities last year, and one new one which included a massage station. Sadly, i did not get to partake but I did get my makeup touched up by the Glam squad and charged my phone near the recharge booth.
We went back on the road for more pace and i would say that is when the band got hectic. There was a much larger crowd by then because of stormers, even the trucks had to make very tight turns to navigate their way through. For Dinner time, KFC chicken boxes, patties and hotdogs were served. Fish/Veggie dishes ran out and as you all know I do not eat meat so I sadly had to have a KFC biscuit to hold me over
The staff members from the band house to the road were extremely gracious. The extraction team DID NOT play games though, I saw several people get thrown out (of course I was smiling while looking on) and security personnel warned them not to come back. Bar staff was super nice and efficient and marshalls kept us away from truck wheels at all times.
Here are some of the popular songs that were played on the road.
- Genna Bounce
- Lehbeh Lehbeh
- Top Striker
Overall, I had a good time, Xaymaca’s Beach Lyme was my favorite fete and one I would NEVER miss once I’m in Jamaica for Carnival. I cannot wait to see what Xaymaca plans to deliver in 2019.
Is Jamaica’s carnival, on your bucket list of carnivals? And if you went, tell me about your time in the comments below.
Yours in Mas,