Whew!! So most of us just got back home from a long weekend of wining in the sun and Johnnie Walker black. And now that we’re back to reality, it’s time to recap the experience and talk about what worked, (or what didn’t) in some of your cases.
I landed on Friday morning, I’ve been going to Miami for carnival for the last 10 years so I rarely see the point in me arriving on Thursday night but if you did go on Thursday, Arrivals and Entice were the spots to be.
After nourishing my body and soul, the crew and I headed to Citrus, an all-inclusive outdoor fete hosted by Aurora Events (Miami) and Candy Coated Events (Trinidad). The decor and food spread were well done, with tented umbrellas spread out to protect patrons from the sun. While I feel some of the DJs did not play their best, Kevin Crown truly stood out and did the damn thing.
After Citrus, we changed then headed to Big Phat Block Party. A staple Hybrid Events x Scorch event. I got on the line and received my weekend access band (which basically fast tracked my line time at any Hybrid/Scorch event, so make sure you get one next year). This party was drinks inclusive so naturally lines were more chaotic than normal (and they ran out of ice at one point, then I saw ice being brought in). The venue was huge.
Fast forward less than 3 hours later and I am getting myself ready for jouvert. WHO SEND ME JOUVERT? I played in Dutty Revel’s section under Red Antz. Drinks flowed, breakfast was served (sandwiches) and coconut water, regular water and beer were available as well. Overall, at almost every band people seemed tired, the rain poured here and there which hyped up patrons when a big tune came on but for the most part, I expected to see more bad behavior.
I left Jouvert to take a power nap in time for Mai Tai. My favorite fete for the weekend, drinks were inclusive, gorgeous decor, great props and a bess performance by Bunji Garlin. Basically, the experience is what I expected from Caesar’s Army.
After Mai Tai, we headed to Scorch and Spice. VIBES!! Ding Dong performed really well, and had the crowd engaged. Even the line to enter Scorch and Spice was ridiculous if you didn’t buy your ticket ahead of time! SO GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY FOR 2019! Now, about mas..
THE REVEL NATION EXPERIENCE
I was lucky this year and got to attend Revel Nation’s band launch. It fell on my birthday weekend so I thought, why not. I love costumes! Let’s Revel. From the launch to opening up with website, Revel was on point. Every week, they would showcase costume details on social media, they were answering questions in their comments and DMs and they consistently kept us engaged and excited for the road. I also love when a band is consistent. Here is some feedback from a fellow masquerader that didn’t even make it.
I was supposed to play with Revel Nation but couldn’t due to an injury at the last minute. Before I decided Miami was a no go, I would say their customer service was A1 – answered all my DMs and were willing to make special accommodations so I could pick up my costume since I was supposed to get to Miami at an odd time. Because of their service, I will definitely play with them next year. Had friends who played with them and said their experience was bess. They even contacted me when they realized my costume wasn’t collected – never heard of that happening from a band.
I feel like a Revel Nation veteran at this point. I know what to expect and constantly hope that they continue to exceed my exceptions. I chose the section Spider Wasp, hesitantly. Loved the color but I wasn’t sure about the design.. LET ME TELL YOU! BABY WHEN I GOT MY COSTUME?!?!?! The softest and most quality pieces of Lycra I’d ever touched and everything fit so well.
I am a big fan of paying off my costume before I even get to mascamp. Once I arrived, I checked into their lovely iPAD system and then received all my materials. A Revel Nation associate went through my bag with me to make sure all my costume pieces were there and told me how to put them on. Pickup took 10 minutes. TEN MINUTES.
I was operating on some serious colored people time this year and arrived late to the road. That said, by the time I arrived, the band was in full swing. I was disappointed that we were crossing the stage in daylight, considering I’d become used to crossing around 8-9pm so the road felt rushed and much shorter to me. (This is a Miami-Broward committee fault, not Revel’s)
Drinks were on point. The band has grown significantly and Revel tries their best to accommodate everyone as quickly as possible.
Food was EVER FLOWING. Again, there were pastries, patties, conch fritters etc etc being distributed all day. If you were hungry, that was your fault. Lunch was available when you wanted it. I didn’t eat until the band parked up. My container had rice, fried fish and plantain.
Men and women alike looked amazing in their costume. Black Panther was my fave after Spider Wasp. The music was pumping, I heard a few St.Lucian songs which pleased my soul. As much as we want to fight dance-hall on the road, DanceHall was definitely played on the road and masqueraders were more than happy because they were all dancing and flinging their shoulder.
Re-Live the Road with these Miami Carnival Mixes
DJ Majestic – Welcome to Miami Carnival
DJ Jel – 2018 Miami Charge
Popular Songs that were played on the road
- Top Striker x Wuss Wayz
- Get in Your Section x Wuss Wayz
- Funky Business x Fimba
- Tombstone x Mandella Linkz
- Wet it Up x Zeek
- No Dutty Saltfish x Chennet D Man
- Soca Kingdom x Machel Montano
- Parle bow x Blackboy & Youth
- Bend Down for the Hmm x Khrome & Nassis
- The Road x Problem Child
PLAYING MAS WITH OTHER BANDS
Now Revel Nation is so consistently amazing, I don’t think I will ever leave my band however, I did compile some reviews of other bands for you all to get a feel from other masquerader feedback. Some great and some bad….
Band: Ramajay Mas
So I’ve heard a lot of terrible reviews about Ramajay and normally they are much more organized. I played with Sherzel/Poison Dart section and although she changed the pickup times, I received my costume in 30 minutes. She even gave me an extra fanny pack and upgraded my backpack. Now as for on the road, I arrived late, so I just got food from my friends truck, bartenders on the Ramajay truck were rude AF. One woman just stood there only to look down and laugh. I think I got about one drink, came back later and they ran out of alcohol.
Band: Freaks Mas
I played with Freaks Mas. The “karma carnival” section and was amazed by the costume and wowed by their customer service. By far one of the SEXIEST costumes I have ever played mas in. I was worried about the cut of the wire bra but the section leader knew his stuff. We were able to get the right fit for my body and I was very very content. For a first time reveler in Miami, I was extremely impressed. Although the “road” isn’t what I’m used to, the vibes from the band and the others following was on point. I went back and forth between Freaks and checking my cousin in Dingolay. Both bands held their own. The drinks truck never left me standing for more than a few minutes before filling my bottle with Henny and a splash of coke. Needless to say, I had a sun filled, rum filled, enjoyable jump. Oh I need to hear more Lucian soca on the road eh… that is all. Sincerely, Movay Tuh.
Band: Savage Mas Productions
This was my first and LAST year with Savage Mas. Never in my years of carnival have I been put through so much stress and unprofessionalism. Nothing was prepared, it was complete and utter chaos and dysfunction during the distribution schedule. Dates and times were continuously pushed back to the point where some people did not even receive their costume at all. I received my full costume at 4AM on carnival morning. I was told it would be ready at 10PM on Saturday. I waited all night, in the lobby of the hotel, missed my fete I paid for that night and fell asleep in the lobby ultimately. I do not recommend Savage Mas for anybody, especially if it is your first Carnival experience. Maybe they will get it together next year, but I would never ever take a chance with them again.
More Reviews can be found here: Miami Carnival Band Reviews 2018
How was your Miami Carnival for 2018 ? Let me know in the comments below
Yours in Mas,
18 thoughts on “Miami Carnival 2018 & The Revel National Experience”
I played with Revel Nation this year and while I do agree that their customer service was on point, my friends and I had issues getting drinks at some point. The bartenders were bypassing our heads in the front and giving to people in the back. Also, one music truck was not enough as the band seems to have gotten larger. While waiting to cross the stage I barely heard our music. I get that my section was last but that part sucked. At night when we parked, there was some good vibes at first then Esan started to play wayyy too much dancehall AND reggae? Nah bruh, at that point we left and never returned back to the band. The costumes were gorgeous, Lots of food provided, the stage was lit, but drinks wise and music wise, they can do a little better to start accommodating a larger crowd. Based on other reviews of other bands and their customer service, Revel may be my choice again for next year BUT, I’m not sure yet… in terms of fetes, big phat block party – after 2 years of disappointments never me again. Soca brainwash was awesome! My favorite fete the entire weekend. Duck work was also great! This is my 6th year doing Miami carnival, I won’t stop but i sure will be switching up some things.
Bands aren’t allowed two music trucks, one drink truck and one sound truck.
One Island you got me.. biggest band on the road, pretty costumes, top DJs, yet still PURE SH*T!
I will say that my costume and section leader were the sliver of a silver lining in this experience. Large up Sweet Eye Candy Designs, Carlana and the Rainbow Ice section.
Jouvert could have been a great time, but I have never EVER in all my local and foreign mas & jouvert playing heard of a drinks truck not being allowed to serve alcohol while the truck is in motion. Like what the whole entire f*ck?!? That there almost spoiled my whole jouvert, but thanks to whichever DJ(s) kept the Greenz and Lucian soca pumpin, I had a good enough time.
Onto Carnival Day.. fair is fair, I arrived late. As it was my first time playing mas in Miami, I went on word of friends who had done this before and said the road ends late late. So rather than line up with the band at 1:30pm and be too drunk and tired to cross the stage, because that supposedly happens well into the night, we arrived around 5pm. Side note: Miami/Broward Carnival Committee, this shuttle system needs to be improved or done away with. A spectating friends left us to wait for the shuttle and she reached our band before we did. Back to One Island, so after we walk a mile and half with no tay lay lay, we see One Island trucks park up. As a seasoned masquerader, I know this means the band is about to or is crossing the stage. So we try to grab a drink and build a small vibe to cross the stage. We were told “no can do while the band is crossing.” Fair enough! We cross the stage to the tired and over played Soca Kingdom. At this point, I really want my drink, but the bartenders are still saying they won’t serve. Okay, patience is running thin but we say, let’s eat first. Food was bomb. Like the best food I’ve ever had on the road. And hot like it just came off the stove. So now we belly full and patience run out. Where. Are. My. Drinks?!?!? After a lot of waiting and asking, we were finally told they are not allowed to serve drinks after they cross the stage. Ummmm.. excuse me? We cross the stage around 6p. So One Island, you all really served drinks for approximately 4 hours? Seriously?!?! When other bands and vendors still serving drinks?!?! At one point, they were even refusing to hand out waters. One girl literally said she was going to faint, before they gave her a water.
Nah, not me! Not me and my money ever ever again! Shame on your One Island!
One island band : collecting my costume was a disaster. I had to put my costume together myself. A lot of hot glue all over the costume. I didn’t revrecei my costume until 430am Sunday morning. When I put the costume on it fall apart. The communication with one island band was not very good at all. I am very unhappy and request my money back. On the other hand the parties and jouvert was awesome.
This was my first year jumping and Revel Nation exceeded all expectations (Thank you for your recommendation). Revel more than accommodated me for my costume pick up as I had some issues. One, I chose the wrong bra size and they were able to assist me with a bigger size. Second, my flight was extremely delayed. So you can imagine my gratitude when I landed after 4 (pick up was 1 the latest) and they called me to check if I would still be coming in before they sold it (mind blown). Honestly, everything else was perfect (drinks, vibes & music) and I will be back next year and the next. If everything were to stay the same next year I would be extremely satisfied. So I can’t imagine how much better my experience will be as they continue to improve.
I played with Revel As well. I have my pros and cons about this band.
The costume was amazing!!!! Loved it! So well put together!! The distribution was smooth! Had someone pick up my costume for me and he said it took no more than 10 minutes.
The snacks on the road was amazing!
They were very good with emailing of invoices.
Found it was entirely toooooo much reggae and dancehall!
Many times the bartenders would randomly stop serving drinks.
The music wasn’t as loud as other bands. So at times I could hear their music more.
I would def go back to Miami carnival and I would play with revel. They display high quality. But I really want them to do better on the music.
I played with Revel as well and unless they do me dirty, I won’t ever be switching bands. DM and emails were ways answered in a timely matter and my section (Red Scorpion) created a WhatsApp group chat to keep everyone in the section up to date on all the happenings (discount codes, fete meetups, distribution etc) Costume pick up took about an hour because I was getting mine plus my 2 girlfriends (one of whom had a balance to pay)
We showed up late Sunday (2pm) but it was non stop viibbbeesssss. Only issues I had was 1) some bartenders reaching to serve people behind me when I’m right in front of the drinks truck and 2) the dancehall music. They don’t play soca when I go to a dance so I don’t wanna hear no friggin dancehall during carnival. I can grudging accept 1-2 songs but not a whole set.
I also played with revel by myself for my first carnival experience this year after carefully researching what bands to play with and they were more than amazing. From the pick up to the stage crossing, I had no worries or issues with the dedicated staff. I was a little scared playing in a band by myself for the first time, but the staff were exceptionally friendly as well as the other masqueraders.
Like many others stated, the dancehall music was played a little too much for my liking; so instead, I jumped up with the other trucks during the parade to balance it out.
All things considered it was an outstanding experience for me and will be back again next year.
P.S. The snacks were the main reason for joining the band, and they did not disappoint.
This year was me and my girls first participating for Miami carnival. With a few recommendations on where to party, boom I came across your page! And it was like magic! We took your advice and attended Big Phat Block Party, Caesars Mai Tai and Bachanal all white beach party! And man oh man we had a BLAST at all three! Caesars was definitely the highlight because we have never attended one of their events and was just so excited to attend! They exceeded all expectations and has taken our partying experience to another level!!! As for carnival me and my girls played with Ramajay, venom section! I must say costume pickup was TEERRIIBBLLLEEE! It took us over two hours to get our costumes! We went to pick up on Thursday evening just to get it out the way! We missed a party Thursday night because of how it took! Some people who waited for hours were told to come back Friday or Saturday!! And we could not believe what was going on! We were all shocked because Ramajay usually have they shit together! Anyhow thankfully we were able to collect our costumes Thursday and our gear for Jouvert! However Ramajay had to distribute refunds for jouvert wear. They had options such as colorful orange monokinis, panty bottoms, boy shorts and thong options to match the bright orange shirt which was worn for jouvert. We were told their seamstress was not able to deliver! So that kind of suck having to look for a bottom to wear for jouvert! Jouvert was awesome we had a great time but had to leave early due to having to get ready for Caesars! The parade wasn’t what we expected, the route was really tight, which quickly became annoying due to bumping into others, stormers having zero respect for our large back pack that we spend money on! It was pretty cool being able to experience a carnival at night! Still shocked that Ramajay was able to take the winning spot! As for food and drinks we didn’t get ANYTHING! Some of the ladies on the truck was rude AF! I must say my experience with Ramajay was not what we expected being such a reputable band out NYC. Expectations were high and they dropped the ball! I was also shocked to see how many masqueraders were lined up to purchase food! Overall Miami experience was kool. The events were more of a highlight for me and my friends other than the parade. But we will be back lol
After reading some of the comments related to Ramajay its clear that no lies were told. After playing with Freaks Mas for many years, this year my friend and I chose a nice costume(Sherzel’s Posion Dart section) over vibes. Never again!!!!! We will be haling our a**es back to Freaks next year. Sherzel is my girl, costume pick up was fast the only thing is we had to come back a second day to get our bags and wrist bands courtesy of Ramajay’s slackness.
Let’s start with Jouvert….they ran out of liquor!!!! My friend and I had orange juice on the road. Not to mention they had no food so we had to end up buying expensive food in the park, smh!!! There were no vibes from the Ramajay truck, you could literally hear the music from other trucks over theirs. Literally all of Ramajay’s masqueraders ended up playing jouvert with Freaks Mas because they have the VIBES!!!!!
Now lets talk about carnival day!!!! Before the truck even started moving the staff on the drinks truck were taking shots and smoking!!! Mind you they refused to serve liquor before we start moving but the staff is having a ball right?? Probably why they ran out. They had no ice!!!! we were drinking hot punch all day. Whenever we asked for drinks they would fill the cup up quarter way and it was like we had to beg for a half cup of drinks!!! Completely unacceptable!!! Freaks has never short changed us, EVER!!! Last year we had to ask for more juice in our cups because the liquor never stopped flowing!!! The girls on the drinks truck were NASTY!!!! It seemed as if it was a burden for them to pour us drinks. Ramajay seriously needs to work on customer service but I wont be sticking around to find out if they do. This is about the masqueraders who pay their hard earned money and they seemed to forget that. Getting food on the road was the worst!!! They ran out of food initially and some people ended up with a plate of rice???!!! We finally got food right before they crossed and all they had was rice and peas, chicken and mac & cheese. I wish some bands would respect the fact that some masqueraders don’t eat meat and alternative options like fish would have been appreciated, especially after they were bragging on social media about all the food options they would have (rolls eyes). We didn’t even have snacks on the road, besides the peanuts they were tossing to people!! Not to mention there was no security and we were over powered by stormers!!!! Most of the girls in my section stated that the only reason they left Freaks was to play with Sherzel. I don’t know what occurred between them but they need to kiss and make up because Ramajay is not it!!
Grand opening, grand closing…back to Freaks I go!!!
RAMAJAY MAS….IS A DEFINITE NO!!!
I agree with previous comments that I too left freaks to support Sherzel in her beautiful poison dart section and although the costume was perfect…the best one in all my years in Miami carnival but I sincerely wish she continued to stay with freaks. Her service as usual is impeccable and always about the masqueraders but Ramajay was a complete disappointment. The staff were disgusting with their attitudes and lack of care for people who paid their hard earned money. Never any alcohol, juice, or ICE for that matter. How is that the staff is eating, smoking weed, and taking shots before we could even touch road. I had to literally argue on the road with a staff member because she continued to fill masqueraders cups a quarter full of hot punch then proceeded to tell me my cup would not get filled. My friend never got food but only attitude. No security and my friend was nearly pushed under their truck by one. I will NEVER give Ramajay my money again. It’s freaks over them for life and hell…any other band would be better. They could win band of the year all they want, 2018 masqueraders know the truth. They were literally the worst in experience. Sherzel you’re too good, leave them.
Played with Djunction Mas this year for Jouvert and Carnival. I had a great experience with them in 2015, played with OneIsland (FreeWineENT) in 2016 and was highly disappointed for many reasons: so back to Djunction I went. Our section was with Exotica Ladies. Pick up was smooth, they kept great contact leading towards pick up day via text and was quick to responding. Costume quality seemed cheaper than what was advertised and costume did not hold up the full day but whatever. Got to Jouvert around 11:30am saw the drink truck but no music truck. Maybe an hour later we heard that we would be jumping with bajanforeva because we had no music truck 🤔. Drinks flowed nicely, never had to wait, breakfast ok- soggy bread (maybe cause it rained) and salt fish. Full of vibes and I had a great time. Lunch was provided pretty much towards the end 2pm?? It was good rice, peas, chicken and maccoroni salad. Carnival Sunday we arrived about 1:30pm the bands were just starting to move- drinks were flowing, never had to wait for any, bottle waters were being handed out , dj was on point, vibes were good. Once we crossed the stage drinks kept flowing and ate dinner- dinner process was slow nothing crazy. I did hear about people have issues with DJunction via their IG account. I didn’t experience these issues but like I said I was Exotica Ladies. It’s worth another go around with them or try RevelNation.
Listen. All imma say is: Ramajay fucked up with NYC Labor Day Carnival then Miami Carnival. If y’all jump with them INTERNATIONALLY (Trinidad with Yuma Vibe or Jamaica with Xodus), you deserve to get bamboozled.
Hot mess ass Ramajay. Never again.
I registered to play in their jungle warfare section. I Chose the monokini option, and added a backpack. I went on the first day of pickup and they arrived well after their announced start time. They then told me my jungle warfare section was not here yet, and wouldn’t arrive until Saturday. After waiting for 3 hours I got my jouvert package and left. And babyyyyy, it all went downhill from there. Ramajay jouvert was tragic. They showed up three hours late, and ran out of drinks and food two hours later. There was no paint and no powder in sight. I gave up and went to have fun with Redantz. Saturday came, and they posted on Instagram that my section would be contacted directly. That was a whole LIE. I’m still waiting for the call. They refused to answer the phone all day Saturday. I didn’t hear from them until Sunday morning, the day of carnival. I had to call 15 times in a row for them to answer and tell me 5 hours before the kickoff for the road that my costume was never made. To add insult to injury, they served hot drinks all day on the road, as they had no ice. They also ran out of liquor and food again. This band is a whole tragedy. I’d like to know who they payed to get band of the year, because their whole Miami operation was TRASH!!!
My experience with One Island Band was awesome. I attended all of their events, costume pickup for my section, Sweetarts, was easy. Costume fit was perfect, and design was beautiful. Unfortunately there was a section whose costume was late, and One Island reps were unhappy so I doubt they’ll use that designer again. From Wake up Miami, to Jouvert, to Carnival was lit🔥🔥🔥. I’m a first timer, and my expectations were high so I’m glad they were met. Also thanks for the tip on traveling with feathers. Me and my friend used garment bags as suggested to travel back to NOLA, and we had no issues. Thanks, love ur blogs 😘
My experience was with Gen x. this was my first time playing with them and i played in the Brazilia section. The costume pick up was smooth ,i never had to wait too long for my costume but when i got my costume, initially i was not pleased. I felt as though it looked very cheap but then again, i decided to play last minute with gen x because their costume prices were cheap and i felt the brazilia section was the most decent of the cheap costumes. I got the back line option but upgraded to a wire bra and i didn’t like how they did not ask for specific bra sizes just small, medium and large, and their website had a chart of which size your cup size would fall under. I chose a medium but when i went to pick up my costume the medium looked very small and i was afraid it wouldn’t fit so i asked to try it on at the mas camp before leaving. After maneuvering it to cover the areas that needed to be covered ,it fit perfectly…Carnival day:When i actually put on my entire costume it was beautiful. It didn’t looked as cheap on me as it did on the model or in person.I arrived kinda late and was pretty bummed because mimosas was on their menu for breakfast but let me tell you, Gen x might have been small this year but the road was pure vibes and i’m not a big fan of soca music but the music was pumping and i had a blast. Drinks was flowing endlessly even after we crossed the stage and when you asked the bartenders to make it strong boy did they make it strong. I didn’t get a chance to taste their food but i know they had different options like fish, chicken and rice, i just choose to grab food from my friends who played with Party Room Squad because they always have the best food on the road. I’ve been playing mas in miami for 6 years now and even though i’ve always had my doubts about Gen x im actually glad i played with them this year because this was by far the best year i’ve had on the road. The only thing i wish gen x would do is use more black models which is why it took me so long to play with them and which they did on the runway this year so as long as they keep using more black models; i will play with them again.
Where can I find a good carnival concierge for Miami 2019?
check out Carnival Luxe