Why Antigua Carnival should be on your list for 2019.

Hi Carnivalists,

Having done, what is considered large carnivals several times (Trinidad Carnival, Jamaica Carnival and Crop Over), I wanted to focus on other carnivals this year.

There are several to check out but the island that stood out most is Antigua. Regarded as the Greatest Caribbean Summer Festival, Antigua Carnival is a celebration of music and dance held annually from the end of July to the first Tuesday in August. I am also pleased that the island has 365 beaches for me to explore.

I did some research [some Instagram scanning] to get an idea of who throws the best fetes and which band would give me the most bang for my buck. In my search, I partnered with Top Shelf Events, a premier events company in Antigua. Not only will they curate my Antigua Carnival experience [with the help of Yat Concierge] but I got to them to give me the spill on what to expect; here’s what they had to say:

Who is Top Shelf Events and what are you all about.

The Top Shelf Events team is a group of Antiguans, who have come together to offer a truly all-encompassing fete vibe. All our events are scheduled for the week of Antigua Carnival and thus form part of the private entertainment lineup for visitors and locals alike.

Our DOSE 4-events package is luxe and exclusive (200 to 500 persons) – to ensure we cater efficiently to our patrons desire for great and unmatched experiences.


Who is your ideal party patron?

Our patrons are all about the good and lit vibes. No long talking. No standing around. No ton a snapping. Pure vibes. They paid their money to enjoy themselves and it is our responsibility to deliver a party that not only meets their expectations but exceeds them as well. Our party-goers work hard and party even harder.

From the hypest music to an unsinkable bar, to an environment that is non-judgmental and safe, we will do whatever we need to do to ensure they have a great time. Head-top action and whinning on somebody man or woman is encouraged. We do however ask you to mind your business while having a great time, whatever you see at our parties, stay at our parties *insert snicker*.

“We want patrons to leave tired, weary, fulfilled and ready for the next Top Shelf event”


What does Top Shelf Events hope to give a party attendee that other promoters will not?

As Carnival chasers and enthusiasts, the team benefits from being able to place themselves in the shoes of patrons and are therefore in a position to expertly judge what works and what doesn’t work. We know our target audience. We don’t try to reinvent the wheel, but rather we add our own creative components that can be executed to make the wheel run even smoother. Our strength is our ability to execute the simple things to perfection. We focus our efforts on crafting a non-stop partying vibe from beginning to end. From our DJ line-up to the type of food we serve and when we serve it, to how the bars are set up and how easily you can get a drink and get back to partying, seating areas, security, we make sure all these things run efficiently so the actual party vibes is where the patrons attention is concentrated.

Top Shelf Events primary motto is ‘Execution Is Key’, while the secondary motto is ‘Manage Expectations Efficiently’, which means whatever we decide to do we try our best to ensure that we deliver on those promises.

How do you want patrons to feel once they are leaving a Top Shelf Event?

We want patrons to leave tired, weary, fulfilled and ready for the next Top Shelf event. At Tease last year we had so many people come up to us ready to give us their money for the 2019 installment. That meant we did something right. Ripple has been a private boat cruise for the past 4 years with last year being the first time we did multiple boats.

You could not just go out and purchase a ticket for Ripple. You either had to be a repeat patron or you’d have to come directly to us to get a ticket. Last year when we circulated the private invites via whatsapp, 6 weeks before the cruise, we sold out within 4 days. We want to repeat that same energy in 2019, and for years to come. 


Playing Mas in Antigua 

Now that we’ve covered the fetes, it’s time to talk about the carnival bands. There are three top costume bands that I am looking forward to.

Barefoot Promotions will be stepping into the ring with their first ever costume presentation which already has a big buzz as they have teamed up with acclaimed Caribbean costume designer Natalie Fonrose, while Insane Carnival has been teasing everyone with their Africa theme and have already hinted at adding some important new elements to their band. Myst Carnival is the biggest mas band in Antigua, now in their 12th year, and have been quietly planning to dominate the road for 2019.

All three bands are in different stages of their existence, and all are ready to give the people what they want.  There is a buzz building for Antigua Carnival, and it has been interesting to watch all the players go hard. The Antiguan carnival product is being given a face-lift, and Top Shelf Events is happy to be in the mix adding to that end product.

In short, if you’re looking for a new carnival experience and love yourself some luxe catered fetes, Antigua Carnival is the place to be in 2019.

Stay locked in! There’s more Antigua Carnival coverage to come – I know you want to see costumes and decide who to play jouvert with [smirks]

Yours in Mas, 

GC Signature





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Carnival from a masquerader perspective - Where to fete? Band reviews? What to wear? I got you!

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