Some of us still have sore feet with skin that is peeling from sunburn or we’re just sporting our glorious tans, still while blasting soca and re-living the road in our heads. I cannot believe Trinidad Carnival came and left so quickly, and soon it will be time to plan all over again. But let’s talk about how we enjoyed it. As usual, I had an amazing time with my team and checked out a few new parties this year.
The first fete of Trinidad Carnival week for me was Silent Morning boat-ride. OH MY GAWD. What vibes! Silent Morning, I had long heard was a blast so I had to see for myself. The boat was delayed with pulling off and we saw them set up while also fine-tuning the sound system but once we began sailing, it was a lituation. I ate [though i cannot recall what], got my drinks and kept on wining. Thankfully there is no footage floating around anywhere but Mr.Killa’s hit song “Run With It” impacted my small self lol.
Later that evening, we checked out Shades in the City. A super affordable drinks-inclusive event [with free corn soup]. Starting price was $50usd which is SUPER reasonable during carnival time. We also got to see some amazing soca artists stop through like Shal Marshall, Problem Child, Swappi, Skinny Fabulous, and Patrice Roberts. Each artist was excellent and engaged the crowd. I also loved the grounds of the event and would love to see it grow more in the future.
The next fete we attended was Soca Brainwash 70s. The venue was moved and boy, what space, I see the vision of SBW turning into more than just a fete but a festival. There were several areas for patrons to pick up food, take pictures, get drinks, and of course, two stages. The main stage which played all the current tunes and the mini stage that played bops from 2004 and before. The highlight of Soca Brainwash for me was following the riddim/pan section out of the venue, all the way to the Savannah circle.
Shades Breakfast and SunnySide took place on Sunday. Shades in 2017 became a favorite fete for me. We entered the gorgeous venue and had a time. Tickets dropped at $100usd a pop, for nonstop food, drinks, and vibes. Although I went later than usual there was an omelette station and buffet style food option for my consumption so food was in abundance. The vibes were unmatched as well. Artists came into the crowd and jammed with patrons as the riddim section kept the vibe going, even though it rained.
Now SunnySide Breakfast party changed things up this year. Patrons had the option to bring in their coolers or purchase penthouse tickets. To keep things easy, we did the Penthouse option and had access to all the drinks of our choosing and breakfast. Top artists like Mr. Killa, Machel Montano, and Ricardo Drue stopped through but I would have to say the highlight of the fete was expecting it to be over and exiting the venue to see a music truck waiting for us. The fete continued…
This year, we decided to try jouvert. We chose Night Owlz. Night Owlz Jouvert, pulled off later than expected and I was in a rush to get to my 6am makeup appointment but we shelled during the short time we were there. Tony X hosted and was in the band chipping with patrons, which really set the tone for this jouvert. I understand there were some hiccups with Night Owlz body wear but they quickly remedied the situation by offering refunds and discounts. I’d like to see this jouvert grow in the future. Jouvert before carnival Monday means TIREDNESS eh so.. pace yourself.
I played with Tribe again. Knowing FULLY well, Tribe is crowded and a pain to navigate with a frontline backpack. What I do love about Tribe, is knowing that my costume was always made with a certain standard.. this year, Tribe failed to deliver.
I paid off my costume early, so I had access to Tribe Express, which was excellent. A small reward for the folks who paid off their costumes early. The Tribe associate went through my box piece by piece and there was a brochure inside to tell me which piece went where, an extra touch I truly appreciated. My section was Siam. Upon picking up the backpack, I could tell it was heavy and a bit flimsy without reinforcements but whatever, I have it already.
Carnival Monday was RAM!! So many stormers! I feel like Tribe does a good job of extracting people but it seemed intense on carnival Monday. The lunch stop was hectic AF but I got my noodles and tofu and kept it pushing. I did love the pace and we had a great time.
Drinks flowed, the DJs did a bess job and my team was having a ball. We closed off carnival Monday with Run With It so the night ended on a high. I was by Queens Savannah park still wining around 10pm, fuss I was hype still.
Getting Ready Shots
Getting Ready Details
- MUA: Khadeisha Stewart
- My Carnival Tuesday Boots: Glitter Bootie
- Carnivalista Stockings: 10% off Discount Code: GLOBEY2023
Now it’s Carnival Tuesday, costume day! I was late but my driver got us right to the band so I didn’t have to do too much walking. Just about the time, I found the band, they were gearing up to cross the Soca Drome. It took a while because we had to wait for each band and section to cross. On the plus side, we got to cross the stage to both Savannah Grass and Famalay so for those of us who loved one over the other, we did not have to choose.
Photography Credit: Steven Jackson Photography
By then, I had seen so many broken Siam feathered backpacks before we even crossed the stage. Mine was still holding on by the Grace of God. And JUST AFTER we crossed, and I wanted to push through to get a drink, my feathers broke! [WHAT THE]. Frontline costumes in Tribe average $1500usd, HOW could feathers be falling apart before some of us even touched the stage? I was so disappointed.
I was hoping there would be a “fix it” station at lunch stop as prior years but there was none. The lunch stop was hectic, and lunch ran out. HOW DOES LUNCH RUN OUT when you accounted for masqueraders prior to? So I ended up eating a small salad and a veggie lasagna.
There was a massage station, a glam up section where ladies had mirrors to fix their makeup or get deodorant spray but truly, I think this rest area could be spruced up a little bit more. A nice touch, we got a mini concert by Kes and Shensea while waiting so I commend Tribe for the entertainment. I also really enjoyed Truck 5 and 6 later in the evening. DJ Hazzard and DJ Aswaad truly showed off!! Even Private Ryan and Riggo Suave kept masqueraders engaged toward the end of the evening. I eventually was told drinks ran out and they were handing out prosecco, [another fail] but again whatever, we headed to Last Lap to try to enjoy what little left we had of Carnival Tuesday.
On Ash Wednesday, we had to do a cool down fete so we headed to Besslime’s Sunscape. I really loved the vibe of that event. There was a cute floatie to take pictures with [you always need a photo opp when marketing an event], we were greeted with a free margarita and even more friendly staff. Lunch kits with bake and shark were distributed as soon as you boarded to prepare your belly for the liquor. The vibe was also really dope. People still had so much energy though carnival was over. We eventually anchored near some other boats, where I took my fastness and hopped off the boat-ride [and got left, this was both hilarious and scary AF since all my shit was on the boat-ride] so I cannot speak for the floatie/swimming experience of Sunscape, but I’ll be sure to stay the whole time next time.
In all, once it’s carnival time, I’ll make the best of any situation. My costume pickup was smooth and the vibes was top notch on the road. In the future, I’d love to try some new fetes next year and maybe even another band. Below, you will find feedback from other masqueraders.
Other Masquerader Reviews
Tribe is a nice band with vibes, good DJs, and pretty costumes. It’s a big band with plenty of people on the road which can be overcrowded. I was highly disappointed this year with the disorganization of the staff and management of Tribe. I had to make the best of bad situation on the road. The costume collection, food supply, and logistics on the road were terrible.
Carnival Monday started off fine. People didn’t start coming until late so there was space in the band. Lunch was good and there was food and drinks. Issues started for me after lunch. I don’t know what security was doing but why the stormers jamming up in the band next to me, please? There was literally NO space to take a wine or do much except for walk. I was most displeased but figured that was the price to pay for playing in a big big band. I thought Tuesday would be better. GIRL. I got to the band at 9. I was feeling cute, even with my big ass bra. TELL ME WHY I STARTED FEELING MY WINGS DANGLING AT 11 A.M.
Paparazzi Band: I got on the road and I continued to fall apart. I was just collecting parts in my fanny pack. My backpiece has those long and hard fragile feathers which were beautiful at first. Before I reached the Savannah, they were throwing up gang signs. I look like I got in a fight it looked so bad. When we touched the Socadrome, NONE of us frontliners had those feathers as we all cut/broke them off. THOSE FEATHERS ARE NOT FOR THE ROAD. PLEASE STOP USING THEM.