Trinidad Carnival 2019: A Review of Tribe Carnival & More

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 Fetes.

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.

Silent Morning Boatride

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.

Soca Brainwash 70s

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.

Shades Turns 10

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…

Global Carnivalist Crew @ Jouvert

Purchase Jouvert Visor // Purchase Jouvert Thigh High Socks 

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.

The Road 

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 in Carnivalista Gliss Tights

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.

Carnival Monday Lunch

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 

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.

Global Carnivalist x Tribe Carnival 2019
Fete Luxe Social Butterfly Cup

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.

Carnival Tuesday Lunch

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.

Daniela Stoned Swimsuit

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.

Read More Carnival Reviews:  Trinidad Carnival Reviews

Yours in Mas, 

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

11 thoughts on “Trinidad Carnival 2019: A Review of Tribe Carnival & More

  1. crazy that woman experienced colorism playing in a private frontline section. Sad to say that’s become the norm on the road in most bands but you’d think that especially for a private section (where in most cases you’re hand picked) the designer would encourage photographers to try to capture as much of their FL ladies as possible (all shades- cuz you know the perception of private section is that you have to be objectively beautiful no matter color). smh they rly need to do better
    overall agree with the reviews abt tribe. security this year was too aggressive and rude to masqueraders pushing and shoving ppl out the way. like i understand if the truck is making a turn or something for safety but they was really over doing it. but yet they aint did s** to stormers especially after lunch on monday and tuesday. food situation is crazy but that’s b/c some vendors weren’t rly checking that they had the right lunch chits

  2. Oh boy, where do I start with Tribe.
    My section was Jaded Dragon. Distribution started off well until I realized that they gave me this weird extra large padded bra with my frontline costume instead of the wire bra that I requested.
    Staff was completely unsympathetic, everyone kept repeating that they didn’t make wire bras for anyone that was over a C cup and that there weren’t any extra wire bras that they could give me.
    The assumption is that anyone with a bigger size won’t look good in a wire and they don’t really want anyone to ruin the look that they are going for. The Designer was there and when I asked her for help she said she was only the Designer and that she could only help me if I was in her private section.
    I messaged the promoters and they repeated the same general message that they only marketed the section and there was nothing they could do.

    In addition to that ugly bra, the panty was completely wearable, they sewed 2 gold bars on the top and they were all sewed on so tight that you would see our vagina’s if we did not remove them.

    Just about all of the frontliners in my section including all of the promoters cut them off so everyone had the same problem.
    The costume was just ugly, the production was awful. The backpack were not worth what they charged.

    I returned to Tribe on Saturday, determined to get a wire bra because I’m not sure why Tribe thinks they get to decide what kind of bra I wear. They were understaffed and it was an awful experience. I missed SBW because of them. After about 2 hours, I introduced staff to my Flatbush, Brooklyn side and they quickly found a wire bra for me. It’s terrible that I had to go off to get what I needed but some people only understand ignorance.

    I agree with other reviews about Monday and Tuesday. Security did nothing about Stormers, I think they had more fun than we did. The lunch stops were basic. The promoters were rude and didn’t want us commoners to put our backpacks on their cart.

    My highlight on Tuesday was hanging out on a truck with my friends and a security guard requesting that I leave. I was the only dark skinned woman on the truck but I’m sure my complexion had nothing to do with it.

    I spent over $1800 on my costume and it was a waste. I’ll never play with Tribe again.

    Thanks for sharing your review !!! And giving us a safe space to express ourselves.

    1. My Carnival started when I flew in on Thursday night, dropped my stuff off and headed straight to Ignite which was good vibes as usual. Did not do anything Friday except visit Famalay lay lay lay lay. Saturday started off with Suits boat ride, which should be a must for any foreigner. After stumbling off Suits, I headed for another private boat ride down the islands where we moored next to other boats and continued feteing till late evening. Sunday I visited my dad who turned 101 that day in Tobago and returned intending to go out Sunday night but didn’t. Jouvert with Prism was slamming. Just a little too much paint but vibes was great.
      Monday with Tribe was ok. I’ve played with Tribe since it’s inception, as a matter of fact, since the days of Poison, and this was not one of the better years. When you pay premium prices, one would expect premium service. You can’t run out of food (even though I got). You can’t ration the alcohol. One thing that irked me was a “VIP” truck. Went to truck for a drink and was told it was only for VIP which meant you had to pay extra for that service. I wouldn’t complain if they served VIP first but NO “VIP” (blue bands) were being served and still couldn’t get a drink. Not cool. Highlight of Monday was meeting the Global Carnivalist who’s honesty I admire (I know she didn’t mean something she told me 😜).
      Tuesday….. More of the same. Vibes was nice but ran out of food, had to wait after lunch for trucks to restock, had to run after trucks frequently, fight thru for drinks, et al.
      I left around 4pm for home. I had had enough. I also officially retired from “the road”. I’ll continue to fete and do jouvert but I’m finish with the road.

  3. Not even going to lie I was very very disappointed my crew couldn’t get it together for this year. But these reviews have me thinking I dodged a bullet.

    Also, to piggy back off the colorism comment, I peeped the subtlety when I was looking at the band pages posting nothing darker than caramel girls and women of a certain size. (Note: it wasn’t all bands but it was enough to take notice of.) This make me thinks that I should just buy a camera and make it my business to show all the ladies who fete not just a specific group. It seems it’s much needed.

    Lastly, I’m a large chested feter and I was a little peeved that they act as if they can’t make wire bras for us. I saw a gorgeous curvy girl in Siam with the the most matronly bedazzled bra on. If Gingerwirebras can do it, why can’t these other big bands do it? Again, another missed opportunity that I think I need to jump on. Lol

    Thank you for these reviews as always!

  4. I know so many people disappointed in Soca brainwash because people got pepper sprayed/ Maced and their possessions were stolen. Over 30 people that happened to. As for tribe, too many Siam backpacks broke before they even made it on stage. The stage this year was a hot mess too, actually made me miss Yuma stage process. No reason why people pushing etc and on stage same time as the other sections. It was a hot mess. Same with Siam patrons who paid for a big head piece in frontline getting a backline headpiece and tiara as a replacement for backline.

    I’m highly disappointed in tribe this year.

    1. In SBW: One of the girls in my crew was dancing with two men (1 in front and 1 in the back). The one in the front unzipped her fanny pack, grabbed her phone and Ran away with it. Another girl had a wristlet clutch and a guy tried to snatch it but my other friend assisted her, so it was not stolen.

      In Phuket: Another girl’s phone was stolen from her fanny pack and he found her and gave it back to her….most likely because it was an iPhone 10 which cannot be unlocked or anything.

  5. Let me start by saying that there is no other place in the world I would rather be than Trinidad for carnival. As far as fetes, this wasn’t the best year for Silent Morning, next year I think I will do Sunrise Breakfast instead, AM Beach was back at Tyrico Bay and wonderful, BH is always good, SBW awesome, Vale was good but the crowd as well as the Vale family is getting old and it was too many stush ppl in the crowd especially when Mr Killa was on stage. The rain killed Sunday afternoon but Candy Coated Cruise was Ah-mazing, Candy definitely puts forth a absolutely amazing effort into her events. I seriously wish there was a Wine down this year in Tobago bc that fete was always bess lol. I played with Tribe and this wasn’t the worst year but it certainly wasn’t the best year. The section I played in was Venezia, while I was generally pleased with my costume the only major hiccup was that when I registered and ordered my costume the extra feathers were already sold out. How do you have a section and you cannot accommodate the masqueraders who are PAYING for extra embellishments??? It’s beyond me. My friend and I had to ORDER feathers from carnivalinfostore and bring in unclaimed feathers into Trinidad bc our designer couldn’t accommodate us. I paid $850 US for a bikini basically and I was annoyed. Another thing is the colorism the colorism, the colorism. It’s sad that the most beautiful thing about Trinidad is the various shades of beautiful ppl that come from the mixture but it doesn’t reflect in carnival. We have to do better in that but that definitely goes a lot deeper. I will be back next year but I think I can pass on playing mas next year

  6. Due to last minute situations I ended up playing with YUMA which was a blessing in disguise. At first, I was apprehensive due to my personal ignorance thinking that Tribe was the only way to go but oh was I wrong. Even though I had an amazing time with YUMA they of course had their downfalls, I’ll start there first…

    Costume Pick Up: Ok so to think that this would be easier since I was use to Tribe’s overwhelming line for their pick up however, with YUMA it was no difference. I was still in the US around this time so I had to get a friend of mine to cover for me. My friend called me in a rage saying that he waited for a whole hour before they could find my costume, YES, find my costume that I paid money for!! Pick up time was over, people and even employees were leaving, yet my friend still had to wait for the magical costume (that I’m sure they tried to finish making in the back.) Finally, they came to the front and gave him my costume an hour and a half later!! In the end, my costume actually fit me very well and lasted the entire time on the road so kudos to them on that.

    Customer Service: Watch nah *In my strongest Trini accent*….I feel like if you run a professional business with customers who are eager to play with YOUR band over the others, there should be some type of hospitality for these people. I called YUMA asking the simple question on why the masqueraders weren’t told in advance that paying online was going to be ending soon. We received an email on the same day stating that online payments were no longer permitted and we would have to show up with cash only for our costumes. Although I do understand this prevents theft but oh gosh tell people these things a week in advance before we have to walk in town to go to YUMA with over $5000 TT dollars in hand for all yuh nah man. Dat makin any sense??? When I called YUMA to ask about the credit card the young lady rudely replied by saying ” NO NO NO NO it done dats it only cash!!!!” like are there any gate-keepers to prevent just anyone answering the phone so we can actually have a conversation on the phone with a real person who is also sympathetic to the masqueraders’ questions?

    Ok now that I’m calm let’s talk about the things that went well…

    Carnival Monday: AH-MA-ZINGGGG! I showed up on time for the band, we stalled a little but it’s not their fault. There was more than enough room for me to dance and live my best life on the road. There were no stormers from what I saw and the security was actually pleasant and enjoyed themselves just as much as we did. There was a huge representation from the homosexual community which was ok with me and everyone else, we were all there to just have fun and listen to sweet soca music. It was a day of more than carnival, we all accepted each other and just partied!!! There was an abundance of drinks and food. I was never once worried about getting hungry or being thirsty because their staff on the truck did their jobs.

    Carnival Tuesday: WANDERLUST!! We all looked so beautiful in our costumes and once again de road was set!!! ample room to enjoy yourself to dance and be free. Getting into sections was simple and they were well prepared for any outside foolishness. Oh…The DJs were great and played outside of the same 15 songs, which I appreciated highly.

    In the end, I will give YUMA a 7/10!

  7. My first event was beach house. I arrived wicked late due to 3 hour traffic jam but food and drinks was still available and the party was still going. Beautiful venue and the food menu was top notch so we’ll worth the price I paid. Next up was Phuket. Great bbq style food and a great hype man engaging the crowd. Took a while for the crowd to get with the vibes. (I did get there early) AMBUSH was a movie. I have no complaints besides i wish we didn’t have to chip like i was on the road. I gotta save my leg strength for Monday and Tuesday. Its an absolute must if you don’t want to do jouvert. SBW was basically the Caribbean coachella and I enjoyed it. Plenty options for chill vibes and shell down vibes by the stage. A lot of photo op props for the theme and food vendors. Private Ryan redeemed himself for me because SBW crop over 2017 was a shit show and I cancelled him because of it. Sunnyside breakfast party was good with one major flaw. the penthouse all inclusive option was separated from the main stage. The coolor fete people had the better deal right in front the stage. It was annoying to have to move back and forth between penthouse area and main stage area when I needed a drink because the bars by the main stage was a cash bar and would not serve the vip people. Also the vip stage was a hazard and people were constantly barred from entering to reduce risk of it collapsing. I will definitely redo SBW and AMBUSH.

    I played with kosem backline and costume pick up was easy due to me using a concierge service to have it delivered to me. The costume itself was very sturdy and I was able to get feathers. The feathers were much smaller looking in person but easy to navigate through crowds with. One flaw was the panty jewels. It cut up my bikini line due to the placement of the stones. I actually didn’t notice stormers until Tuesday after lunch. The band is too large for stormers to be allowed. It was ridiculous and all you could do was walk. Monday I stayed with the beginning trucks so maybe thats’ why I didn’t notice stormers after lunch. Before lunch on both days was perfect in terms of crowding. TRIBE fest stop was good. the blankets to take a nap was great, I got to it early so I always got my food of choice. They had massage area but it was only two people when I went by. For the size of the band thats ridiculous. The line for it was too long to make it worth it. Also they need to make sturdier chits. My partners chit fell off on monday so he was left to starve. Thankfully a food worker was sympathetic and gave him a lunch still. I can’t see why anyone would lie about losing their lunch chit but since they were running out of food maybe that was the case. Overall my first time playing with TRIBE was good but maybe I will try a smaller band for less crowding

  8. Tribe review

    Distribution:
    I played in the AMIRAH section FL and pick-up was that Friday, 2/22. I arrived the next day to Cascadia Hotel on time at 1pm and they didn’t even start calling numbers until almost an hour and a half later. I paid my costume off in full by October 2018, so I qualified for express pick up and thought I would be in and out, but it still took a while to get my number called.

    Costume Quality:
    AMIRAH itself was a beautiful section however, while picking up my costume, the rep “tried” to pass off a crown that was dented in and missing gems. I caught this and she did replace the headpiece with another. The gems were crooked but, I decided to fix it myself. Additionally, the gold links in the waist belt were extremely delicate and easily dislodged. Due to the size of the band I opted for a collar instead of the full back pack, which was decent and a great decision. I also liked the Tribe Goody bag.

    Carnival Monday:
    We were late to the band, so we located and hopped on the TRIBE Porta-potty truck who had lost the band too. They drove a while before we realized they didn’t know where they were going. We then hopped off and ended up using D’junction to find the band ourselves. Felt kind of bad for the people who had to tinkle because the pee truck was confused, roaming around POS, lost 😕. Vibes were nice and we tended to remain at the front of the band so we could have space to dance and chip. Drinks were plentiful and accessible. I was grateful to cross the Savannah stage (first time). I would’ve like to cross to “Savannah Grass” but w/e. Masqueraders were friendly and reveling with strangers making the experience lovely. I met you, “Global Carnivalist” on the road and you were very gracious ❤️.

    Carnival Tuesday:
    I did feel very beautiful in my costume. I’m happy that i wore two pair of Carnivalista Naked tights. I had many snags but they were less apparent. Breakfast Doubles were great. The bake and shark was cold and nasty, smh. Again, decent vibes on the road. Crossing the Socadrome wasn’t as exciting as last year, because the section before us wouldn’t leave the stage. We had like 35 seconds on the stage before they ushered us off. I also appreciated the Shenseaa/Kes performance at the rest stop. I didn’t appreciate having to walk blocks to the music truck after lunch because most people were confused and didn’t know which way to go. Anyway, the vibes ticked up after lunch and I enjoyed the route down Aripita. I don’t like stormers ever, but it was better for me because I was at the front of the band and it was more bearable than my experience during Labor Day in NY. I still had space to dance and Revel. My costume held up “okay”. I usually reinforce my gems myself, so I lost very few gems anyway, but the links in the waist belt ended up dislodging and ended up looking a lil raggedy on the road. ALL IN ALL, next year I may go back to Yuma or try Bliss. The Colorism in Tribe also kinda turned me off. The photographers blatantly went only after one “type” of woman and that is CORNY!!!!!

    Tribe Lunch/Rest Stop
    We arrived early to the rest stop on both days, so we were able to get blankets and food. I had fish both days and the meals were delicious. The late arrivals were like “Hunger Games”. I head that they had run out of food and people were about to kill each other over blankets. I felt like they should’ve been handed out, but arguments were breaking out everywhere. People ended up opting to sleep on cardboard like vagrants in $1500 costumes. Unfortunate and unfair considering all the money spent.

    Customer Service:
    NOW, my father in law is a public figure in Trinidad, so I travel with armed security on the road and in EVERY fete. We requested security packages from Tribe for them (which was easily done without incident in YUMA last year). The process picking them up from the ROGUE mas camp was a headache. There was one person behind the counter and she was extremely slow and rude. While paying $4000TT for the packages, she referenced the visible anger on my face and I was about to snatch her shirt under that glass and slam her face like Gina did ole boy in that episode of Martin 😒. But I maintained my composure. They need to work on Customer Service with paid Masqueraders

    Fetes:
    I would definitely do Scorch Pool Party, Punch Wednesday, Ambush and SBW again.

    I could pass on Machel Monday, Kes (even though the show was fantastic) and SOAKA street festival

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