Miami Carnival festivities concluded on October 14 and I AM STILL tired!! I have been sleeping like a newborn for days trying to catch myself. But of course I’m exhausted, on carnival Saturday, I attended THREE fetes, napped for two hours then went on the road for carnival. SMH. Anyway, let’s talk about these parties. I added three different events to my lineup.
THE FETES I CHOSE
For once, I went to Miami Carnival on Thursday night, after some hiccups with flight delays and car rentals, I got dressed and headed to Entice.
Entice is an all black affair organized by Skinny Fabulous and Experience Nyrvana. The event held many surprise soca artists like Ricardo Drue and Machel Montano. With gorgeous people and a fast moving bar, it was a great kick off event for the weekend.
I spent my Friday lounging for the most part, there was so much rain, I was able to pickup my costume, then get ready for Soca or Die, a new fete to the Miami Carnival scene.Purchase my body harness here
Dutty Revel Jouvert
AMAZING!! I am not the biggest jouvert fan but jouvert was LIT this year! The vibes and energy overall was excellent. The drinks were strong, paint was in abundance and everyone came out to have an amazing time. Packages started at $65, and included a t shirt, bottle, glasses, some goodies and a mesh bag.
A drinks inclusive event (tickets started at $90usd), with gorgeous people and specialty bars is always a good time. Some of the best DJs in the business headline this event but I’m starting to find the crowd to be a bit too stush for me.
Viva La Carnival
After Mai Tai, we headed to Viva, good move on utilizing another venue because Viva’s attendance has been rapidly growing. I was only there for an hour and a half but I had the best time jamming inside the people fete. I probably enjoyed myself more than the people that were there for 3 plus hours.
Hands down one of my favorite events after Dutty Revel’s jouvert. We were wining slow, coming down off the high that Skinny Fabulous gave the crowd (he’s such an amazing performer) next thing you know, THE BIG TRUCK we had on the road for Revel Nation pulls off, and it’s Carnival Day AGAIN!! The feeling of chipping behind the big truck is so euphoric and I’m so happy Revel/Hybrid Events did this. So next year, wear some comfy shoes, ah hear we on the road chipping again for a much longer time!
This was my fourth year playing mas with Revel Nation, as mentioned in previous years, MEEN LEAVING! That said, to spice up my experience, I played Costume-lette with Revel Nation, where I trusted a committee member to register me blindly, in a costume of their choosing. I was skeptical AF, had no clue what color shoes to pack, and of course I tried to cheat my way into a section by having my followers on Instagram vote lol. EITHER WAY, it worked out, I LOVED LOVED LOVED my costume.
Costume pickup took 10 minutes, (how do they do this? seriously speaking? is it obeah?)
I walked into the mas camp, signed into the iPad, signed off some waivers, got my wristbands then went for the costume. An associate then went through each item with me.. I was super impressed with the fold-able Revel Nation fan they gave us and compressed towel (once wet, the towel would expand). If you see another band doing this in 2020, allyuh know where they get the idea from (wink wink)
I tried on my bra for good measure and was able to swap it out for a little more coverage and VOILA, I was good to go!
Remember how I said I hadn’t slept for a day? After Viva La Carnival ended at 4 AM, I had a 6 AM makeup appointment to get to, I COULD CRY!
I had my makeup done by Khadeisha Stewart (based in Trinidad). Kay knows my skin and always gives me a glam up she knows i’ll love. I was able to get home, eat a quick breakfast and get on the road by 1:45PM, which for me, is earlier than previous years.
THE REVEL NATION EXPERIENCE
From costume pickup to the road, everything was seamless. We arrived in the park and began taking pictures. This is my veteran tip to you, take your pics while your belly still tight, costume still intact and your makeup fresh AF. If it’s high day, look for a bit of an overcast for the perfect photo.
That said, we entered into the masquerader tight up entrance, found Revel Nation and immediately headed to get some snacks. This year revel had hot fish cakes, patties, yuca balls, Guyanese chicken pie and pone.
Revel had specialty cocktails for each section which I thought was a dope touch. Several DJs also played, to my memory, DJ Private Ryan, DBandit, LL Cool Blaze and Dr. Esan were on board. Skinny Fabulous and Shenseea also gave fans a brief performance.
Masqueraders had high energy for most of the day from what I could see. I’m so happy I went early because I really got to enjoy the whole day. Crossing the stage was euphoric as always, ‘Call My Mother’ for me was playing and the DJ mixed up our stage song so each section crossed to something different.
By the time Revel parked up after crossing the stage, I was having my second fish meal and drinking champagne. After consuming three bottles, I promptly died about an hour after
Purchase my carnival boots here
Now since I only have one perspective from being with Revel Nation, I love getting insight from other masqueraders. Here is what they had to say:
CARNIVAL REVIEWS ON OTHER BANDS
Band: A Stormer’s Review
Miami Carnival was different for me this year. This was my 3rd year attending, but my first year storming.
Although I did not play Mas in Miami, I decided to throw on an old costume and try to blend in; & BOOM, “Storm Nation” was born. Honestly, it was one of the better decisions I have made. I don’t think I will be spending my money to play mas in Miami ever again and idc. Fight me 🤷🏿♂️Lol.
The pros were:
- I did not feel tied to a single truck. I got to experience vybz from multiple different bands. I’m a Caribbean man, I have commitment issues lol. J/k aside, jumping with multiple bands gave me a new perspective on Mas in Miami and I moved around however i wanted to with no ties to any singular band. It felt liberating.
- I did not have to drive to West Africa and wait in a TSA line to pickup my costume.
- I did not have to pay top dollar for a costume that ultimately was falling apart
The cons were:
- I did not have food on the road (but from the hot dogs i saw other bands give out, it doesn’t look like i missed too much)
- If you’re a heavy drinker, you won’t have access to alcohol on the road (I brought my own drink from home so I was fine
- You had to blend in with the crowd to get by 3 security checkpoints (was not a big deal for me because I blend in well and I storm respectfully….. meaning I did not try to cross the stage along with the band I was trailing and when it was time for ppl to get in their sections, I simply left and went to another band or just got out of the way)
Road: The route was a little different this year for me and I can’t honestly say it was better. A lot of bands seemed to cross the stage early. I would say about 8-9 different bands saw me in Miami, but the best were Revel Nation (of course), One Island, and surprisingly Savage Mas was lit .
I feel like I had a great experience. The opportunity to try many different bands at no cost > hot dogs, feeling tied to 1 band only, and failing costumes lol. I’ll see Miami again next year; hopefully security won’t see me though .
Band: Freaks Mas
I played in freaks mas for years including NYC , but this year was the WORST. Distribution was a mess. You still saw people putting costumes together. I played with LIV carnival and after waiting 30 min, they told me my costume was just being made. Like wtf! But the costume was gorgeous.
So carnival day was a mess as well. Freaks mas was unorganized to the point where I missed 95% of the carnival. There were no updates of any kind with placement, the truck moving off, NOTHING! Even when I was checking their IG every 2 min. I paid an extra 60$ for VVIP. It was a waste! It was “suppose” to come with an air conditioned truck, alcoholic ice cream, mobile bathroom, etc.
First of all, when I arrived, they would not let me on the truck until I made a scene. Second it was no air conditioned truck, no mobile bathroom, no more ice cream, NOTHING! All they had was a section for you to stand on the top of the truck which was so cramped,I did not even bother. Then I had to beg for food which was nasty chicken and a half of a “jerk chicken” wrap. FREAKS MAS this year was a mess. No good customer service, NOTHING! I was surprised they won first place. I was so upset, when stage time come, I walked right across and went home. Not even at the parade for a full hour and it was a waste.
Band: As a Spectator
I went to Miami carnival as a spectator and I have to say I really enjoyed myself. I did Jouvert and that was a lot of fun. At first I didn’t like the idea of all these bands in one place for Jouvert but then once I found my truck and got my drinks I was good. I love how contained Miami carnival is and the other things that you can do while carnival is going on in the park. I would definitely go back and maybe even play mas.
7 thoughts on “Miami Carnival 2019: Revel Nation Carnival, Jouvert & More”
Review for Wassi Ones/Socavivor Events
I have been coming to Miami Carnival consistently for five years and have never felt moved to write a review about my experience–until now. And not because I want to drag anyone, but I know that IG comments and emails tend to go ignored, whereas the Global Carnivalist blog as a platform holds a lot of weight. No one is ignoring her lol so here it goes…
I attended the Lyrikal & Friends Welcome Denim Party and the Rise & Shine events with Socavivor as part of my fete lineup because I have had such a great time in the past. This year, although still full of vibes, was definitely tainted by logistical mistakes. In the past, Lyrikal and the other performers would take the stage by 2am. My crew and I would usually get there by 1 so that we can get a good spot in the crowd so that we can close to the action. However, the people in charge of the venue, Exchange, did not open up the “VIP” until well after 2am, which in my open greatly impacted the mood of the party for many reasons: 1. There were no VIP tickets for this event, just GA. Last year, this fete was held at the same location and there was nothing off limits to us. I guess they wanted to make more money off us by selling VIP tables. However, the way the venue is set up, the VIP takes up the entire dance floor, so 98% of the people were relegated to dance on the side which feeds into the hallway (a clear fire hazard), now people can’t even walk to get to the bar (the most important lol). 2. After, the DJ makes the announcement that they were opening the VIP area/dance floor for everyone, then comes the lies that performances are about to start. This DJ told this lie for 2 & a half hours! Lyrikal & dem didn’t show up until damn near 4am, AND THEN they couldn’t get the sound system to work for 30 mins, so artists didn’t start performing until 4:30am, with the fete being over at 5am. Overall, I had a good time because EYE can have a good time anywhere, but this was irritating. Same with Rise & Shine. Every year I have been to Rise & Shine it has NEVER started on time. & although this is one of my favorite Miami Carnival fetes, it is still annoying to have people waiting 3 hours past the start time in the hot ass sun with barely any shade and get an attitude with people who have paid good money. My crew and I have decided to kinda take a step back from Socavivor events and just keep up with the other ones we go to. I feel like Socavivor is starting to take advantage of people because these events are long standing Miami Carnival events. But if you keep playing with people money, people will go elsewhere. Too many fetes not to be playing di ass.
So now let’s get to the J’ouvert/Carnival experience with Wassi Ones. I enjoy playing with Wassi Ones because it is a family band. As the youngest person to start a band and to have the longest running band in Miami Carnival, Giselle has a lot to be proud of. However, logistics this year was just not smooth and I feel like it is because it is more difficult to hold family accountable. You expect family to do things for you out of love and respect, but family can be as wotless as strangers. For example, we jumping up at J’ouvert and having the time of our lives. I notice it’s 2pm and lunch should be served. I go to the truck and was told that it’s not time for lunch yet. Weird, since J’ouvert is over at 3, but whatever, I’ll survive off soca. 3pm comes and they have extended J’ouvert a bit longer but by 3:30 they people wanted us out they park, my cousin & me go back to the truck and we were told that lunch will be served once we get to the exit. Once again, weird, but I didn’t think anything of it since we were served breakfast. Although I was exhausted from jumping up without much food, I just kept walking hoping to get lunch. DO YOU KNOW THAT DAMN LUNCH NEVER CAME?! Come to find out, the lady who catered the lunch refused to serve it so the food stayed out at her house. How did Wassi Ones think it was ok to not feed people who paid good money expecting that they would get breakfast and lunch for J’ouvert because THAT WHAT WAS PROMISED TO US! & do you think there has been any talk about refunding us any portion of our money or a discount for next year? NOPE! FOCKING CRICKETS FROM WASSI ONES. They haven’t even acknowledged it. & what about the person who cooked the food? If she got paid then I want my money back because NO ONE got food on the road. Not only is it a money issue, but people can also get sick. You can’t supply people with unlimited alcohol and not feed them. The combination of sun, heat, and alcohol with no food is not a pretty one. I don’t know how anyone else who jumped up with Wassi Ones/Something J’ouvert feels, but I got the message that my safety and wellbeing was not a concern to Wassi Ones. And THAT is not family.
I think for the price that I am paying for fetes, J’ouvert and Carnival that Socavivor and Wassi Ones need to do better. I expect for sound systems to work, I expect for fetes to not start 3 hours late, I expect that if I paid for food that I should get it. A silver lining is that my costume looked good from afar and fit as I expected it to. But up close, you could still see remnants of dried glue and some of my embellishments fell off on the road (which honestly the way I wuk up didn’t too much surprise me). But just to put things in perspective, my backline costume cost $485, and even though Something J’ouvert is the Wassi Ones’ j’ouvert band, I still had to pay an additional $65 for my j’ouvert package (cup, shirt, drinks, paint, breakfast, & the lunch I never got). I understand we’re a small band, so we’re not going to have mobile restrooms and relaxation trucks with massages and makeup artists. But as prices for even backline costumes continue to rise, I feel like there is not much to show for it. I understand the cost of costume production is always rising, but the masqueraders always seem to be the one on the short end of the stick. I’ve never seen dried glue or missing pieces from the section leaders’ costumes. I don’t want to play mas with another band next year, I just want Wassi Ones to do better.
K-Paya Carnival Review
This year was the first time me and my girls played in Miami Carnival, and since we were new and tryna get as much for our lil CAD bucks as possible we decided ion playing with K-Paya Carnival/Red Antz Jouvert.
This was the best decision we made. It was K-Paya’s first year so we took a chance and it was worth it. From Band communication via, DMs, email or phone calls. My friends picked up my costume for me and said they were in and out within 15 mins or less and some of them were even able to swap out some pieces.
I’ll be honest and say K-Paya didn’t have the most prettiest costumes but the costumes were just as advertised and made really well, even the backpacks, with all the wutlessness that when on everything is still intact.
We were #2 on Carnival day and didn’t start moving until about 12:30. the road was vibes from beginning to end. Drinks truck was flowing and their staff was friendly, handing out shots, rum punch and champagne on the road. Non-stop. Food was nice and a shared heavily and you were even able to get seconds.
I have to say for a first year band I was VERY impressed with them. If I do Miami Carnival again next year I will for sure play with them again. Jouvert and Carnival Day were well worth the money.
This year I took a risk and played with a smaller band, Dingolay Mas! No complaints except for the fact that I made my deposit on my costume since July and never heard back from Dingolay or my section leader until the week of carnival. My costume was beautiful, didn’t fall apart at all during the whole day, one of the only bands that had jouvert included with costume. I wasn’t with my truck much but when I did go to get drinks, had no issues/no attitude from bartenders. On carnival day, we were supposed to be 4th to cross but the truck engine was not working so we crossed late in the day but most masquerades vibed and stayed by the truck the whole day. This was the first time in 3 years I actually got lunch from my truck, curry chicken and rice with veggies. I’m surprised we didn’t place overall but I will play with whichever band my costume creator goes to!
thanks sis’ need to experience this carnival next year!
This year was my first year and I had the time of my life with my crew of 7gals.
We jumped up with Bajan Fuh Evah! My best time was jouvert. We jumped from band to band. The vibes was amazing! Nuff random whines. It was the best jouvert I’ve ever experienced.
Mas day itself was fun…the DJs on the trucks were simply awesome. All now I can still hear my fave tracks that defined Miami carnival. Drinks were flowing but d yummy rum punch run out well early& I never got lunch. They waited till we cross the stage to try to feed us. 940pm. And then it was a rush so we left.
But overall I could jump up with Bajan Fuh Evah again.
I’ll do Miami carnival again in a heartbeat!