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
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.