Let me just start off by saying thank you. If you are still subscribed to my blog, still in the loop of Caribbean and soca culture, Thank you! Our islands, cultural celebrations and carnival has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for 20 months and more. To say I missed carnival is an understatement so you must understand that I am overjoyed to have had an amazing carnival and fete experience in Miami. You honestly should have been there! It was VIBESSS overload!
I landed in Miami on Wednesday night with no intention to fete but to settle in for a day of errands. We checked into the Ritz Carlton, had something to eat and went to sleep. Thursday kicks off many of the fetes in Miami such as Arrivals and Tribe Ignite. While I had tickets to both, I made it to neither event because I chose sleep. I had been too tired dealing with my carnival errands.
Word on the street is that there were issues with getting into Tribe Ignite and Arrivals’ venue was further away from Miami/Brickell than we liked so my going to bed was my Carnival guardian angel looking out for me.
When I Got to Miami
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you know I have played mas with Revel Nation Carnival for the past 4 years. This year makes the 5th year with them and I was elated to see that the experience was just as amazing as my first time with them.
Costumes were revealed on July 13, 2021 via virtual band launch because of COVID-19. We impatiently waited for them to post costumes for registration two weeks later. There were several issues with the website and site crashes while trying to register, however we eventually got through. Though there were issues, Revel was communicative via DMs and email for those of us with questions and concerns. (Sometimes it’s not the issue but how the issue is handled that can make or break an experience)
I decided to go pickup my costume on Thursday and that took about 90 minutes due to the COVID-19 waiver and crowd flow that was put in place, but it was a smooth process. (By the time I left there was no line so I am sure some people had 10 minute wait times in comparison). Once masqueraders arrived to pick up costumes, you were directed to sign in, sign your COVID-19 release form then directed into a comfy waiting room with chairs, music and refreshments. Once inside, I was given my costume and an associate went through each item with me to ensure every piece was there.
Where I Partied
Carnival Friday rolled around and it was time to fete. I decided to check out Medz Miami @ Oasis Magic City, a venue with a pool but before that, I had to find food. I’m one of those people that HAS to eat before doing anything so I stopped by Kale Me Crazy, a superfood café in Miami for a veggie wrap. My granny always told me “not to leave what I see for what I don’t see” aka EAT where you see food you like.
By the time I arrived to Medz, the event was in full swing. I went straight to the bar for a drink and to a mirror to re-freshen up for the fete. The DJs played everything from the oldest soca songs to the latest TikTok dance crazes- you probably would have hated that if you’re a soca purest but the crowd seemed to be full of vibes. Everyone came dressed to party and have a great time, here you can see some of the unique and vibrant styles worn for Medz Miami. Bumping into so many people I had not seen for 2-3 years was special, smiling faces and optimism, people were happy to just be outside and basking in the energy of Medz.
Upon leaving Medz, we headed to Wynwood for food. We had the most delicious ‘Lobster Ravioli’ at Joey’s. Once we were done eating, it was time to go home, rejuvenate and get ready for Big Phat Fish. We spaced out our events by doing a breakfast fete and night fete per day to give ample time for Globey to eat and change in between.
Around 1130pm, we left for Big Phat Fish, a drinks inclusive fete where Voice and Problem Child were performing. With the Fame All Access QR code, we were able to scan into the event quickly with minimal wait time and headed straight to the bar. Big Phat Fish was amazing, the music, the vibes, so many people looking gorgeous in all white. It was perfect. Then the rain came down. I danced until I could not dance anymore then ran back under the cabana to prevent myself from getting sick but it was definitely a vibe. I absolutely enjoyed that venue (ample space) and Voice and Problem Child did their thing.
We got home, did skincare and demolished some food and went to sleep for Sunnation’s Sunrise in the morning. Now Sunrise was scheduled around the same time as Jouvert. I decided to alter plans since I’d done Jouvert two years straight prior and wanted to see what the breakfast party vibe was like. As usual, we went to eat first. I had a delicious smoked salmon tartine at OLS, then we got ready for the party.
Sunrise, a mimosa and food inclusive party was chicly decorated with overhead parasol umbrellas and lanterns to keep the crowd cool. Upon entry, party patrons were also given an umbrella to keep themselves cool. Dj Charlotte, Lurbz and Aaron Fingal, kept the crowd engaged and dancing for most of the afternoon. Most people dressed to impress for this event, you can check out some of the men’s fits here.
After Sunrise (and a nap), we did our pre-carnival prep. Pre-Carnival prep is where we get ready for the road the next day, we wash pieces of our carnival costume, organize and locate wristbands, and start finding all the carnival bag essentials, like blotter sheets, gum and sunscreen.
Once we were done with carnival pre-prep, it was time to get dressed for Viva La Carnival and Scorch & Spice. Viva La Carnival is a cooler fete on Saturday night with a big music truck. We ubered to the event so avoided the shuttle system and looking for parking; we arrived and chipped our way into the fete. We went the route of bringing two huge personal cups which was enough alcohol for us each for the night. (Honestly my alcohol tolerance is low post-pandemic, so one edible and two drinks and I’m good). Finding a spot and maneuvering through the fete was much easier since we weren’t toting a cooler.
Viva was vibes if you came to party, a bit crowded depending on where you were but the DJs did an amazing job covering soca from most of the islands. I was happy to see and hear DJ Bullet at Viva. I first heard DJ Bullet play when I went to Haiti and that moment brought me back to when I was having the time of my life at Fubar.
Scorch and Spice, held at Miami Marine Stadium was packed! Shenseea and Dexta Daps were there and you knowww Dexta is my fave and brought the vibes. After getting the crowd hype several times, Dexta then brought several other artists on stage including “Cheater’s Prayer” hit singer, Christopher Martin and Pressure, singer of hit song ‘Love & Affection‘. Dexta closed his set with “Call Me If’ which was a euphoric feeling just being in the crowd having your own concert while vibing to Dexta’s performance.
I was whyling because I was outside feteing until 4AM and had a 7AM makeup appointment. We got home, did skincare and played dangerous games because I did indeed go take a nap. By the string of my panty, I made it to my makeup appointment with JacBeauties, specifically Khadeisha Stewart. She has been doing my makeup for carnivals for the last 2 years and it was so good to see her again. Once K finished her 90 minute slay on me, I could go home and rest for a bit before the road .
My gorgeous costume Riti, was designed by Trinidadian designer Humzee. Deep blues, sparkly gems and rose colored sequins, I was wowed by the cut and gem work during band launch and I am happy to report it looked exactly like the prototype and held up very well.
The lycra used to make the costume was soft and the glue work was phenomenal, lowkey wondering if they used gorilla glue because none of the gems came off, even after washing it during my carnival pre-prep.
The most exciting day of this week had arrived — Carnival Day.
After speeding 5 minutes down the road to Khadeisha and getting my makeup completed, it was time to go home and get dressed. I had forgotten how intricate and time consuming putting on my costume could be. Though we made plans to leave at 12:30PM, we did not leave until 3PM (oops)
Anyhow we hopped into an UBER XL (no drinking and driving) and drove 20 minutes to Miami Dade Fair Grounds. We were pleased to meet organized lines walking into the park. Luckily we had received our CDC approved wristbands at Revel Nation’s mas camp so we were able to walk right in.
Revel Nation’s position was band 9, we walked through a couple bands before meeting up with them. As soon as we found the band, I headed toward the snack truck and got a veggie patty. Shoutout to Raphie and team for excellent food service. Once full, we popped a bottle of Prosecco and started dancing.
Now the feeling? The feeling of being in the band, amongst feathers and other happy people cannot be beaten or bought. It reminded me of why I love Carnival so much. A rebirth, a literal sense of renewal. We were so overwhelmed with joy, I kept randomly asking people in the crowd, “is it just me? doesn’t this feel amazing” and each response was a resounding “YES!”
Truck security did their best to keep toes away from wheels, and whoever was deejaying while DJ Stephen was on the mic did an excellent job, so good I can’t remember who was deejaying. I was happily chipping behind the truck and getting some bess wines from everyone. Around 6:57pm, it started drizzling and the crowd started pumping even harder. It felt like a water mist machine except it came from God.
Around 8pm or so I found the food truck again, and had a tofu w/ rice and it was so delicious! I had to double check a couple times to make sure I was not eating meat by accident.
What videos, pictures, and social media cannot showcase is the VIBES of being on the road. There were songs you may have been iffy about but fell in love with because of the music truck, the drizzle that came down giving us a feeling euphoric relief, eating while taking a wine and really reveling in it, chipping while your feet hurt but not being able to stop dancing, the comradery, the hugs, the “OMG, yuh know how long meen see yuh“.. these feelings, cannot be recorded or duplicated but they were there. Those feelings were everything.
Where I Cooled Down
You would think after a day of chipping in 4 inch heels the pain would slow me down but guess what? I woke up wanting to chip some more because we had so much fun the day prior. If anything, I had more songs stuck in my head because of the vibes & feeling the bass via the music trucks.
After eating a delicious lunch at Chica, we got dressed for Glasshouse and brought a change of clothes for Bacchanal Beach. It’s been a long time since I changed outfits on the way to another event but going back home was not practical. [We packed a beach bag with fresh water, towels and dove soap incase we needed to really freshen up]. As we headed to Glasshouse, prepared to party, there was a major delay with getting into the parking area because of both sold out parking and miscommunication from the police present. Still, we were not deterred, I parked near the beach and walked into the event. Thankfully lines to enter were short and I quickly entered.
Glasshouse was beautifully decorated, with colorful VIP cabanas surrounding the stage with ample space to access the bar. We purchased our drink chits, got a drink and started to catch a vibe. We were only there for about 40 minutes before the host started asking people to behave and that we’d come to have a good time. Another 30 minutes and still no music because impatient patrons (I should call them wild pigs for this kind of conduct) rushed the venue fence, while forcibly try getting in. This fence incident, in addition to traffic, lack of parking or clear communication created ample chaos for patrons and the event organizers. It’s unfortunate because I think this Glasshouse might have been one for the books. Everyone looked great and came to party.
That said, I got changed and we headed for Bacchanal Beach. [I could actually hear the music blazing from the truck while I was inside Glasshouse]. As soon as we walked in, the vibe was already high. We got drinks and joined the dancing crowd by the music truck. What I love most about Bacchanal Beach is the last lap energy to have a great time and the music truck. In 2019, the truck pulled off giving us a taste of the road and it was the same this year. Around 10:38pm, the music truck pulled off and the crowd promptly chipped alongside and radiated euphoric energy. This was an amazing end to my Miami Carnival experience.
Above all, this Miami Carnival experience was a reunion. A reunion of friends, soca music and more importantly mas. It was the perfect welcome back we needed after surviving this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
I cannot wait to see you all on the road again.