This Miami Carnival 2022 experience marks one year since Caribbean Carnivals returned after the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic devastated the entertainment industry.
After attending several carnivals throughout the summer, Miami was the sweet ending to the season. My Miami carnival trip was extremely short. I landed on Friday morning, checked into Hotel Indigo in Brickell, and made my way to pick up the most prized weekend accessory – my carnival costume.
Costume pickup was smooth and took about 30 minutes. Initially, I arrived around 4pm but the line was way too long for me so I left to grab a bite to eat at Yardhouse and returned at 7pm to a much calmer band house. I was checked in and out promptly, a Revel associate went through my goodie bag with me and notified me of band details. Miami Carnival 2023 Planning Guide
Where I Partied
There were several large scale and well attended events over the carnival weekend, Tipsy Miami starred Burna Boy and Machel Montano while other party goers enjoyed Citrus’ all inclusive vibe on Carnival Friday.
I kicked off my weekend at Big Phat Fish. This all white drinks inclusive event dazzled party patrons with top notch entertainment and a decorated event layout. As party attendees walked in, they were welcomed by a well designed clam shell and beach inspired step and repeat. Soca artists Patrice Roberts and Voice were the highlights of the evening while fast moving bartenders served us all night, as I never felt like I’d been waiting too long.
Carnival Saturday started with a bang at Dutty Revel Jouvert, a paint and powder event. After the championship Soca Brainwash themed event, party attendees made their way to Viva La Carnival, an affordable cooler fete experience. I was sad to see the truck was missing from the event space despite the rain, party goers still had a great time and deejays kept the audience entertained.
Where I Ate & Drank
As a pescatarian, my struggle with fetes continues to be getting something to eat; bake&shark does not always cut it. Thankfully, Miami had many dining options as we spent some time at several different restaurants. We started our day having lunch at North Italia, drinks and appetizers at Balan’s, who also serve a delicious brunch and have a decent happy hour. We then began our early evening by enjoying craft cocktails at Sugar, we even made a random friend; spontaneous nights make for great travel memories.
The Costume & Carnival Day
Revel’s theme for 2022 was “Lost Treasures” with my gorgeous section, Heirloom, designed by Oylan. Red and oranges complementary to chocolate skin, the material used was soft and well sewn. The band launched in June and I delightfully registered as soon as possible.
After promising my friends I’d be on time, I woke up around 7AM to start getting ready. With the help of my favorite high performance primer, I was ready on time. We left the hotel around 11AM to get something to eat, ran errands then drove toward Miami Dade Fairgrounds. The one year I was early, it rained. It rained for a couple of hours actually, if not most of carnival day. The day did not really begin until 4pm when the rain subsided but the vibes were already high – Masqueraders were ready. There were several people “jumping in de water”
Once we found Revel Nation, I made my way to the clearly marked food truck and requested a salt-fish puff. Once pleased and chewing, we made our way to the drinks truck where I got myself a Johnnie Walker and ginger-ale cocktail. Cups full, we were bound for the music truck.
As Dr. Esan played and masqueraders chipped behind the trucks, truck marshals were diligent about keeping toes, bodies and carnival backpacks away from the wheels. So diligent it was annoying at times but they were serious about their job. I could just tell this was stressed at the Revel Nation team meetings
We spent most of the day in carnival bliss having fun as a feting family. Around 8pm, we organized ourselves into sections. Well made costumes sparkled across the stage as we danced to Problem Child and Skinny Fabulous “Danger”. It was euphoric. Once crossed, I happily received my fish dinner around 9pm.
Revel Nation Carnival continues to give us an outstanding experience (the band has grown tremendously since I first played with them in 2016) while maintaining the elements we love. Family feel, minimal production concerns, band leaders we can access and top notch customer service. I love that.
After Revel’s truck locked off around 10PM, my friends and I roamed from random trucks for the last hour to catch a vibe. We eventually happened upon the Miami Broward Committee Concert. It was so well done and the sound system was jumping. I am sad that after attending Miami’s carnival for about 12 years, this is the first time I experienced the concert.
In all, this was a reminder that things bounce back, sometimes I am in awe that we spent a year plus in the house and months away from our loved ones to now; we’re playing mas again. After a long season, I finally threw away my fave carnival boots.
Til another carnival