From fete to fete to fete to mas, partying non stop.
We have pre-carnival fetes as early as May, however if it’s one weekend you need to be here for it is the one leading up to parade day. Check out my Carnival Vibes 2017 post to see the comparison. New promoters came on the scene this year to make this weekend even more action filled. Before, people would complain about not having anything to do or why we couldn’t be like the bigger islands (Trinidad/Barbados) and have parties back to back, well now we’re starting to.
The list of official events for Carnival (There were date changes for some events)
Let’s see how I tackled this weekend! [August 3rd – August 7th]
So I was tempted to take Thursday off but didn’t wanna waste my vacation day *lol*. I also have unofficial “sick” days, but still would it be worth it? If you’re here during the week, on Thursday there’s a boat cruise: Drink till yuh Weak. I actually didn’t hear much people talking about it this year, before or after. I know I saw one person complaining about the time they left the docks, but that’s about it. Funny thing is I actually got the option to go after work (4:30p.m.) but passed on it.
FRIDAY: DUCK WORK, DRIPPING, MELTING POT
First up was DUCK WORK. As you guessed it from the name, the whole mission of this fete is to “duck” (skip) work on that day to party. I actually took a day and ducked work completely just to experience the full vibe of this fete. It’s a BBAC (Bring a Bottle & Come) fete with also a small monetary contribution. It’s a small-scale fete, but still a good time. There was complimentary seasoned rice which unfortunately ran out as we made it to the top of the line. Different food items were on sale however at only select times. Overall, the vibes were good and the music & drinks kept flowing.
I didn’t make it to the other two events; however Dripping was a pool party featuring DJ Puffy and Melting Pot was a concert with different Caribbean artists. This year they had Machel Montano, Jahmiel, Secreto and other local artists.
SATURDAY: RISE, BLUSH, FAHRENHEIT
RISE, the first of its kind, is a day break event powered by paint, powder, water and SOCA. By the time I saw it advertise I knew it was a must for me. I’m a soca junkie and got my fill of soca music at this event. The dancehall, reggae and hip hop tunes didn’t come until towards the end where I was just about to leave. The fete started at midnight and I got there around 1:30 a.m., I was shocked at the amount of people already there and how the vibes were. Usually, people walk into a fete late and it takes forever to get the vibes started. It was vibes from beginning to end for me even with the unwanted pushing and soaking with water/paint. The only downside was the wait to get food and drinks. There was complimentary food from 12-3 a.m., however, it was only one station and the line was way too long. I felt like I was missing out on the vibes especially when songs I liked were being played.
For more pictures from the event, click here
Pictures by Two6Eight Promotions
BLUSH, another new event on the scene is an all-inclusive brunch event themed to all shades of pink. When the flyer released I was definitely interested however my liming buddies for the weekend weren’t. Fahrenheit was a headphone party and I actually never been to one but I opted out at the very end.
Also, I wasn’t sure how I’d manage all three of the events listed for Saturday as that was the initial plan. Thus I only ended up at one and slept for the rest of the day. Definitely not about this fete life.
SUNDAY: BREAKFAST FETE, SOCA MONARCH
The Original Breakfast Fete is the ultimate all-inclusive fete. If you read my post from last year, you’d get the gist of everything this fete has to offer. It starts at 4:00 a.m. and was to go until 3:00 p.m. but I’m not sure what time it actually ended because I left after 5/6. Sadly, the bar did close at 3 though.
Picture by Solo Photography
The set up this year was a little different with where the stage was and the bar access, I actually enjoyed it. There was seating available by the food section, but not as much as last year and also lounge options around the speciality bars. My drink of choice for the day was a Cosmopolitan with Grey Goose Vodka.
As usual the food lines were extremely long, but I managed to finesse my way into a variety of food such as KFC, Goddard Catering, Chicken & Bread, Chicken Pasta, and Fried Wings. More food options were definitely available but the wait time would have been ridiculous (due to the amount of people present.)
The fete featured a wide range of performances all of which I can’t remember *lol*. From Calypso to Soca music, both regional and local. Mighty Swallow, David Rudder, Baron, Peter Ram, Patrice Roberts, Orlando Octave, Erphaan Alves, Ricardo Drue, Tian Winter etc. You can check out my IG Carnival Story for snippets of the action.
Last year we did the Antigua Flag, this year we tried something different.
Picture by Trini Jungle Juice
MONDAY: JOUVERT, MAS
So, unfortunately I skipped Jouvert this year. The one year they actually had a pink shirt and more paint/powder. My jouvert troupe of choice would have been Caut!on.
Mas with Myst Carnival
Before we got on the road there was costume pickup. This happened the Friday before Carnival for my section, even though I was annoyed about this I didn’t take it on too much. The process also took about an hour, because it was crowded and felt like the organizers weren’t moving with haste. I had no problems with my costume, and their was also a goodie bag provided. The goodie bag was actually a fanny pack which would have been great on the road; inside there was lotion, sunscreen, glitter, gems, makeup remover, vitamin c, sanitary wipes and so much more. You can tell thought went into it.
Myst Monday – Definitely the best Monday of the year and the best Monday Mas experience I have ever had. As usual I met them at the lunch spot to ensure I ate before the action started. The food was okay, nothing to complain about and there were also many options to choose from. There was a live pasta station and a dessert section. At the venue there’s a refresher station where you can get hydrated, fix your make-up etc, as well as an area for massages.
The sun was blazinggg, so I definitely always had a bottle of water in hand. My drink choice on the road was English Harbor 10-year-old; I had no queries with the bar and always got my drinks in good time. The route started and ended at the Police Recreation Grounds and we crossed the stage some time after 6, so by then the sun was getting ready to set. From then, the jamming went to another level, there was a mixture of dancehall and soca to keep the vibes up. I can’t point out what exactly made Monday the better day, but it was vibes! We finished around 8:30 p.m. and I wanted more.
The final day! What I love about this day is simply being in costume. Also, the food options were better on this day despite one minor mishap. We also received Haagen Dazs ice cream on the road, along with a variety of chips options.
To be honest, when they launched the costumes on social media, I hated most of them but somehow the black was calling my name. After seeing them in person at the mas camp, I was tempted to switch but stayed with my first option. The yellow my friend wore was definitely the “Hot Gal” section on the road though.
The theme for this year was Celestials. My section of choice – Noctis
Now to wait for next year!
As for the music on both days, it was a good thing I particularly liked 2018 soca music from across the region. To me, the most popular songs were Top Striker, Funky Business, Back Bend and Di Party Lit. Only on Tuesday we heard more of our local music like Total Oblivion and Out Deh. Even though our (Antiguan) 2018 soca songs may not have been up to par, music from previous years were hardly played.
A major plus for me for this year’s Carnival is the amount of recognition our festival was finally getting around the region and internationally. We had various media houses to include Trini Jungle Juice and Bajan Tube. There was also CDE Events who came for the weekend before with people from the UK and USA to include some pretty known youtubers and social media personalities. From since then I’ve actually seen individuals on twitter list Antigua as a carnival option for the coming years. It has been a struggle for us seeing as Cropover is held during the same time.
Carnival is always my favorite time of year. I truly can’t wait to experience it in another island.
Roughly to do all the events during this weekend, I’ll budget USD $480 (excluding mas). However note that there is an option for purchasing early bird tickets as well as VIP options. The average price for an all/drinks inclusive fete is USD $65 regular, $112 VIP. To play mas the average price USD $500 – $800 for two days, depending on how extra you want to be (aka backline vs Queen of the Band).
More or less, that’s already USD $1000+ excluding airfare, so once you’ve decided that Antigua is the place to be, book your ticket EARLY! Also, add in extra for transportation, accommodation and food; most of the fetes are only drinks inclusive and you’d definitely want a snack after pumpin’ for so long.
If you have any questions about anything, don’t be shy!
Ask me in the comments or use my contact form.