Antigua Carnival 2019: On the Road with Caution and Insane Carnival

Hey Guys!

Initially, I would usually review everything at once, but I didn’t want to run the risk of the post being too lengthy. Hence the first part was solely about the fetes I went to, as well as my T-shirt mas experience. In this review I will share my Carnival Monday & Tuesday experiences on the road for j’ouvert with Caution (Project Sync) and Mas with Insane Carnival. This is also my first time ever with Insane as I’ll explain below when I get to that part.

It’s been one week and people are still talking about their carnival experience. Especially when photographers began dropping pictures on social media. We definitely need a countdown to #AntiguaCarnival2020 because something about this year set the bar high (at least in some aspects).

Road Experience – Monday & Tuesday

J’ouvert

Monday 5th August
12:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Band: Caution (Project Sync)
XCD $175 / $200 | USD $65 / $74 (Early Bird/Regular)
Drinks Inclusive, Breakfast, Snack, T-shirt Package

J’ouvert means ‘day break’ or ‘morning’ and generally signals the start of Carnival (Itz Caribbean). Thus, this year I decided to start my Carnival celebrations with J’ouvert on Monday morning. I missed it last year and decided I couldn’t let that happen again. My band of choice was Caution, organized by the Project Sync team.

Interestingly enough, I helped them behind the scenes by packing packages so I already knew what colour the shirts were going to be. That little snippet of information alone set the tone for what Caution was going to bring on the road for J’ouvert morning. By August 1st they were sold out.

On Sunday evening they released “The Blueprint”. The setup had me a little skeptical at first – one music truck?! However, I already knew where I’d be positioned i.e in the front of the music truck. I don’t need to be in the middle of the crowd to enjoy myself. If I felt like I was too far from the action, I’d go behind the music truck for a bit or at the sides.

We got to the meet up point around 1:45 a.m. and went into the line for breakfast. By the time we got to the front, the goat water was done (I guess it’s partially our fault given the the time we arrived). My bf settled for corn soup, but I’m definitely NOT a fan of that. Next up was to get a drink where I believe we spent the first 30 minutes of the procession trying to do this. Between the security guards shutting down the bars when turning corners or passing other trucks, the amount of people and the height of the bar it was difficult (and slightly annoying). I went to the bar maybe 3 times for the entire session, which was enough for me.

The vibes on the road was amazing. I don’t usually like the whole paint and water ordeal but I definitely enjoyed it that morning. The session in front of Ramco building joined with the local music was lit. From that point on it was continuous powder and paint everywhere. Usually, Market St. is my least favorite point, but I think we got through it fairly quick. When we got to High St. my friends and I decided to get patties from The Patty Hut (that’s when my stomach “woke up”) and continued in the jam. Lowkey, High St. felt like the new Market St. because we were on it for so long! At least it felt that way to me.

I believe my feet failed me on Old Parham Road on our way back to the meeting point. We ditched the band and took a shortcut, arriving to the venue before the crowd. Thankfully, breakfast was already set up and being served. There was bread, omelet/boiled egg, saltfish, sausage, beef and vegetables. There was also a section for snow cones, fresh coconut water and sugar cane. I made sure to enjoy all these things (except the cane) then we headed to the beach before going home.

Rating: 4/5
Will I Return: Most likely

MAS W/ INSANE CARNIVAL

Monday 5th & Tuesday 6th August
11:45 a.m. – 8:15 p.m. | 10:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Band: Insane | Section: Dzilla (Frontline)
Drinks Inclusive, Lunch, Snack, Monday Wear, Goodie Bag

The moment we’ve all been waiting for: MAS! From the headline, you can see this year I played with a different band. One of the main reasons for this was costume designs *lol*. For years I’ve watched Insane costume launches and fell in love, but always went where my friends went for “the experience”. However, it’s 2019 and we needed a change!

Insane Carnival 2019 theme: Africa – Return to the Motherland

Before we get into the reviews of Carnival Monday and Tuesday, here’s a little snippet of how the process went. Before we all decided we were going to be playing with Insane, the costumes were already selling out. I registered online for my section of choice and then the next day it sold out. Registering was a breeze; I simply had to create an account, select all the details I wanted and put in my card information. There was minimum payment of … to confirm your registration.

After registering, I went to the mas camp twice or so to pay more money towards my costume. They even had a payment plan and regularly reminded customers about paying off their costume balances. I made sure to settle my balance before costume collection. The service was always pleasant and quick when I went, there was never a line.

Costume Pickup

My section was one of the first to be distributed. This was done on the Wednesday before carnival. This is the first time that I ever had my costume so early. The process took about 10 minutes max. An attendant went through the box with me, ensuring I got all the pieces needed. Upon going through the box, we realized that I had the wrong bra and it was rectified immediately. Everyone was welcoming and pleasant, definitely making it a smooth experience.

Carnival Monday

Let me just mention now that I was late for both days. However, we still made it a priority to go to the meeting point first for lunch. Luckily, there was still food, so I got to eat before going on the road. I noticed they had a massage station set up, so that’s one amenity patrons received. For lunch I had macaroni pie and chicken, but there were other items such as rice, salad, fish, chicken tikka masala and jerk pork.

The meeting time was 11:45 a.m. then move off at 2:30 p.m. My makeup appointment was set for 12 p.m. which I thought was a fair enough time, given I did jouvert. However, things went a little off schedule, so I believe we got to the meet up spot around 3:00 p.m. At this point the band wasn’t too far, so we had a bit of time to catch them.

Monday Wear by Needle n’ Threadz

As usual, bands provide a Monday wear option for you, but as customary patrons can also do their own thing which I did (note the differences below). Monday started off a bit slow, but I quickly realized that it was going to be a day filled with lots of local music (not a complaint). There was also only one music truck, but just like jouvert I positioned myself in the front. At certain parts I felt like we were moving rather quickly on the route but surprisingly we did part of it TWICE!

Monday Mas with Insane Carnival
Snack Pack!

The highlight of Monday for me was after we did the second round of the route and the sun began to set. The DJs definitely turned it up a notch and it wasn’t as hot! I can’t even recall what time we made it back to our meeting point or what time I got home.

Carnival Tuesday

Meeting time was a little earlier this day, since the official parade started at 12 p.m. We got there around 2/3 and still managed to have lunch; I had Black eye peas rice with BBQ chicken (which was really good). Other options were yellow rice, vegetable chow mien, fillet fish, scallop potatoes, rosemary pork and green salad. Funny enough the meeting time was at 10 and I did pass by before my makeup appointment to see if I could get food *lol*.

Anyway, we had to walk a little further than Monday because at this point the band was about to get into town (Vivian Richards Street). It was so hot and my leg pieces were starting to slide down my legs so I was a little annoyed. Finally we met the band, got a drink and went in our sections. Thankfully, my section was in between a music truck and a bar; it was also the second section in line. My mission was to get a few quick snaps before I got irritated and ditched some of my costume pieces.

Insane Carnival - Antigua Carnival 2019

From the picture above you can see just how many pieces our section had. By the time I got home I only kept my thigh pieces, one necklace, waist piece and obviously my backpack. The vibes were VERY different compared to Monday. Let me also mention just how good everyone looked in their costumes. Usually the pictures released and the real thing tend to differ, but Insane’s costume production did not disappoint!

I definitely came with a renewed energy on Tuesday and I had a ball! Ya’ll we crossed the stage before sunset! Not even throwing shade, but it was an enjoyable experience. When we returned to the meeting spot we were served soup; I had chicken soup which was really good despite me not being a soup person. I believe there was also food because I saw a couple of people with plates. After eating we went back on the road to jam and wait for the results to be announced.

I left before the results were announced (around 9:00 p.m.), but on my way home I learnt that Insane won Band of the Year!! It was well deserved. I can’t wait to see their theme for next year.

Insane Carnival - Antigua Carnival 2019

P.S. This is my favorite costume I have ever worn.

My only dislike was the ending. We ended in a point where all the other bands had to pass through to get to their end point. It was frustrating, having to stop the music and move out of the road for other bands and trucks to pass through. Also, it definitely opened us up to the general public; everyone was jamming in the band at that point. Nevertheless, it was still a great time with Insane!

Rating: 4.5/5
Will I Return: YES!

Most played songs on the road:

Local

Low Rider – Fish Dance (Road March winner)
Tian Winter – Do Wah Yuh want, In Yuh Face
Claudette Peters & Supa Mario – Jammin Duty
DJ WHO – The Backshot Dance
Menace XL – Legendary Jam

Regional

Call My Mother – Edwin
Famalay – Skinny Fabulous, Machel Montano, Bunji Garlin
Motto ft. Blackboy & Ezra – Man with Ride
Honestly, I can’t remember what else lol

A little further in the year or the beginning of next year, I’ll think about doing a “Planning for Antigua Carnival” guide on the blog. However, if you want a quick look at the estimated budgeting needs check out my post from last year (the last section).

Will you be attending Antigua’s Carnival in 2020?? It’s the greatest summer festival! Save the dates: July 23rd – August 4th 2020.