Another great Trinidad Carnival has come and gone. The countdown the TnT Carnival 2018 has already begun. I know people who have secured their flights and accommodation already!!!
2017 marks my 16th Trinidad Carnival. Throughout my years I’ve seen a huge transformation from 2001 to now. Some changes have been great, some not so great; but overall, despite the changes, the increase in costs and the decrease in traditional costume designs, Trinidad Carnival is still the greatest show on earth.
This year we were a man down from a two man team. This meant we couldn’t attend as many events as we were invited to attend (insert sad face). So we devised a strategy which we believe showed the range of fetes that TnT Carnival has to offer. We also gave preference to UK based promoters and people/businesses who support us throughout the years.
Here is our list of 13 events (including the carnival days) that we attended.
1. Army Fete
Army is the last ‘big band’ fete remaining in the week before carnival. Set in the Queen Park Savannah it sees approximately 20,000 revellers come through its doors. This year it had a great line-up consisting of:
- Roy Cape All Starts with acts such as Ricardo Drue, Blaxx and Teddyson John
- The Asylum Band with Bunji Garlin and Fayann Lyons
- Machel Montano and his band
- Terri Lyons
- Skinny Fabulous
- Peter Ram
- Ultimate Rejects
- and many more
Army Fete is haled as the safest fete for the carnival season and by all accounts it is (just watch your pockets for sticky fingers).
Check out this great write up from EBuzzTT.
2. Flight Cruise presents Bienvenidas
Celebrating it’s 10th year, Flight Cruise was up to it’s usual high standard. Set in Anchorage Beach Club this cooler fete was in the perfect location for a out and out soca fete. The turn out was smaller than previous years, but that made no difference to the flow of the event.
Flight Cruise always goes the extra mile and decorates the venue inline with their name. You’re greeted by ‘flight cruise personnel’ who check you in at ‘departures’. Shot girls then come around with shots (everyone loves shots). The stage is ‘arrivals’, where the djs and artists entertain.
If you’re in Trinidad a full week before carnival, then add this event to your list.
3. Pirate Parts
This is one of my favourite fetes for the season. Put on by Giselle D Wassi One and DJ Stephen, it happens on the same day as Machel Monday.
NOTE: It does not clash with Machel Monday as it is on earlier in the day.
Pirate Parts is a boat party. This is it’s second year. The clientele are mainly visitors to Trinidad, many coming from various different areas of the US. The one thing they all have in common is that they all know and love soca music. It could be back in times calypso or the latest hit, everyone on the boat is usually singing at the top of their lungs. This creates an amazing atmosphere which is (strangely enough) unique to the season. Pirate Parts is a hidden gem.
4. Pon De Grass
This annual event happens in the backyard of the promoter’s (Konata Alleyne) house, literally ‘Pon De Grass’. As such it has that backyard vibe to it, homely, friendly and safe. Being in the backyard does not mean the event is small. If you know Trinidad well you’ll understand when I say that the house is in St Clair (an area with large houses and Embassies).
There is a stage, great lighting set-up, awesome sounding audio and some of the biggest DJs:
- DJ Private Ryan
- The Musical Gods
- DJ Markee
- Shep Beats & Konata
The vibe is on a constant high. Revellers are encouraged to bring their own cooler of drinks, so there is no need to keep running to the bar, just reach down in your cooler.
5. UKSS Beachlime
This lime started 14/15 years ago with my cousins and I. We’d always go the beach and lime before and after carnival. One year (2013), we decided to post on social media that we’re going to the beach, not really expecting anyone to turn up. When we arrived at Maracas Bay, to our surprise, the vast majority of the UK TnT contingent were on the beach and so the UKSS Beachlime was officially born.
The lime is free and will always be free. We appreciate the cost of flights, accommodation, playing mas and fetes in Trinidad. We see it as an opportunity for anyone (not just people from the UK) to come, lime and have a good time without stressing your pockets. All you need to do is bring your cooler of drinks.
For the last 3 years we have managed to have music on the beach. In the last 2 years we have put a music truck on the beach to enhance the vibe.
People seem to love it, so make sure and put it on your calendar. It will always fall on the Wednesday before carnival.
Thank you to all who have supported and continue to support. The lime is growing, we’re seeing more UK and international faces. Who knows, maybe in the next 5 years we may take over the whole beach.
Shoutout to Prince Vern Promos and the Adrenaline team for their joint first event. Adrenaline is a boat ride with a difference. It leaves from a dock in Chaguaramas and goes ‘down the islands’. It gets to a bay on one of the islands where a large inflatable obstacle course is ready and waiting for all inclined to have a go on. Music pumps from the boat while you get to take a dip in the bay and try to conquer the course.
This is also a cooler event, so you can bring as much (or as little) alcohol as you want.
We were entertained by an international team consisting of:
- DJ Puffy
- Lurbz & Aswaad
- Salty & Akem
- Custodian International
7. Bright Colours Boatride TT
Guys, I think you’re gonna need a bigger boat. I’ve proudly watched this now sold out yearly event grow and grow. It is also a cooler boatride which is great (less bar runs). It happens on Carnival Friday, a day which has a great feel to it. The whole country gets more lively the closer it gets to carnival.
The clientele is mainly international with a sprinkling of Trinis. All the major international are either playing a set or they are on the boat having a ball. The vibes are full on from the dock til we return to the dock.
Bright Colours is a brand that is also at Miami Carnival and soon to appear in Ibiza at the Ibiza Soca Festival.
8. Soca Brainwash – Heaven
This event sold out in a day. Carnival Saturday has never been the same since DJ Private Ryan and the team put on their flagship event, Soca Brainwash. It’s an all inclusive event held in Fatima Grounds. This years theme was Heaven, which meant most people wore white and they came out to have a great time.
The vibe in Soca Brainwash is always good. The fete is in the day from 11am to 5/7pm, so if you arrive early you get a lot of time to sample the wide range of different food on offer and to try as many drinks as you can manage.
You’ll have to be very quick next year to get your tickets. If you’re in Trinidad for carnival, this is an event you don’t want to miss.
This is a new event for Trinidad put on by the International Island Boys. It’s an all inclusive pool party. The vibes were great. This event will grow into a monster, and it’s guaranteed to sell out for future years.
10. Binge – Beach + Cooler
This is another event put on by DJ Stephen and the team. It happens on Carnival Sunday (before j’ouvert). It’s situated on a beach, the stage is in the sea and it’s a cooler fete, a great combination.
As Dj Stephen is one of the most connected DJs on the scene you can expect many of his artists friends to pass through and that is exactly what they did. We saw:
- Dwag E Slaughter
- Skinny Fabulous
- Teddyson John
- Ricardo Drue
- Ricky T
Alongside the artists was an international line-up of DJs. DJ Jairo and Creex Mix from France represented well for Europe.
The crowd were in bikinis and broad shorts, their coolers were filled to the brim (not for long though). The vibes were great. A good warm up for j’ouvert or if you’re not playing j’ouvert this is a good fete to have as your last fete before the road.
11. Dirty Dozen J’ouvert
Run on by Konata Alleyene and the team, this was the best j’ouvert experience I’ve had in a long time. It started with a pre-party from 2am. Top DJ’s kept you pumping whilst you can sipped on rum punch, beer or soft drinks (all included in the package). At 4pm (or thereabouts) we hit the road. Charged and ready to go.
There were 2 music trucks, 4 drinks trucks (drinks flowing right through) and numerous paint/mud trucks.
We set off, turn a few corners, then the paint comes out. In what seems like a matter of minutes everyone is covered in paint. The vibes increased.
As the day starts to break, powder comes out. The vibes increased.
8:30am, I start to see mud come out. The vibes increased.
We return back to base and the water truck is turned on to cool us down. The vibes increased again.
Don’t miss this next year!
12. Carnival Monday
We had a late start Carnival Monday, due to the great time we had at j’ouvert. Whilst ducking from the sun we managed to capture a few bands passing by.
13. Carnival Tuesday
Rain, (heavy rain) means the day didn’t flow as we would have liked. We we’re in and out of shelter, making sure the camera equipment stayed dry.
The rain soured the vibes on the road a little as masqueraders who had spent a lot on their costumes knew that the pictures of them in a wet costume wouldn’t do them or the costume justice. However, this is Trinidad and this is carnival, rain can’t keep we down! People still had a great time. The road still had plenty vibes and we still managed to get some great shots.