Miami Carnival 2019 Review

As I sit here at my desk at work, all I can think about is, when is this carnival tabanca is going to end?

Miami carnival has passed and gone and I am still feeling the vibes weeks later.

My Miami Carnival weekend started on Friday when I joined the rest of the crew already in Miami. To start the bachannal, we decided to attend a Toronto staple fete that was making it's Miami debut, Soca or Die. We got there around 12:30, just as it seemed to get started. The venue was nice and big (we could use a space like this in Toronto). Because of the rain, the event wasn't packed but neither the less the place was still vibes. Performances from Nessa Preppy, Patrice Roberts, Lil Natty and Thunder, and the DJs kept the vibes going all night even if you were running from the rain. 

SATURDAY/ JOUVERT

The Crew and I decided on jumping with K-Paya Carnival and got their Carnival Day/Jouvert package with Red Antz Jouvert. We got to Jouvert around 11:30 am, so we missed breakfast, but from start to finish Red Antz Jouvert was pure vibes. They only had 1 drink truck which was a little annoying to get too through the crowd, but once you got your drink with either paint or powder in your hand it was non-stop no behaviour. The MCs and DJs kept the crowd going, they had a water truck and a foam truck that was spraying people down. Thank God I made breakfast that morning because we didn't leave until 3 pm.

We originally had planned on going to a foam fete Saturday night, but were too tired and decided on staying in.


SUNDAY/CARNIVAL DAY

This year was the year of me playing with first-year bands. First, it was Dream Carnival and now with K-Paya Carnival. K-Paya Carnival is part of the Red Antz Jouvert family, so even though it's the band's first year in the parade, the committee has been doing the logistics of things for years. 

One of the main reasons we decided on playing with K-Paya is because of their price. They are an affordable band promising a really good road experience for the amount of money you where paying, and if you know anything about the CAD dollar then you know we had to go where our little Canadian Dollars could stretch the most. Our Carnival Package included:

  • Jouvert Package

    • Bodysuit, T-Shirt or Tank

    • Mug, Rag and Whistle

    • Drinks Inclusive

    • Mini Backpack (no drawstring bag)

    • Breakfast

  • Carnival Costume- Fete After Fete section

    • Drinks Inclusive

    • Breakfast, Lunch

    • Sunglasses that go with the costume

    • Cup

  • Ticket to Endless Jam

For the money we spent I can't complain about what we got, especially since I was able to pay for everything all at the same time on their website.

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On Carnival Day we got to our truck around 12:30 and was able to grab breakfast, which was either Corn Soup, Saltfish Sandwiches or Egg and Ham Sandwiches. I chose Corn Soup. Once the truck started moving it was straight vibes. This year I'm starting to see the benefits of playing with smaller bands; unlike the bigger bands, you have space on the road to gwan bad. You were able to move freely without worrying about bumping into someone's feathers. Also, the drink truck was a breeze, K-Paya had alcoholic slushies, and champagne ready for you to grab and go, their staff was also great, handing out shots and walking around with champagne and rum punch ready to fill you up.

One thing I will say that Miami Carnival has that Caribana doesn't (along with a long list of other things) is the heat and humidity. Toronto can get hot and pretty humid, but Miami takes the cake, especially when you mix alcohol into it. Also, Stormers. Because Miami Carnival parade route is barricaded, the Stormers are behind the fences watching the masqueraders until they cross the judging stage. I heard that a lot of people don’t like this about Miami Carnival, but as someone who’s home town’s Caribbean carnival is notoriously known for having Stormers at the parade. I had no problem with it, it was quiet refreshing.

I'm going to be honest with y'all, I don't remember what song my section crossed the stage too. I'm pretty sure it was Famalay, but what I do remember is how organized the marshals were when it came time for everyone to get into their section.

What I really liked about Miami Carnival, is that after you cross the stage and are done with judging the trucks park up and everyone, Masqueraders and Stormers just party. Once I got my Veggie meal, which was a large take-out container filled with rice, callaloo and pumpkin and re-hydrated myself I joined the crowd. it was nice to party with everyone who was there and jump from truck to truck hearing Soca and Dancehall.

I understand why people storm Miami carnival, but

YOU SHOULD STILL PAY YOUR MONEY AND PLAY MAS!

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Saturday night, I went to Endless Jam, which was included in our carnival package. Honestly, I was disappointed in it. I don't know if the crowd was tired from being on the road all day, but they were so dead. I got there after 1 am and the performers didn't get on until 1:45/2 am. I was looking forward to seeing Problem Child, Motto and Mole perform, which they did not disappoint me with, but the crowd's energy just wasn't 100% there.

Miami Carnival is definitely one for the books and this surely won't be my last time attending.


OTHER VIEWS

“Miami Carnival was definitely one for the books! Now, I generally play Caribana in Toronto and I have an amazing time but this year my girls and I thought about shaking things up and doing Miami Carnival. Honestly, I didn’t have any expectations going into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect but my first Miami Carnival experience was AMAZING! Friday night I attended, SOD in Miami was amazing. I am a regular attendee at SOD in Toronto and Dr Jay (socaprince) once again did not fail me. The artist line up was outstanding and performances were lively. The next morning, Saturday, was Jouvert, my girls and I played with Red Antz Jouvert. The energy from start till finish was high, waistlines were pelting, drinks were serving, and drinks were being drunk, lemme tell you that!! The DJ’s sets kept the crowd moving and pumped up. Lastly, Sunday…. Carnival Sunday! My costume was beautiful as ever and fit me perfectly, I couldn’t wait to be on the road. My road experience with Kpaya was a 9/10! Vibes were high, DJ sets were amazing, drinks were flowing. They had slushies, mimosas, shots on the road and more. We had no stormers issues, we were able to pass judging with high energy levels and spirits, it was a very good experience. I can definitely say I enjoyed myself. Overall my Miami Carnival was probably a 9/10, I would definitely go again next year and do more fetes!”

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How was your Miami carnival experience?

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