Hey lovelies, can you believe the year is almost over?! Time is FLYING!
I know this post is late, but life happens.. Earlier this month, my bestie and I went to Miami for carnival, the first time for both of us. Who woulda thought? We enjoyed ourselves and were grateful to experience it in our 30s because we had money to really have a good experience. Not saying that you need to be rich to enjoy Miami carnival, especially since we didn’t play mas, but it’s a lot better knowing your decisions aren’t entirely based on your bank account. We went to experience it from the sidelines, see all the parties, and scope out the bands and costumes for Trinidad 2020. We booked our trip about 6 months ahead and ended up coming out ok on hotel and airfare. We stayed in South Beach to be away from the hustle and bustle and noise of the city. Plus, who doesn’t want to walk a block to the beach every day? We bought all of our party tickets about a week before. And after looking online for blogs and posts about what to expect in carnival, I realized that most of them were geared towards playing mas in carnival and not really what to expect as a bystander. So for those of you interested in what happens on the other side of the fence, you’re in the right spot! I didn’t take many pictures because I was too busy taking in all the experiences and wukkin up (no shame in my game!)
GDubs and I touched down in Miami from NYC around 11 Fri morning and checked into our hotel before heading to the beach. We had seen there were quite a few parties happening since Thurs night, but we figured starting on a Fri wasn’t bad. We started off the weekend going to Trade Miami for a glow party that ended up being anything but! The venue was cool and DJ Norie wasn’t bad.. but there wasn’t a glow theme at all. They also played hours of Hip Hop and Rap, not something we wanted to listen to on carnival weekend, especially not when the party was advertised as “Caribbean Glow.” We stayed for most of it before leaving in search of food.
Sat night we headed to Soca Brainwash and had a blast! Deff on the list for NY and MIA again. The Seaquarium offered great views and breeze. I heard from party goers that it was a much better venue than the zoo. So kudos to DJ Private Ryan. We ended up staying the whole night and vibin’ out. The only quibble we had was the giveaway at the end. Those shot glasses kind of a disappointment when we saw online that past Soca Brainwash gave out cups.
Now Sun for actual carnival. We missed Jouvert because unlike Brooklyn, it’s a morning affair at 7 am! Our old selves ain’t had time for that, so we slept in. We paid for VIP tickets since food and 4 alcoholic drinks were included, plus a dedicated seating area. As this was our first time and we had no idea what to expect, we figured this was the way to go. And boy was it worth it! $100 for the advanced VIP ticket vs $30 for advanced General Admission. The drinks alone made up for it, but the food was a good addition. Miami carnival is set up WAY WAY different than Brooklyn on di parkway! It’s on the fairgrounds and there are tons of food, drink, and flag vendors. There’s the main stage for the performances and the stage where the bands cross by the judges. If you are GA, then you can find a spot along the fence or fairgrounds to see the bands. For VIP there’s a section closer to the judging stage for food/drinks and seating. They started charging halfway through for juices and sodas even though they were supposed to be free because (I guess) they were running out and needed them for drink mixers.
The seating was a mixed bag. A lot of people came early and claimed seats under the shade, but there were tents for the food tables, plus some chairs out in the open. It wasn’t bad except for the passing rain showers. And the most important part – the nicer bathrooms. GA has porta potties, but VIP has the restroom trailer and staff on hand for regular cleaning. The official Miami Broward carnival page and social media outlets didn’t have much info up at all. They had the band line up and ticket/parking info up at most. There was no line up for the performances listed online or at the event site. Since we paid for VIP, we stayed mostly in that area to see all the bands. You do get a good look at everyone as they cross the stage, and are up close to hear the music. Once the bands were done crossing, which was early this year, we walked around the fairgrounds a bit and saw the band trucks parked up and everyone still jamming. We went by the main stage, but it was dying down around that time.
Parties are the main attraction much like Brooklyn. There were a few whine down Monday parties, but Tuesday when we were leaving, everything was kinda dead. Coming back on the plane it was funny to see the flight attendants perplexed with all the feather costumes and trying to accommodate them in overhead bins.
Make sure to plan ahead and buy fete tickets in advance, going VIP if you can. Decide how you want to split your time for carnival, whether bands or performances are more important so you can get the best spot to lime. If you’re going to Jouvert, pack things you don’t mind throwing away! I’ve seen the pictures and videos on social media and you get messy!! If you think its like Brooklyn Jouvert, ya wrong. It is easily 10x more fun and mess. Get all the latest Soca chunes on ya headphones and get used to hearing them a few hundred times over the weekend. Overall, don’t forget to have FUN! Vibes cyah done!