Being in Antigua for carnival was a completely different experience than the times I’d visited for pure rest and relaxation. This carnival trip was a much needed escape for me and I’m so glad to have touched down in Wadadli for the festivities. My DMs have been flooded with many questions about my experience and I’m here to share a few key take-aways with you. Below you will find 5 Reasons to Love Antigua Carnival.
Easy-Breezy Fete Ticket Purchases
Many people are used to setting up multiple devices and smudging them with sage 5-minutes before tickets launch, in hopes that they’ll be one of the lucky ones to get through. Let me relieve some of that angst by informing you that as it stands, Antigua Carnival does not require such antics to purchase a fete ticket. Most fetes can be found on the TickeTing Events app. The app was extremely convenient because there was no need to damage any brain cells trying to remember which app or website was used to purchase a ticket. The unique thing about the TickeTing app is that all tickets must be presented from the app at the time of scanning; no screenshots allowed. On the brighter side of things, the app has the most official ticket transfer system I’ve encountered thus far. Someone else had to pick up my jouvert package for me and BAYBEEE… TickeTing did not come to play. They said we need their ID uploaded and their email address added to the app so we know it’s real – please and thanks LOL. Then they had the nerve to impress me further and send a confirmation email. I was like oh y’all are GOODT!
Whether on the road or in a fete, there was absolutely no question about where we were. If you’re looking for a carnival that stays true to itself, add Antigua to the list. I loved that every fete I attended was hosted by locals. Right now Antigua’s fete scene is still untouched by foreign promoters, and I love to see it. Add the Antiguan soca to the mix and BOOM…pure energy! Before I learned all the hot tunes all I could do was stand off to the side and smile as I watched all the locals jammin’ and singing along to tracks by artists like Ricardo Drue and Claudette Peters. Did the DJs play music from other Caribbean islands? Absolutely, but just understand that native Antiguan music was played…and the crowd got hype EVERY TIME!
Mas Band Flexibility
Similar to Grenada, St. Lucia and Trinidad, Antigua carnival has two days of mas. However, the unique thing that sets Antigua Carnival apart is that many of their mas bands offer masqueraders the flexibility to register for only one of the two days if they desire. If you have commitment issues like me and value the idea of having options, this would be the perfect solution! Mind you, I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity as I originally planned and am still vexed with myself about it. Admittedly, I punked out and didn’t have the energy to follow through LOL. My intention was to jump with Myst on Monday and play pretty mas with Insane Carnival on Tuesday. As I paraded through the streets on Tuesday I thought “wow, there seems to be more space today”, then I realized that there was a significant amount of people who only played mas on Monday…duh!
Late Road Starts
When I found out that I didn’t have to leave the house until early afternoon on Monday and Tuesday I was too amped okuuurt! Nothing compares to getting quality sleep before (and after) a long and action-packed day on the road. I deeply appreciated not having the sun beat down on me from the top of the morning straight through dinner. Biggup Antigua for prioritizing the health and wellness of their masqueraders! I appreciate your thoughtfulness!
The Big Finale
I’m not usually one to care for stage-crossings but….THIS ONE! First of all, I was shocked that we stayed in our sections practically the whole of Tuesday. When I peeped what was happening I was like “oh they are serious with these judging points”. Which I honestly didn’t mind because they kept me grounded to the purpose of being in costume. If memory serves, there were about two judging points during daylight hours. As the skies darkened I was mentally preparing myself for the return to the camp for dinner. To my surprise we were being directed into a place called “Carnival City” to cross the stage. I was like “Stage?! At this hour?!” Sure enough, we were lined up by section and the stands were full of spectators waiting to see the costume presentation for each band.
Crossing the stage was fun, but it was after my section crossed that really got me hooked. These people had the CLEAREST and the BIGGEST monitor on our side of the stadium that allowed us to see the other sections in our bands as they crossed. There was not one glitch or malfunction. From the audio-visuals to the announcers and the storytelling, everything was top notch. Anyone watching just had to appreciate the level of thoughtfulness they put into that production. Dey was ‘bout dey business!
The Antigua juice is going to stop here for now! Did I share anything that makes you excited to attend Antigua Carnival in the future? Let me know on my socials! For more on my Antigua Carnival 2023 adventures be sure to also tune into my YouTube channel and the T’ingz Nice podcast.
Happy carnival planning!