Coping Without Carnival


Have you ever found yourself in that space between your most recent carnival and the carnival that has yet to come? Whether it’s a one month gap or a six month gap, a void is STILL a void. No matter how many fetes come and go within that time, there is nothing like the glory of carnival season.

I currently find myself in a position where I have no clue when I’ll see my next carnival. Adulting is screaming my name and I dare not ignore its call. As much as I love carnival, this expensive addiction has to take a back seat to life’s continuous demands. Everyone is so used to me going away, so now when I say, “I’m not going anywhere for a while,” their faces drop like they just saw Jesus walking on water. Le sigh. My sis asked me the other day, “Shamair, what are you going to do?! You’re going to be miserable if you don’t travel. You’re making such a huge sacrifice.” She spoke the truth and posed a very interesting question. What was I going to do to fill this carnival void? Maybe we can figure this out together readers.

So far I’ve come up with the following budget-friendly stipulations for carnival junkies on sabbatical like myself:

Been There Done That

No matter how much you may love certain carnival scenes, make a “soft” vow to stay away from the carnivals you’ve already attended, especially if they’re overseas and you’ve been more than twice. For me this includes Trinidad and Barbados. If you really want to cut down, omit ANY carnival you’ve already been to. Welp! There goes Grenada and Jamaica; however, I must admit that I’m having a hard time letting go of Jamaica Carnival for 2017, so I’ll play that one by ear. Moving on…

Don’t Cross Oceans

There’s no question that the better carnivals are overseas; they are also more expensive. If you live in the U.S and haven’t been to any other carnival besides Miami get out there and explore. Do your research and see which carnival location will give you the best bang for your buck. Remember, just because you go for carnival and feting doesn’t mean you can’t do other things. Explore what each city has to offer. Be a tourist! If you really want to save on these kinds of trips, resist the urge to play mas. It’s okay to storm and be a spectator. Oftentimes it’s not really worth it anyway…just saying.

Establish Personal Feting Guidelines


Select your feting opportunities carefully, especially with the way that Brooklyn is set up nowadays. Instead of going to the same fetes year after year (with no improvements), try to invest in new fete concepts and give yourself a feting limit. For example, I’m only investing in one paid fete per month and will attend free fetes like “Vice” and “Nas’ Summer Rooftop Lime” when my schedule and mood allow for it. Set a fete budget for yourself as well. If there is any fete that costs more than $60 it will not see Sha. If any fete has “venue TBD” on the flyer it will not see Sha. There are positives and negatives to buying tickets super duper early and I’ve learned that it’s okay to wait a little bit…this is NOT Trinidad. If it sells out OH WELL. More money saved.

There’s More to Life Than Fetes


Invest your time and money into non-fete related events (whether cultural or not). If you’re on the East Coast there is never a dry weekend once Spring introduces itself. Find that one friend that is always active and ask them to keep you in the loop about anything on the rise even it they think you may not be interested. Join a group chat of sorts and see what everyone has planned. It doesn’t have to be carnival related. There are groups for Natural Hair Sista’s, Brotha’s with Beards, Mommy groups and so on. Shoot, take a scroll on Eventbrite and do a general search to see what’s going on in your area, and don’t forget Groupon! Bottom line, there’s always something to do, you just have to be open minded and willing to actively investigate.

Fellowship First…Fete Later

Whenever I think of my needs as a person I always envision myself being a SIM or a Tamagotchi (my fellow gamers know what I’m talking about lol). I’ve realized that I don’t need carnival as much as I need the camaraderie that comes with it. Thus, any opportunity I get to lime with like-minded individuals, take a lil wine and a lil sip satisfies my soul’s desires. Without fellowship my mood bar would be extremely low and I’d probably be near death lol. If you’re willing and able, host a few limes at your place and ask all guests for a monetary, libation or edible contribution. House limes haven’t failed me yet. TIME TO BREAK OUT THE TABOO!

Bottom line, there comes a time when we have to be responsible and put on our grown up pants. Unfortunate life events happen, bills always need paying and children must be taken care of (where applicable). We don’t want to be one of those people taking out loans to play mas and fete til we fall down. That’s insane! Carnivals and fetes aren’t going anywhere. If anything, they are becoming increasingly popular. Don’t let FOMO (fear of missing out) and peer pressure get the best of you; it’s okay to take a sabbatical every now and then. If your friends love you, they will understand. If they really want you to go they will pay all your expenses (Note: if you have friends like this please send them my way.) To those of you scaling down like me please share you sabbatical strategy below and any additional thoughts. I’d also like to hear about any free to low cost events that are on the rise. Let’s help each other get through this tabanca!

Thanks for reading, please comment and share!

Check Out My List of Upcoming Budget Friendly Events

These active links will take you directly to each website!

Curl Fest – June 26

Coney Island Reggae Beach Party –July 10, August 7, September 4

Vice After Work Thursday’s – Attic Rooftop and Lounge

Freesome Block Party Series

Ashely Stewart’s Rock the Block – July 16

Chicken and Beer – July 2

Nas’ Summer Rooftop Lime Pt. 1