Well I definitely didn’t think I would be writing to you this soon about my Carnival in Jamaica escapades. In light of all that is taking place in the JA planning world I feel it’s only right to give you the scoop from a “commoner’s” perspective. If you recall from my 2016 JA post, I mentioned that planning for Jamaica Carnival was the simplest thing ever. It was drama free and painless. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same thing for 2017. Many JA Carnival virgins are upset with us veterans because we “sold them a dream”. They were under the impression that Jamaica Carnival was easy to plan, inexpensive and different from T&T. Friends, this WAS the case (a strong emphasis on the word “was”).
Moving forward, I think it’s imperative that JA carnival veterans use a serious disclaimer whenever responding to a newbie’s question. As I’ve told my newbies, “I cannot be held liable for any changes made to this carnival in 2017” period lol. #CoverYuhTail
It really does suck that the experience is changing because in the eyes of JA Carnival vets it was d*$m near perfect. We knew that there was room for growth but we just weren’t expecting such rapid movement. I’ve provided a few tables to give you a proper visual of how things have evolved. As I am far from perfect, there may be some items missing that I don’t know about lol. All items shown in green are NEW for 2017.
Last year we were able to purchase fete tickets without worrying about most parties overlapping. This year it’s the complete opposite. FIVE popular fetes on the same day?! Who’s idea was this? It’s a planning nightmare. Long gone are the days where you could fete with your whole crew day after day. Now, you either have to split up or take a vote on which fete attend because being in everything is NOT an option. I’m just going to sip some tea here but the amount of fetes hosted by JA promoters (without partnerships) are clearly outnumbered by those coming from across the waters. #IJS
Prices have gone up for most events, which was to be expected. But, there are first time fetes coming to JA with price tags that many veterans are just not in the mood to pay. We have become accustomed to drinks inclusive fetes being in the $40 range and all inclusive fetes maxing at $95 for early bird (fees included). I feel sorry for the poor souls who just came back from TT. Less than a week after their return JA fetes tickets were dropping like hot Bajan fish cakes. LAWD!
In addition to the prices going up, many of these new events require committee approval. Why? I do not know. This has been another headache and the reason for quite a few chat-based debates. No matter how unfair it may seem, it’s the only way to get through (GT) for some events. If you’re disgusted by the committee member process the only thing you can do is opt-out and attend a different fete. #SipsMoreTea
Let’s talk about the road shall we? We were blessed with ONE beautiful band last year with numerous sections on the SAME route. As a spectator or member of “Stormer’s International” this was “bess” because people didn’t have to chase down another band to macco the vibes and costumes. As a masquerader it was ideal because you and your crew were able to bounce up together in different costumes without having to worry about separation.
As you can see from the table above, there are now FOUR bands on the road. Each of these bands will have a separate route. UGH! This hurts my soul. I’m sure there are logical reasons behind this decision; but overall, we’re not too happy about this. As a masquerader I personally want to see what the other bands are like. I want to be able to do a thorough investigation of costume construction, masquerader vibes and DJ skills. I want to be able to do this in a manner that does not take away from my overall experience. Now, it seems that I may have to take time from my band to go and hunt down three others. #ProbablyNotGonnaHappen.
I won’t lie, those who skipped the 2016 JA experience probably missed out on the last authentic year of Carnival in Jamaica. While we vets are not too thrilled about the changes, a time WILL be had regardless. All of these changes may not be ideal for us but it is great for Jamaica as a country. I just hope that the “mad fete dash” to JA from our promoter friends hailing from “other” countries will actually help JA reap much of the benefits and not the other way around #SipsTea.
So lets leave on a positive note. Here are the reasons why the above mentioned changes are GOOD:
More Fetes: Those who didn’t like to have so much down time now have additional places to party. Granted, it will likely be a cooler fete or boat ride but still, an option nonetheless #NoShade.
More Costume Variety: The increase in Mas Bands has created more wallet-friendly costume options for those who were not ready to pay the big bucks.
More Space: Let’s be honest, the more fetes that overlap means patrons will have more space to move, shorter lines and more food for themselves (not that any fete was ever over crowded to begin with) but this is still something to celebrate! LOL #IJS.
This trip is anticipated to be one for the books. I’m eager to see how all of this pans out and wish all those in the “fete-marathon” Godspeed (my itinerary is below). To the promoters: May your planning be precise and your fetes be successful! There are a great deal of loyal patrons out there expecting your absolute best. So if you’re coming from across the waters, please bring you A+ game. #TheNewbiesAreCountingOnYou #WeJammingStill
I’m dying to hear from all my readers so PLEASE comment below so we can get this conversation started. Let’s hear what you have to say! Comment, share and subscribe!
See you in JA!