In this episode I provide a brief recap of my experience at Bacchanalia Weekend 2020 in Trinidad. To compliment the podcast I’ve included a detailed blog post below!
I’m at the airport typing this right now. I just swallowed a scrumptious doubles and washed it down with an LLB (Lemon, Lime and Bitters). As I stuff my face, I can’t help but think about the absolutely amazing time I had this weekend. What better way to celebrate another year of life!
If you’re looking for a quick weekend pump in Trinidad without the wallet-crushing costs that carnival can bring, I highly recommend Bacchanalia Weekend. This was an expansion year for Jules and his Army. In addition to the already popular Bacchanal Road event, Caesar’s Army hosted two additional events to make for a well-rounded experience. When I attended Bacchanal Road in 2019 there weren’t any other events on the weekend line-up. So, when a little birdie told me that more was in the works for 2020 my eyes and ears were ready. When the official teaser info dropped for Caesar’s Army I was on my hands and knees praying that one of the events would be a dutty fete. The gods heard my prayers and answered! Hello Bacchanal Road Block and hey-hey-hey Bacchanal LED! Duttiness AND a glow-up road experience were on the way! As if things couldn’t get any better, the BeachHouse crew added BeachHouse on the Hill for the same weekend! Say what!? Now I get to be semi-bougie as well! Turn up!!! The only downfall was that all these add-on fetes were gonna make my #teamcarryon swag rhell difficult. Then, to add fuel to the fire, Yuplife announced a separate set of events for that weekend as well. What in the world was going on I thought. But, nuff talk… let’s just get into it.
Bacchanal Boat (YupLife)
The roomies and I stayed in South (San Fernando). So we needed to account for the additional travel time to a few of the events. Before I get into it, do me a favor and take a look at these images. Let me know what time you see.
If you see 11AM great, we’re on the same page… tell me why my peeps got to the dock minutes to 11AM and the folks at the gate had the nerve to say “oh y’all are clearly not from around here, boarding doesn’t begin until noon and we’re leaving closer to 1:30pm.” One big wet steupps. They are lucky we took that opportunity to grab some food and relax in the van. Once noon hit, we hopped out and proceeded to board.
As a seasoned veteran I don’t value fete cups like I used to back in the day. However, seeing as how I forgot my everyday cup back in NYC, I ain’ ga’ lie, I was looking forward to a cup from YupLife. I saw a big blue one on Instagram and got my hopes all the way up. But guess who didn’t give any cups out upon boarding. Yup…Yuplife. Big wet steupps again. They did pass out some complimentary chasers as we entered. Those came in handy for the apartment later on lol. Anyway, we secured one of the bar tables on the top deck and claimed our spot for the duration of the event. I was grateful for a respectable amount of wukkup space. The event was held on the beloved Harbour Master and the fete was noiiice!
We made a much needed pit stop that I thoroughly enjoyed and needed. Your girl was ready to pass the hell out from heat exhaustion, and there wasn’t a chair or bench in sight. So when they announced that everyone had to get off I was elated. I just wanted to sit my ass on the sand and let the water have its way with me. I don’t think other folks weren’t too pleased about the stop. Some ladies were complaining about the sand, others didn’t have the right shoes on and a number of them simply didn’t want to get off the boat. In my head I was like “y’all CLEARLY didn’t read their “how to prepare flyer…” To be fair, I looked at it like this: Same way promoters don’t trust patrons to arrive on time… is the same way patrons don’t trust promoters to tell the truth about what will take place at a fete. Bloop. Everybody fix unno selves! Long story short, my $37 was well spent on that cooler cruise, and I didn’t even indulge in the finger food they had, but it looked good and none of my peeps had any complaints so it’s all gravy!
Pros: Budget friendly, BYOB, snacks & shots
Cons: No cups (lol), false start time,
While I was on the cruise I was thinking to myself “I’m tired AF already, IDK if I’mma make it through this whole weekend.” I haven’t partied like that since St. Lucia, and I had no idea healing from surgery would have such an impact on my body. I was without a doubt concerned about my stamina for the remainder of the trip lol. We stopped on the Ave to get some nourishment after the boat ride. I bought, and destroyed THEEE best goat roti of all time. Hands down the best roti I’ve ever consumed in my 37 years of life. That shit hit different …let me tell you!
Bacchanal Road Block (Caesar’s Army)
Anyway, we caught a couple hours of zzzz, welcomed our late comer roomie Strictly Soca to the abode, then rolled back out to Port of Spain for de duttiness. We were all super excited for Road Block, and for good reason… Caesar and his army did NOT disappoint. I wasn’t in love with the location upon arrival, but, after a while it made sense. It was the perfect size for the smaller-than-usual crowd I was used to seeing at CA events. The paint made its way onto my clean body as I walked to the front of the stage to claim my land. There was NUFF space and the energy from the on-time feters was contagious. It didn’t take long for my sober-self to hop on the vibes train. Next thing I knew, kilos of powder start flying out of nowhere, full bottles of paint were being thrown into the crown and then gallons of water were knocking me TF out every 30 seconds. Dat is what you call JOUVERT! Lawd and when the sun came up…full on f*^kery. With all the madness going on I totally forgot artists were supposed to perform on stage. Lyrikal, Bunji and Fayann all graced us with their presence. Hell, I was so involved I didn’t even realize Ryan was spinning for the event.
My vibes started receding when the dutty elements were getting to be unbearable. People were doing the absolute most with the paint and powder, and I had nothing else to wipe my poor eyes with. Trust me, I was on the prowl for at least 1 free inch of dry fabric on any and everyone’s person. The water was helping at one point, however, it was like the men behind the pump was on a mission to take me out. Like 5 minutes guys! I just need 5 minutes without the shit being on tsunami status. I had to migrate to safe and element-free territory for the remaining 30 minutes of the fete. I watched and recorded all the crowd surfing from the sidelines.
Your girl was too excited to clean up! But I knew it wasn’t gonna be a one and done shower situation. As much as I scrubbed, I came out like I never went in LMAO. Whyyyyy are you like this Jules!? Pick a different powder supplier nuh man! Argggh!
Beach House on the Hill
I was excited about Beach House because I had never attended one of their events before. As a Trinidad carnival veteran on a budget, the fete just never made its way onto my itinerary. But… my time reach! Since we were staying in South, the venue was a speedy 5-minute drive away from our Airbnb. I was thankful for this because I needed every second of sleep after the Road Block shenanigans. The fete started at 2pm and we arrived around 4:15PM with nuff time to spare. Parking was super easy and the shuttles were nearby and ready for us to board. After a 3 minute ride we were at the entrance. As soon as we reached there were a group of melanated queens decked out in glittery gold gowns positioned and ready to bless our wrists with the shiny gold BH arm bands.
As we stepped beyond the tent, we were then reminded where we were by the huge, and ever popular Beach House sign at the top of the hill. You already know this turned into a whole photoshoot.
#Tip: If you arrive early you don’t have to fight for photo opportunities mid-fete.
Once we were inside we secured a bar table, got drinks (ginger ale for me) and filled our bellies. There were at least 7 tents with different cuisine options. I know the doubles lady was tired of seeing me. On my last mission for food I ended up with a “triples” LMAO. I was like “OH jackpot!” I was making my own concoction with items from various stations. Forget the usual tamarind and mango sauces…try sorrel slaw on yuh doubles…. AMAZING! *runs to look for sorrel slaw recipe*
Once our bellies were set it was time to shell down de place. We made our way to the front of the stage…which wasn’t a difficult task at all because the place wasn’t packed to the max. I’m now wondering if they hit their target goal for ticket purchases. Either way, I full-joyed myself and would certainly return. Swappi, Kes, Voice and Nadia blessed the stage and after their performances the crowd dispersed again. The end of this fete is honestly a blur…and no I wasn’t drinking lol.
All I know is, we got back in the house, did a quick change and headed to LED despite our reservations. In the right states of mind we should have kept our asses in the house LMAO. But nope…we had tickets, so we were going… sore feet and all.
Beach House was a prime example as to why I need NOT wear heels of any kind to fetes. I need to listen to spirit more often because my feet were screaming.
At any rate, I honestly don’t have much to say about LED because we were there all of 3 minutes. Okay, okay, no, were there for the last 2 hours (if that). From what I gathered, the event looked organized, people were having a great time and I didn’t hear any complaints lol. Shockingly, we caught Preedy’s performance inside the tunnel and did a few more chips around the stadium before making the struggle-drive back to San Fernando. I was too happy to get in the house, heat up a piece of KFC and plop down on the bed. I had to get my beauty rest for the grand finale!
I got up a few hours after LED to let Renee, our MUA in the house. She was early AF lol. The appointment was set for 10AM; however, she was catching a ride and said she’d arrived around 7AM. She already knew to make herself comfortable because I was certainly going back to sleep for at least an hour, so it was all good LOL. I wasn’t mad at her for making smart transportation moves. Do whatchu gotta do sis. Once I arose for real, I took a shower, made some revival tea (ginger crystals, emergen-C, oolong) and warmed up yet another piece of chicken from KFC bucket before I sat down in her chair.
I know some people were prolly like “why TF did Sha get her make-up done for this event?” Granted, it’s nunya damn biddness, but here’s why: It’s my muh-fugggin-burrfffday bihhh!!! But also, I have a whole brand to represent, so I’m going to take every opportunity to produce quality content. Plus, it’s a cheap ass weekend, I have a few dollars to spend on make-up so why not give my homegirl a chance to make a few dollars? Shine the light on her! She’s been holding me down since 2016.
Okay, so about this event. Shit was lit from the start. I knew going into this day that I wanted to arrive fairly on time. You know why? Because you have to get there and take advantage of all the goodies before the crowd. This is no secret. You want a picture in front of the sign without 10,000 people in the back? Get there on time. You want to be recorded in the video booth with your friends without waiting in line for an hour? Get there on time. It’s really not rocket science.
So many well captured moments taken before the trucks pulled off, all whilst jamming to the sweet sweet sounds of soca music. Once we got on the road the vibes continued straight through the end. I have no clue who was DJing. I also have no clue how the bars were flowing because I sipped on the same cup of warm punchy-punch for about 2 hours until I just tossed it for some ice water. But, no one said the bar buss, and my friends came back fairly quickly each time they went for a refill (which was often). They LOVED the fact that White Oak Coconut was on tap. LOL.
Once the sun went down shit turned up another notch. I didn’t even realize the stage was upon us. I heard the first 3 seconds of “Stage Gone Bad” start to play…I looked up at the shining Bacchanal Road sign and was like “OMG this is it! Stage time!” Then…I heard the voice and thought “oh shit! Iwer is here! T’ing stah’t!” We certainly “mashed it up, shelled it down and turned it ovah”… and ovah, and ovah, and ovah! That chune hit rhell different loud and live boy! I normally don’t get my way but I was like this song has to win ISM. And it did!
Lord knows I was too thrilled for that quality stage experience, especially after last years catastrophe (listen to the podcast to find out what happened lol). I was in an extreme happy place. Once we crossed the stage the trucks parked up and the shellings continued. It wouldn’t be a proper CA event without plenty food options. There were at least 5 different tents with an assortment of meals. I originally had a roti… but somehow that ended up on the ground, so I made love to a chicken and rice plate instead. About an hour after that… the DJ played Iwer one more time and pahty was done. The mas exodus out of the park had begun.
Shout out to Chris, the random stranger that brought the crew and I home. Best believe license plates and other images were taken and sent to loved ones in case we came up missing… lol. But we were 3 deep and could have taken he and his friend if it came to it. Y’all laughing I’m sure….but I’m serious though lol.
But to wrap this dissertation up. Bacchanal Road was awesome, and was far better than my 2019 experience (which was also great). Having more friends in attendance, more fete options and adjusting my movements made all the difference. And may I remind you that this was an alcohol-free experience for me (minus the 2 cups of punchy punch the whole weekend). If I had an amazing time sober that should tell you something. Before I go, here’s a lil insight into our schedule and the way things shaped up financially.
Until next time my loves! Thanks for tuning in!