Welcome to the Feteland! When they say Trinidad Carnival is the greatest show in the world, they aren't kidding. I experienced one week of nonstop feteing which culminated to two days of ultimate euphoria. This was what I signed up for and exactly what I got, and it was incredible.
The fetes are an important part of the Trinidad Carnival story and decoding which fetes to attend and which are worth your hard-earned money can be overwhelming. So here are my reviews of the fetes I attended. I hope it helps as you plan for 2019!
List of Fetes & J'ouvert
- Caesar's Army A.M.Beach
- Sunrise Breakfast Party
- Caesar's Army A.M.Bush
- Soca Brainwash
- Santimanitay J'ouvert
Average Price: $140
The Best Of It: Traditionally on a beach, the location for this fete changed this year and took place in a beach resort with pool access. Originally I was sad about this but that pool turned out to be the selling point of the fete. Once the drinks kicked in and I mustered the courage to get in the water, the vibes went to 120! The beach balls, floaties and swim-up bar were nice additional touches.
The Worst Of It: The food was blah. Perhaps it is because we arrived a little late (about 4 hours after the fete started) and perhaps we only got the leftovers but the little I had was disappointing. They had large servings; but just wish they tasted better.
Will I Go Back? Probably. I had a good time but it wasn't memorable.
Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Sunrise Breakfast Party
Average Price: $135
The Best Of It: EVERYTHING! I loved the location. It was a beautiful space with cobblestone tile and a natural vegetation canopy. I loved the souvenir cups and fans. The food was delicious! There was a wide variety of Jamaican food: jerk pork, jerk chicken, festival, mackerel, ackee and saltfish, callaloo, fish, curry goat. There were also doubles for those who wanted a bit of Trinidad & Tobago. The lines were not long and the portions were decent. I definitely had 4 servings of food.
Because Sunrise is marketed by Jamaican promoters, the music selection was varied. I love soca, but after hearing the same songs over and over again, it was a godsend to hear a little dancehall, even for only 20 minutes.
The Worst Of It: Not a damn thing.
Will I Go Back?: Without a doubt! Yes!
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Average Price: $140
The Best Of It: I mean...parking was easy? But really, the corn soup at the end of the fete was much-needed.
The Worst of It: This was my least favorite fete. I know that my energy going into it was a little low because I was frustrated by my costume pickup experience prior. BUT that aside, many things disappointed me about this fete. I did not like the location at all. I am used to outdoor fetes, and this was enclosed and claustrophobic for me. The food could have been better. The bar didn't have the drinks I wanted. Where was the Bailey's? No Hennessy?
Will I Go Back? Unlikely.
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Type: All-Inclusive Alternative J'Ouvert
Average Price: $140
The Best Of It: Vibes, Vibes. Listen. VIBES! From the moment we arrived, the energy was at its peak and stayed that way throughout. From the patrons being wotless, to the paint and water trucks spraying all over the crowd, it was the dirtiest I have ever been at a party.
The Worst of It: The shuttle service was HORRIBLE!!!! Getting to the general location of the fete was already a hassle due to traffic. Once we finally arrived, we realized we were still about 6km away from the actual bush the party was. This is when the nightmare continued. There were *supposed* to be shuttles taking us there but after standing around for about 20-25 minutes, we started walking. We were already late, so we didn't want to miss the fete waiting for these phantom shuttles. People were hitching rides with folks heading to the fete. We ended up in someone’s back trunk! Wtf?! Once we finally made it to the top of the hill, we realized there was a 2nd shuttle. That was another struggle but we finally made it on to a shuttle, though I had to perch on a lap. This dampened my entire experience.
Will I Go Back? I am very apprehensive due to the transportation issues, but the party shot! So it would depend on what my fete schedule looks like next time.
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Average Price: $160
The Best Of It: Everything!! When DJ Private Ryan first announced his "Wonderland" theme, I admit I was unsure about how it would turn out. I was impressed from the moment I walked through the gates. The decor was magical. I definitely felt like I was transported to a fantastical and imaginary place with cool props, beautiful people, wacky characters and amazing soca music! There were so many food stations. and it tasted amazing. I literally could have any drink I wanted. The venue was huuuuuge. Just when I thought I had explored everything, a new surprise popped up - like the cocunut station and the steel pan riddim section! I also enjoyed the extra pieces of entertainment, like the acrobat and moko jumbie. Money very well spent.
The Worst of It: NOTHING. I only wish I had arrived sooner and wish it lasted longer. I did not want it to end!
Will I Go Back? Absolutely!
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Type: Drinks-Inclusive J'ouvert
Average Price: $85
The Best Of It: Any party with paint makes me a happy girl! The added touches of folklore and history made the culture geek in me ecstatic! It is why we decided to add this j'ouvert literally 3 hours before we went. It was a little slow at first but when the first smattering of paint happened, it was showtime!
The Worst of It: The alcohol selection was limited. They did not have anything I wanted so I settled for White Oak all night. Not my favorite, to be honest. On equal par with that was the inconvenience of the location. Don't get me wrong, the plantation was beautiful. However, it was extremely far and could be a potential dealbreaker in the future.
Will I Go Back? Maybe.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Despite the minimal sleep and some average fetes, I had an amazing time! What were your favorite fetes for Trinidad Carnival this year? Tell me below!