Bermuda is an island paradise off the North Carolina coast that I have always wanted to visit. When I learned that they had adopted carnival as part of their Heroes Weekend festivities, I was all in for participating. I mean, who can say no to carnival?
I decided only 3 weeks prior to going that I was going to do it - mostly, because my Bermudian friend was hosting me (Thanks, Moni!) and there was a great flight deal. I bought my fete tickets, registered to play mas with Party People Entertainment and bid my time as my excitement escalated.
Type: Cooler Fete
Caesar's Army, in partnership with Nova Mas International, brought this signature event to Bermuda shores. The monsoon nearly deterred us from going and when we got there, there was a major problem with the sound system, but all that was forgiven and forgotten when the vibes shot up. With the rain pouring down almost nonstop and mud on my toes, It had officially turned into a wet fete. No matter; I had my drinks in hand and friends who didn’t mind taking a bathe either. Shal Marshall and Ding Dong’s performances were amazing - they fed off the energy of the crowd and then increased it tenfold. Call me Sandra Ravers from now on because my Flairy is on pizzzzoint.
Will I go back?: Yasssssss. I had to give up my nice sandals because of the mud but this was my favorite fete of the weekend by far.
Price: Dependent on whether arriving by boat or land.
Right after Mai Tai, we got ready to get on a boat. Y’all, I stepped on that boat and got drunk within an hour. I don’t know if it was the combo of hunger, the hot sun and lack of sleep, but I was done. I was on chill mode for the entire thing - eating, liming and sleeping. I missed the lit party on the beach and barge. I didn’t even make it on my damn floatie 🤦🏾♀️ I heard the party SHOT though and the video evidence proved it. I was a tad bitter I missed it but I plan to return for a redo.
Will I go back?: Yes! Even though I missed the real turn up, I enjoyed the experience of boat hopping, swimming and making new friends.
The third party on Saturday was Euphoria. It was a drinks-inclusive event with soup on sale. I had been on the go since 4AM that morning with hardly any rest so suffice to say, my energy tank was nearly on E. It did not help that getting into the event was disorganized and a terrible hassle. By the time we got in, we had about two hours of party left.
Although getting drinks was tough, the music was varied and excellent and my energy picked up as the night ensued. Patrice Roberts’ performance was the icing on the cake for me. I had a good time overall.
Will I go back?: Maybe. It was fun but not very memorable.
After a relaxing Sunday morning and afternoon, we headed to Glow, an all-inclusive white party. The event was located in a lush park in Hamilton and the decor was beautiful. It felt like all of Bermuda and the international revellers were there. If you didn’t link up with people at Raft Up, this was the other party you were most likely to run into familiar faces. The first thing I did was grab some drinks and food and study people. What an interesting crowd.
It felt like quite the sophisticated lime until the sun went down. Maybe that’s when the liquor hit or you lose your inhibitions when you know people can’t really recognize you, but it became #TeamWhatNameBehavior after dark. Then Lyrikal took the stage 😍 De party lit! I had an amazing time.
Will I Go Back?: Unsure. I was not a fan of the food and the drink selection was not the best to me, so I am not sure it was worth the cost.
MAS WITH PARTY PEOPLE
I played mas with Party People Entertainment (PPE), the litty band in Bermuda. Because I decided to travel to Bermuda so late, I purchased the Survivor package, a.k.a. "t-shirt section".
Band Launch: I missed the launch. I was not actively paying attention to it, but kept Bermuda in my back pocket as a possibility for a summer carnival. PPE offered 3 sections this year, all with backline and frontline options. I checked out the costumes but to be honest, none of them really blew my mind, and that, I think was a factor in my late decision about Bermuda.
Registration: Very easy. I checked with the band to make sure they were still accepting registrations and once I got the "okay", I was able to purchase on their website. The process took me 5-10 minutes.
Communication: PPE was pretty communicative once I registered. They were available to answer all sorts of questions I had - mostly via Instagram direct message. They provided lots of information via social media and email as well.
Costume Pickup: I did not pick up my items myself - my friend did that. I provided my receipts, a letter of authorization and ID and she told me it was pretty seamless.
Costume: I loved the crop top I received. I was actually surprised at the excellent quality because I was expecting cheap, cotton or polyester material. It had good stretch and was pretty comfortable. I paired it with a holographic bikini, Carnivalista Sparkle tights and some wedge sneakers. I could not forego feathers, so I bought some wings online. Like how the look came together?
THE ROAD EXPERIENCE
We arrived on the road around 1PM just in time for snack time. Everyone looked lovely and tan and the energy was good. The lunch stop was in a large, open space where all the bands gathered together, occupying different sections of the park. Very communal and you get to admire all the costumes on display. I was legitimately hungry so I wish I got a full lunch at this point. The snack - a beef patty/meat pie - was not the best but it served as some sustenance.
Beware of Swizzle, Bermuda's unofficial national drink. I had two small bags and my head started spinning...in a good way. Good thing I did, because the bands are not authorized to provide liquor on the road. So this was our opportunity to drink up a little. You're allowed to bring your alcohol with you on the road though, so no need to stop the party at the rest stop. I was double-fisting with Appleton in one cup and Swizzle in the other. Thankfully, there were people passing out water on the road.
We soon got on the road and it was nonstop pump until last lap. Private Ryan, Ryan Sayeed, Back 2 Basics (and others I am missing) were the truck DJs and they did an amazing job collectively. Though there was lots of repetition -- mas guh have to stay here because I'm not going over deh any longer - I had a blast. They even played some dancehall which made me smile, and not just "Fling" and "Genna Bounce" okay! It was way too crowded in the middle, as expected, so I moved to the front to free up and dance.
There were stormers, but it was not overwhelming so I didn't mind them much.
It seemed like time zoomed by and before I knew it we were walking along Clearwater Beach and at the end of the road. I was looking forward to dinner but unfortunately, this was the worst rest stop food I have ever had. I do want to be clear though that it is not a reflection of Bermudian cuisine, but rather a poor catering decision on PPE's part. I hope they never use this caterer again. Luckily, there were stands with food on sale and I happily got some freshly fried fish. Again, all the bands congregated in the large park and you could meet up with old & new friends, associates and acquaintances who had been playing in other bands. There was a ton of seating, there were a couple of bars and you could take a dip in the ocean to cool down. What a perfect ending!
I had an amazing time in Bermuda. This country is absolutely lovely with the cleanest beaches I have ever been on, the people are so hospitable and kind and the carnival experience was the perfect balance of pace and relaxation. There is so much potential for growth, and Bermuda Heroes Weekend will continue to explode. I only wish I had stayed for an extra day or two to sightsee and enjoy more beach time.
If you are a carnival newbie and want to dip your toes in the water, I recommend Bermuda Heroes Weekend. I shall return!