GRENADA CARNIVAL (SPICEMAS) 2019: FETE REVIEWS

GRENADA CARNIVAL (SPICEMAS) 2019: FETE REVIEWS

I shared about my mas experience in Grenada but the highlight of Spicemas was the events, particularly jouvert!

I was in Grenada for about a week and had a very steady balance of parties, fetes and adventure. The fetes started off okay to exceeding my expectations, and I am sure it was a combination of music, vibes and intentional non-comparison to other canivals.

Spicemas is raw, gritty and pure and I don’t want it to change! I loved feeling the build up of anticipation among the populace, witnessing the involvement of all persons from young to old and just seeing everyone come together. Spicemas, I miss thee and I will return.

List of Fetes & Events

  1. Waggy T Premium All Inclusive

  2. Savvi

  3. Soca Monarch

  4. Bikini Cruise

  5. Binge

  6. Biggest White

  7. J’ouvert

WAGGY T PREMIUM ALL INCLUSIVE

Type: All Inclusive

Average Price: $110

Location: Tanteen Recreational Park

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The Best Of It: I walked into this event not quite knowing what to expect other than that there will be food and premium liquor. An open field venue was beautifully transformed with Grecian and seaside motifs and decor. With food lining the left side of the space and drinks on the right, a stage at the front and a glam station towards the back, it was a cute setup. I got my liquor’s worth with champagne, (lots of) rum and Hennessy - none of which ran out. The food that I had was pretty good too, but eventually the lines grew long so I did not eat as much as I would have wanted to.

The highlight of the night was Ravi B, Nisha B and the Karma band who performed a slew of popular Trini soca songs and hyped up the crowd. I appreciate artists who can sing and perform energetically. Other artists performed - V’ghn, Shortpree, Lil Natty & Thunda, Skinny Banton, Inspector, Skinny Fabulous and maybe more I may have missed? Overall, it was a decent event, but not one I would be rushing to attend again.

The Worst Of It: Perhaps I arrived at the party late, but where was the DJ? It seemed like the focus, in regards to entertainment, was the artist performances and not enough on music for the pleasure of dancing. I felt as though as soon as the clock struck 11, they brought the artists out one by one and the parade did not end until 2AM, and by that point I was bored and ready to go home, even though I wasn’t tired.

The crowd was quite reserved. Again, it may have been due to the above - not having a DJ or hype man - but most people seemed subdued (read: sober) and too calm.

Certain food stations ran out and I feel like food should just not be running out at an all-inclusive event.

Will I go back? Maybe, but when I go back to Grenada I would rather check out another fete.

RATING: 3/5

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SAVVI COOLER FETE

Type: Cooler Fete

Average Price: $40

Location: BeachHouse Restaurant

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The Best Of It: I had such a good time at this fete, and it was the one with the least expectations. First of all, it was at this fete I had my first and only serving of oil down on the whole island of Grenada. Can you believe it? Thanks goodness for this because I would have been so sad to have left Grenada not having a taste of their national dish.

This was a small, intimate cooler fete that was full of people who came to party. Though it was on a beach, I may have been one of, if not the only, person with full swimwear.

The DJs did a great job hyping up the crowd and playing a steady stream of Grenadian soca (this was kind of lacking the day before) so I was excited. There were local and international DJs, Patrick the Hype Man was there to get the party started; the drinks were flowing, the patrons were jamming and the perspiration…oh my, it was really hot.

The Worst Of It: It was HOT. I think it was due the small size of the area most of the people were. Though we were outside on the beach, there were several trees in the area and people were pretty packed. With all the dancing, I was dripping in sweat.

Will I go back? Absolutely!

RATING: 4.5/5

SOCA MONARCH

Type: Concert event/competition

Average Price: $25

Location: Grenada National Stadium

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The Best Of It: I left Savvi before it was over in order to get to Soca Monarch. We missed a bulk of the performers (womp!) and arrived about halfway through the Power Soca segment. As soon as I got there, the energy….THE ENERGY!!! Mussi all of Grenada that was there because the stadium was packed from the nosebleeds to the bleachers, all the way to the top.

The artists I saw went all out - from their outfits to grand props to stage presence to encouraging crowd participation to fireworks and actual fire (baygon and lighters!), it was exhilaration on one trillion! Some of my friends were in the thick of things in the crowd, I calmly stayed in the back because, to be honest, I was nervous I was going to lose everyone. I totally got sucked into the spirit of the event, rooting for my favorite artists and waving my little flag with the rest of them.

The food at the stadium was surprisingly goooooood….that fried chicken was the best I had on the whole island. The way I got upset when it was knocked out of my hand mid bite, eh.

We stayed until the end and saw Mr. Killa perform as we waited for the results. People in the stands were tired but the energy upfront was still going…..this was past 3am at this point. Grenadians don’t know what sleep is!!

The Worst Of It: Nothing really. I would say I was surprised about the minimal security measures at the stadium. I know Grenada is supposed to be very safe but I still felt a little uncomfortable going into such a large space with a huge crowd and not being searched. I i guess I have been in America too long.

Will I go back? Definitely. You BETTER add it to your list of required Spicemas events.

RATING: 4/5

BIKINI CRUISE

Type: VIP Drinks Inclusive boat cruise

Average Price: $80

Location: The Rhum Runner II, The Carenage

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The Best Of It: Might this have been the best boat party I have ever been to…perhaps rivaling SSA St. Lucia 2019? We had heard great things about this fete, and after hearing it was going to be the very last Bikini Cruise by Summercrew as we knew it, I made sure I attended.

The bartenders were heavy handed and quick, just how I like them. By the way, they were the same bartenders from the Waggy Fete so I already knew I was going to be lit. With the food we were able to bring on board, I had a time and three-quarters at this fete, I didn’t care about the drink spillage from the other feterans all over me when they called on us to unite in “Black Power”.

There were 3 boats, and I was a part of the VIP boat which was all inclusive with premium liquor (that did NOT run out!) and had a good number of people. It was extremely hot and sunny so most people were in the main deck on the lower level. We had International Stephen on our boat who spun the chunes we wanted to hear all afternoon long. We definitely had the boat rocking.

Docking on the beach was a good time, but because we left late it was short. There was the option to stay on the beach to relax or for Binge, or to return back to the Carenage on the boat. We opted to stay since Binge was free. So glad I got to frolic in the sun and water.

The Worst Of It: The boarding process was annoying. As with most boat fetes, the boarding process started late. Folks who were there on time were told to scan their tickets, get a wristband and wait to walk onto the boat when called.However, this was not well-communicated as latecomers (such as myself) only learned of this process through friends. Therefore, when boarding began, there were several people who had not received the memo. Therefore, scanning was being done upon entry onto the boat. It was a waste of time…and when I tell you the sun was HOT. I was not pleased standing in line in that heat.

PS. I am high key still waiting for my t-shirt that was supposed to be part of the VIP package LOL.

Will I go back? Unfortunately, this was the last Bikini Cruise fete by Summercrew. I’d be interested to see with what/if the promoters replace it. If it comes back, hell yeah.

RATING: 4.5/5

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BINGE

Type: Cooler beach fete

Average Price: $20 USD; Free for Fleet and Bikini Cruise patrons

Location: BBC Beach

The Best Of It: After getting some much needed beach time, we went to Binge. It was a stand-alone fete, but really a free after party for the patrons of Bikini Cruise and Fleet Cruise. It was small and took a while to rev up, but there were the energized people and the folks on the sidelines. The vibes depended on who you were with.

There was food available to patrons of Bikini Cruise (I don’t know about Fleet) - we just had to give over our wristbands to receive a box. Grenadians LOVE some chicken and chips (or macaroni pie) during carnival lawd. It was just okay.

The Worst Of It: There was nothing terrible about it. It was a cool segue into the next event, but not very memorable for me. Perhaps it is because the cruise was just so good, or perhaps it was crazy hot and all the drinking had me dehydrated. I did not have much energy and I was ready to go home a couple of hours later.

Will I go back? Unlikely.

RATING: 2.5/5

BIGGEST WHITE

Type: All white concert event

Average Price: $25

Location: Grenada National Stadium

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The Best Of It: West Indians love a white party, white boat ride, white baby shower, white costume (LOL), so a white concert was right up the alley! I’m not West Indian, but I too, love an all-white event - it is cliche but bring unity and can also showcase some creativity. Most people looked lovely with their white/cream/off-white/slate/grey/stripes and checkers and the sea was just something to marvel at.

The Stadium was not as packed this time around. We made our way towards the front of the General Admission area and watched the performances. Machel Montano was the main act with most of the Grenadian artists performing before him. This may have been the very best Machel Montano show I have ever been to (and I have been to quite a few). He really put on a show and I was impressed by his stamina as we heard our favourite hits as dawn set in.

After his performance were a couple more artists and then it was fete time. We had a tour excursion to get to so we left without seeing Boyzie, but it was a good time.

The Worst Of It: Again, it was great seeing Machel for the millionth time but I could have slept in or taken the long trek to Pure White instead.

Will I go back? I don’t know…will likely try out Pure White.

RATING: 3.75/5

J’OUVERT

J’ouvert.

J’ouvertttttt.

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J’ouvert is fun. But J’ouvert in Grenada is beyond; it is an out of body experience everyone has to take part in at least once in their lifetime. J’ouvert morning was the signature event of Spicemas and if you missed it, W E L P. I mean, were you even in Grenada for carnival? No… that black powder fete you’ve been to is NOT the same thing!

Jab Jab is not for the weak-minded or faint-hearted. You will see some things that may scare you, freak you out, intimidate you, make you awestruck and give you pause. You will have several, “WTF! Did I just see that?” moments, but you will make it out in one piece and have the absolute time of your life!

There was an option to officially join a band and pay a little change for a bottle of “ole oil”; however, we were told j’ouvert in Grenada was free for all to participate and indeed it was. With my pure rum in my bottle, we headed out to the carbon streets with trepidation and excitement.

A typical scene at 4AM: Brown skin doused in black oil; cow chains dragging on the road while carrying a pig head, revellers with scary masks and goat horns on their heads while blowing into conch shells and beating drums; pores sweating and skin rubbing; no barriers; you may see a rolling tire or a baby stroller; you may even see a coffin. All of this is compounded by the guttural rhythms of jab jab soca as you feel a spirit of freedom lift and grow emboldened.

I felt as if I was in another world.

I felt the essence of Grenadian culture rooted in a deep history.

I truly felt like I was one with my ancestors and familial spirits.

People came with bottles,large jugs and buckets of oil; some threw it out towards the crowd with rags, most covered themselves with it. Everyone was willing to share their oil, we just had to ask. There was enough to go around.

When I say oil, I don’t mean your typical cooking grease. I am talking about that black, engine oil, Mobil, Valvoline, Pennzoil, you name it. Is it bad for your skin - I can 100% guarantee it; but since it is only once (or twice) a year, why not? The feeling and effect with the charcoal powder was just not the same.

The vibes with Blue Devils (Carib) j’ouvert band was besssss and it was only fitting that we won for J’ouvert Band of the Year.

My parting words: if you go to Grenada just for j’ouvert, you have done Spicemas right.

What was your experience like? Did you attend any other fetes not listed? Tell me!

Until the next carnival,

Sandra 🖤