“Oh lawd, the whole place mash up, mash up”, “It’s Savannah Grass”, “Bend ova, practice”. If you recognize any of these lyrics, it’s evident that you know at least a few of the 2019 soca songs or better yet, you’re a soca junkie. I am definitely not there as yet. I’ve always been a Dancehall Queen. However, last year, my friends convinced me to attend SUITS Bahamas and it was honestly the best party I had ever been to. Leading up to the event, I spent that entire week listening to DJ Private Ryan’s Soca Starter 2018; trying to learn as many songs as possible.
This year, I did not want to wait for the last minute to learn this season’s soca. I wanted to attend the fetes and even participate in Road Fever. Yes, ya girl went on the road! January came and my first event for the Carnival season was “HEIST” at Pirate’s of Nassau with my FFF Crew. This party was really good, the vibes were great, music was flowing — Shoutout to DJ Ovadose (my fave) was doing his thing and I even knew some of the 2019 songs. When “So Long” by Nadia Batson played I was living! During this month, Carnival bands started to launch and I was still unsure who I would play mas with. Many persons suggested Bahamas Masqueraders because they thought that they would be best for a first timer. Everyone kept saying how they were established and organized. Chale please. I considered Hypnotic Mas Band because their costumes looked so good. However, boy am I happy I didn’t. I intended on going to Masqueraders’ launch, but that didn’t happen. No worries though, I went to the Mas Camp and by February my deposit was paid. I decided on a Backline costume, just in case I did not like the costume or did not enjoy the experience. I wouldn’t have felt as though, I wasted a whole lot of money. My friends and I decided on the After-glow section or as Twitter users called it Green.
March came along and for the past two years, this was the beginning of the soca/ feteing season for me. I was hype and ready for the fetes. I wanted to start the bacchanal with my road buddies and band. One of my friends and I arrived to Masqueraders Band Camp about 10 pm for the Glow Fete. It was a powder and paint event, so we were ready to have fun. Unfortunately, that didn’t happened. We never got inside the fete. The entrance was mass confusion. People were being told after waiting in one area for over 20 minutes, that they were on the wrong line because this was the Exit area. By people, I definitely mean myself included. After being pushed and grabbed for about 45 minutes, with the line not even moving and no hope of ever getting inside, we decided to leave the chaos and wait to see if anyone we knew could expedite the process and help us. The entire process was so strange. We already had purchased our tickets and just needed them to be scanned. It was now 12:30 am and we were still waiting. I have never experienced such disorganization in attempting to get inside a party in my life. We left and my faith in my Mas Band had significantly decreased.
The month was coming to an end & I was so excited to be going on my first cruise soon. Have you read My First Cruise Experience as yet? If not, you should right after you’re done reading this post. Okay, let’s get back to Carnival time. After a disappointing experience at the Glow Fete, I was hoping for at least one amazing party for the season. Guess what, I found it at Hypnotic Mas’ Supa Soaka which was held on Jaws Beach. Just imagine, the beach, foam, soca music and beers. The vibes were exceptional. I sang and danced with my girls until the sun went down and lounged in the water until it was time to go home. I had so much fun.
I didn’t go to any events in April, so we’re fast forwarding straight to May. Well April 30th was costume pick up day and that was a process. Pick up instructions were simple, bring a form of identification and your receipt. I had everything and I still waited for over an hour. To make a long story short, they couldn’t find their copy of my receipt and asked for mine to have it copied. I don’t know where the copy machine was or what was taking so long, but that took about 20 minutes. The person gave me back my receipt and I waited thinking someone would be going for my costume shortly. After another 20 minutes passed, my uncle and former manager came to my rescue and took matters into their hands and went in search of my costume. It was then realized that no one was ever instructed to get my costume and it was still not even packaged. I can’t make this stuff up. I finally got my costume and saw that I was missing a few feathers; that was fixed immediately though, which was good.
May 4th, I woke up at 6:30 am to get my hair done and was supposed to be at my friend’s house for 8. My Girls’ Night crew had decided to get ready together. This morning was so long though. Thankfully, souse and mimosas were waiting for us. We started getting ready after 10. It was a house filled with about 11 women, costumes, feathers, make up, sunscreen and body lava were everywhere. I really appreciated this experience though. We all tried to get the other ready, looking and feeling amazing for the road, despite all the challenges that we faced leading up to this day. The Masquerader gals headed to the road about 12:50 pm, yes the march had already started but we caught up with our band really quickly. There we were, on the road. It was a beautiful sight to see, feathers ranging in various sizes; green, pink, orange, blue, purple, white covered the streets of New Providence. Marshalls were giving out snacks and waters which, I thought was great. The drink process though was so annoying. Firstly, the trucks were too high. I’m 5 foot 1.5 and just to reach the top to order a drink I had to stretch my arms all the way up, almost on my tip toes. There were about maybe 7 servers on a truck (there were only 2) expected to serve hundreds of people. With that already being a difficult task, there were no announcements on when the trucks would start moving again. I watched persons literally run on the side of the trucks trying to order a drink. I ended up having only one drink and losing my friends in the process.
While walking through the streets by myself, I met some friendly people who thought I looked so amazing and wanted to take photos with me. Talk about boosting a girl’s self confidence. After reuniting with my friends, we were determined to have a fun time together. At least, we really tried to. Three things really had me annoyed the majority of the parade though. Firstly, there were absolutely no security bars or anything separating the actual carnival goers from the spectators or should I say “participants”, because they were in the streets and in the middle of the parade like they paid hundreds of dollars to play mas. They were saying whatever they wanted, grabbing whatever they wanted and just being nuisances. Aside from the “stormers” being annoying, there were the mid and front line feathers. I think that feathers are absolutely beautiful and really enhance a costume but they really aren’t meant for the parade, especially not with roads so small. I literally was running ahead every time Eclipse (Bahamas Masqueraders’ Pink and Black section) came close. It was either run to the front or get continually slapped in the face with enormous feathers. Lastly, I heard the same 10 songs play the entire march. Yes, I was on the road from about 1pm to 8pm and literally heard the same songs over and over. This may be because I was closer to a particular music truck during the parade, but even then the music should have been better. On another note, the carnival route is super long, surprisingly I made it and didn’t pass out. My endurance had me like, “Okay girl, you did that”. I had some good moments and I am content with my decision in participating in the road march this year. The experience wasn’t entirely horrible for me, but I’m not sure if I would ever do it again. Some things aren’t for everyone and this may just be one of those things that isn’t for me. I did get some nice photos though.
I ended off the Carnival season the best way I knew how. On a boat, cruising Nassau harbour with foam, powder, water, drinks and some of my closest friends. SUITS Bahamas 2019 was phenomenal and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.
Special shout outs to The Wine Down podcast for having me for a two part Carnival series to discuss my expectations and experience. I really had a great time. Click the links to listen to both pods Roadginity and We left it all on the road. Enjoy!