2016 was a rough year for fete planners! This year’s music didn’t have the high energy road marches and timeless tunes we’ve had in previous years, so fetes really had to bring it when it came to quality, food, activities, and DJs that can turn up a party regardless of the music.
My crew took it easy this year and only did 6 fetes (ha!), and while everybody had their favorites, there were some clear winners that we’ll definitely be hitting next year! Here’s the run down on where you and your crew need to hit in 2017.
The Caesar’s Army crew has taken their fetes to another level, with unique experiences and fun features at every event. A.M. Bush was by far the most highly anticipated event of 2016. It’s essentially a J’ouvert in the middle of the woods, with super-bright powder and a level of energy that makes absolutely no sense at 4:00 AM! While they rarely announce performances in advance, here’s how they get you. After playing ride-em cowboy in mid-air with some paint-covered cutie, you’ll climb down head to head to the drink truck for a refill. As you walk over you suddenly sober up long enough to realize…..wait….that’s not a record….that’s Machel Montano singing live from the side of the DJ truck!
But wait, it gets better. This wildnerness parade on steroids leads you to an adult playground, complete with massive water slides, bouncy houses, and plenty of food to soak up all the liquor you’ve managed to consume before 8 AM! If this is the only fete for your day, I highly suggest sticking around to enjoy the post-parade festivities (and at the very least wash off some of the paint/powder before you’re on the road looking like Rainbow Brite.)
The only reason this fete isn’t higher on the list is because it suffered from over-hype this year. The way people were ready to sell off their children for tickets you’d think Jesus was making a special appearance! There were “sections” like a real band, but on the road none of that actually mattered, and they over-sold tickets to the point where many people (including much of my crew) weren’t able to even pick up the tickets they paid for. My advice for 2017 is to buy tickets as soon as they go on sale, pick them up the first day possible in Trinidad, pre-game on your way there, and be ready to have one of the wildest experiences you can get at carnival!
#2: Caesar’s Army AM Beach
Posted by Brooklyn Travel Addict on Wednesday, February 24, 2016
I’m a sucker for a good beach party and this new fete by the Caesar’s Army crew sets the bar pretty high! When we arrived around 5 AM it was oddly chilly by the water, and the check-in process was painfully long. But as an event planner I applauded them for getting the positive vibes going as soon as you cleared the entrance. There were girls eagerly handing out Fireball Whiskey shots right when you walked in, and the next thing you saw after that was 3-4 food tents with food already being served.
Every detail from the cute plastic mason jars for your drinks, to a well stocked, clean bathroom was very well thought out. Why does that bathroom matter you ask? Because at carnival the bathroom is usually a collection of barely stocked porta-potties and maybe a sink. And women can be…just…..why, Jesus? So the fact that I could get Kleenex, hand sanitizer, Listerine, deodorant, bug spray, lotion, bobby pins and a million other amenities was definitely appreciated!
Once the sun rose their performances started, taking the vibes to a whole new level! The crowd was treated to a mini-concert, featuring tunes by Bunji Garlin (“Take Over Town“), Salty & Fay Ann Lyons (“Gyal Meets Brass” a.k.a. Rock It), GBM Nutron (“Scene”), & Omi (“Cheerleader”). Each performance was the perfect length to keep the crowd hype, and despite there being thousands of people there, it somehow felt intimate.
My only regret was not staying longer enjoy the beach once the party wound down (we were headed to Beach House immediately afterward), so my advice for 2017 is to come early, stay late and get a 2-in-one fete and beach day afterwards!
#1: DJ Private Ryan’s Soca Brainwash
I went to this fete with fairly low expectations. I hadn’t heard much about it other than “it was good last year” and that’s it. But believe me when I tell you, this is a fete not to be missed in 2017! It’s sexy, chic, and lit all at the same time, and it takes a good team to curate this type of experience. The fun started as soon as you walked in with a neon graffiti wall you could tag, a photo booth, and a sunscreen station sponsored by Neutrogena (a good look cause the sun was on slavery that day).
The food selection was by far the best next to Beach House (which is hard to beat), with at least 10 different tents to choose from. They even had a “Game Zone” where you could play Twister, battle people in a life-sized Jenga, and try hula hooping while tipsy (inevitable failure and giggles).
Despite the 50-11 other things going on, the real action was under the brightly colored banners in the center of the field. By the time most people had arrived, DJ Back to Basics was DJing which is a hell of an opener as far as vibes go. So by the time Private Ryan took the turntables, the energy was on 100 trillion and folks were beside themselves. On top of being great DJ’s this team had an awesome crew of “hype men,” so they were able to keep the energy high for hours. As if this wasn’t enough, the closed out the event with a confetti drop and beach balls, and by the looks on people’s faces you’d think they’d died and gone to soca heaven.
If you’re one of the many professionals who can only sneak in late Friday and catch a few fetes before Monday, make sure Soca Brainwash is on your list. At $138 it’s still expensive like many of the other all-inclusive fetes at carnival, but this one is absolutely worth the money!
Did you hit Trinidad for carnival this year? What’s your top 3? Let us know in the comments below!