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Soca Xtreme 10 10 10 (Houston)
Soca Xtreme 10 10 10

July 7th, 2012
Climaxx 2012 (Houston)
Climaxx 2012

July 7th, 2012
Ultra GLO 2012 (Houston)
Ultra GLO 2012

July 5th, 2012

Houston… You Are Clear for Take-off!

As I am flying with AirTran enjoying my new 'A + Elite' status, I'm looking through the window and staring down on the clouds below, mentally searching for the perfect line to start my round-up of Houston Caribfest 2012. After 30 minutes, the best thing I could come up with is (by the way, it may sound as if you've heard it before but it is ALL mine!) ... "The only thing better than the last one... is the next one."

Now, how applicable is this to Houston's Caribfest you may ask? Well it's simple. If you have a car that's okay but needs work, a few kinks need fixing, but you decide to get a new one ... would you get one in the same condition? NO! You will get a better one! If you own a pair of shoes that you call your favorite, and it is down to the sole…you may buy a new one, and I'm sure it will be better than the last right? And if, just if, you have a girlfiend/boyfriend that giving trouble, and you have to get rid of their backside ... would you get someone just like the last pain? Nope.... you will search for ways to get a better one; a new partner, a best friend, a funnier, better looking one ... one that is all for you ... better than the last one. Am I right??

So if you have a festival, a party/fete, an event one year and you want to do better, you want it to succeed all others so far, you want to blow it out of the water, you want people to talk about it not for days, but for years ... then, all you need to do is say, "The only thing better than the last one… is the next one" and go out there and make it happen! And this is exactly what Patrick, Nadine and the entire Houston Caribfest Committee collectively did ... making the 2012 Houston Caribfest better than the last one!! And considering the ball we had last year, who would think that 2012 could top 2011?


This year, Team TJJ Houston (Stephen, Jevan, Chardelle and myself) made the trek one day earlier kicking things off on the Carnival Wednesday. From the airport, we grabbed a bite from the infamous 'Cool Runnings' restaurant (try the Oxtail and Stew chicken combo, with fruit punch ... bess). While waiting on the food, I popped my head out the restaurant for a moment, only to see a long line infront Tata's African Imports and Caribbean Gifts. After inquiring, we quickly realized that Tata was selling tickets for the 2012 Caribfest Jouvert (which we will get to later). We understood at one point, Tata had to hire security for his store because soooo many people were in there! This was a sign of good things to come. Much respect Tata. We made our way back to the hotel for a quick nap before attending the 'Operation Carnival' the ultimate camouflage fete. Held at the Siena Hall in Houston, the event was well supported. As we pulled into the parking lot, every Tom, Dick and Harry had on their Camou kit! Not a ram out crowd on the inside, but packed enough for everyone to get a little wine or two. No man or woman had to starve for a dance. As we moved around a bit, we quickly realized that this party was in full swing. With a strong DJ line up... DJ Stephen (quickly becoming one of the most popular and requested DJ's) Bashment Yute, Fire Kyle and Mikey Faith Sounds featuring Fatta Carey, the party was set in motion from the get go. This was a good way to kick off the festivities!


Every year there is one event for the Caribfest long weekend that I can guarantee that people look forward to. This is 'Ultra GLO - The All White Affair'. And this year was no different. Surprisingly, unlike the past two years which saw the likes of Rupee, Alison Hinds, JW & Blaze, Rikki Jai and Kes the Band, the 2012 Ultra GLO had no live performers carded. Hummm... have they spoilt us? No fret, one true MC... one true mic man... out of Brooklyn New York... MC... MC... MC Wassy ... the #1 singing MC in the business .... just passing through (as Wassy always say) along with the same DJ line up from the night before ('Operation Carnival'), did a fantastic job in keeping the energy levels high. A strong advocate for his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean culture, Wassy has become an integral part of Houston's Caribfest.

With a never ending energy flow and 6000+ patrons dressed in all white, this year's Ultra GLO can easily be considered one of the all time best parties in Houston Caribfest history. Celebrating their 10th Anniversary, hosting the event at a bigger and better venue was a noted improvement. And in the words of singing sensation Ragga, "We going right up in dey!" The stage was huge enough to support a carnival band, the dance floor was packed from wall to wall (including some of the artistes scheduled to perform over the week such as Ragga, Lyrikal and Dominica's WCK to name a few), and every Caribbean island was represented with Soca lovers flying their rags and flags high. Now although the sound system was a bit questionable, the wining waists emitted a heavy euphoric atmosphere that probably made every sound in the 'Phoenix' sound sweet! From the venue's size and décor to the crowd's appeal and numbers, Ultra GLO selloff! I must mention the top level crowd control by Fred and his crew and, and... the 'A' class stage management that we witnessed by Brinsley and his team. And all the vendors on the outside, we appreciate your service.

A new scene for me this year was the 'After GLO Backyard Breakfast Fete' hosted by Ancil Lewis and company. Straight from Ultra GLO, we made our way to Ancil's Backyard in 'D Big Blue' - that's what we called the bus that moved us around. With MC Wassy, Ragga, Lyrical, the Royalty Band, and not forgetting our best drivers and hosts Trudy, Sharon and Giselle all on board, we pulled into the church parking lot around 5:30AM. As we walked into the yard, the music was a bit soft, which made sense... we did not want to wake the neighbours. But as the cock started to crow at 6AM, the volume went right up! With a dance floor (the back yard), a separate VIP section (the gazebo), security system (a pit bull) and a water park (a sprinkler system on top the gazebo), this was one of the best backyards I've been to in quite sometime. There was no entry fee and the food and drinks were very reasonably priced (see the price list for yourself in the gallery). The bake & shark, bake & saltfish and the meatballs were without a doubt a delight to the crowd. And of course, DJ Stephen was there ... in yet another party! I swear he has a twin! Swear! Coupled with DJ Stpehen was the rhythm section that played throughout the entire morning. No stopping... unless it was to take a drink. Great job Ancil! By the time we departed this event, 10AM was approaching. But it was inevitable, we needed our rest if we were to prepare for the BIGGEST J'OUVERT PARTY THE WORLD HAS SEEN. Sorry, I mean THE BIGGEST J'OUVERT THE WORLD WILL SEE…. thank us later for the coverage!


FRIDAY NIGHT... and the time has come to present to you... our loyal followers, the folks who didn't make it, and the lucky ones that did... welcome to THE BIGGEST J'OUVERT PARTY EVER!! Can you say 20,000 people strong??!! That's correct.... and in the voice of Pastor Stuart, "Nothing... Less.... Than..... 20,000 people!!!" To describe this event I must start from the beginning. I was a bit upset that I arrived on the scene so late because if you know me, I don't like to miss anything, but I'm not complaining too much as the Team TJJ was rolling with a deep crew. And as the 'Big Blue' (our bus) pulled up after a 2 mile ride in traffic, it was pure madness!! It was good... but it was madness.... pure BACCHANAL! (In Trinibago lingo, this means having excessive fun, usually while under the influence of a high dose of natural endorphins or alcohol ... or a combination of the two!) Google describes it as "an occasion of drunken revelry." We will take that to! :-) Either way, this was the biggest J'ouvert party we have seen and we are sure you will echo similar sentiments. For those of you that attended, didn't we have ah time and ah half??!! The best DJs in Houston, beautiful women in bathing suits, endless vendors, and a water truck! Yes, don't ask! Just guess!! Fortunately for us, we got security to take us straight to the stage... a 10 minute walk through the thick (and I'm not exgerating) crowd. But we made it.

Held in a local Truck Yard, the venue was the perfect place for this size crowd with the DJs, artistes and media teams set up on a 20ft trailer. There was little room for MC Wassy to work the audience, but if you know Wassy, he doesn't need anything bigger than the size of a microphone to do his magic. The crowd was a young and joyous one. And it was nice to see the African nations and Central Americans well represented. I'm not sure of the magnitude of promotions done by the Caribfest committee, but I can tell you they did a damn good job to get all these people out here. TnT Soca artiste Neil "Iwer" George wrecked the placed, especially when he sang popular 2005 hit "Water" and sprinkled them with a few bottles. But it was Grenada's original jab jab artiste Tallpree that stole the show on the night. From the moment he said his famous lines, "Allyuh mad or wha?" and "Where de jab jab posse dey?" ... it was a wrap! Soon after, the Grenadian Jab Jab posse ran through the 20,000 crowd, as if they were tearing through paper. Perhaps it was because they were leading the run with a flame, chicken feet on their necks, oil smothered all over their bodies and the coffins they were carrying??!! Please don't ask what was in them. And as Tallpree kept singing and saying, "Allyuh come, allyuh come ... allyuh, allyuh...." the jab jab posse kept coming closer and closer and closer, until they reached the stage. Of course, scaring some first timers along the way! The J'ouvert fete ended around 5AM after an 11PM kick off time. And although there were a few complaints about the number of Hip-Hop songs that were played, I don't think the majority were phased. Soca music still stood strong! Caribfest J'Ouvert 2012 was fantastic!


SATURDAY MORNING, we made a little pit stop to 'Vaughn's Red Eye - Houston Edition' hosted by Soca Passion. We got to Taylors a bit early but still represented. Over the years, Red Eye has grown in popularity, and regardless of where they are held.... New York, Miami, Atlanta or Houston, they have done well. Sad to report, but we had some sleepy peeps on the bus so we left the party early. Dayne (Soca Passion), thanks for the hospitality!

SATURDAY NIGHT was a big night with two events - 'Climaxx' and 'Soca Xtreme'. First up, Climaxx. WOW .... location, location, location ... woman, woman, woman ... vibes, vibes, vibes!!! This event gets two thumbs up from TJJ! Limerz International did it again, outclassing their 2011 event. Beautiful and sexy women kept entering Climaxx one after the next, quickly filling up the dance floor. DJ Renee (Orlando) and Hummingbird both did a fantastic job on the turntables, but it was Private Ryan direct from Trinidad that sent the party into ecstasy. The venue is a mansion with dancing room upstairs and downstairs, and both bars had endless drinks; even Soca artiste Benjai had endless drinks. Jai, it was great linking up with you as always. They could have had more food options, but Aunty Kathleen's was on point. Our homeboy Fire Kyle and the Fall Out crew stopped by as well. Climaxx was a classy party with a nice vibe. Oh, by the way... there was Valet Parking. Nice!! Sean, Darryl and the entire Limerz Intl. crew ... we had a great time.

So it was races from 'Climaxx' to the 'Soca Xtreme' in our little Matrix .... don't ask and I won't tell. As we arrived, we could tell that this event was going to be a sold out show. The weather was great, the line was long and top flight security man, Fred, was hard at work keeping everything in order. The Houston Caribfest committee volunteers were fast at work getting people to and in the venue in a timely fashion. And by the way, this venue was definitely a top class spot. The Milan Pavillion was able to accommodate the 3000+ on hand. The bars were long and well stocked, however the food selection was a bit questionable. I absolutely loved the stage, with the exception that it was a bit small. In addition to Iwer George, Tallpree, Ragga and Lyrikal, all whom we have seen over the past few days, the Royalty Band from NY, WCK from Dominica and singer/songwriter Kerwin 'Bacchanlist' Du Bois, all gave stellar performances. As for DJ's, PanTrinVibes was added to the DJ list.


As the morning broke, so did the clouds and the showers came pouring down so there was concern for the Parade of the Bands that had a 2pm kick off time. With some time to spare, we made our way to the 'Ultimate Premium Breakfast Party' featuring Benjai. Held at the Avani Lounge, this event had an 8AM kick off time with a full Caribbean breakfast menu and then some ... bake & shark, saltfish, corn soup, polaurie, doubles etc, etc. The venue was nice in a good location, decent bar space and dancing room. The music was fantastic with DJ Tony for Real, DJ Stephen and DJ Hummingbird all taking a spin. As Benjai took to the stage, so did every woman in the party. By the way, the crowd quality was on point with well dressed folks who didn't care for anything else but their Soca! So when the mic began to give trouble, rather than call the club owner or the promoter, to save time, Benjai fixed it himself! Good job. He gave a sharp performance that had everyone in attendance on their feet and the DJs kept the flow after he was done. This was one of the top events for the weekend. Good job Chris!

And again... we're off to the races to make it to the now 3PM kick-off of the Houston Caribfest 2012 Parade of the Bands and Concert. What an event! This year, the bands were improved in numbers to 13 as compared to 5 in 2011. Not a huge jump but signs of growth and things to come. Session Starters, Madd Colors, Jamrock just to name a few... all were well represented this year. The parade was held at the usual Tom Bass Park in Houston and not even the rain could keep back the 5000+ crowd in attendance. As the parade ended with the final jump on the stage, it was time to get the concert on the way. Local singer T-Rock opened the show as he did last year and was well appreciated by the crowd at hand. Ragga, as usual, sang for the ladies. And by special request, he managed to sing "Bess Ting," the song that rocked the hell out of our 'Big Blue.' And he did manage to wine on ah bess ting during his performance. Lyrikal once again kept the vibe afloat long enough for Grenada's Otis and Tallpree and TnT's Iwer George to follow. To close out the show, WCK from Dominica who brought out all the Dominicans to the show, delighted the crowd and complimented their performance by having Claudette Peters sing with them.

By 10PM, all the performers were off the stage and it was time to prepare for 2013. The Houston Caribfest 2012 eclipsed their 2011 mark in by a large scale. From the promoters to the vendors, and all in between ... we are sure not to miss Houston's Caribfest period. And you shouldn't either! Patrick, Nadine and your entire staff (too many to name) congratulations on your 10th Anniversary. It was the best yet. And if we know the type of work that went into making this year a success, we know that the best is yet to come!

As Always,
Joy Juice Out and About!

Houston CaribFest 2012 - Team TJJ

Photo (Right to Left):- Stephen aka Original Lime Flavor, Jevan aka Dr. Ram Dass, Chardelle Moore aka Bless Juice and Neil aka Joy Juice

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