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J'Ouvert Flag Fete 2013 (Orlando)
J'Ouvert Flag Fete

May 25th, 2013

3 Carnivals in 1 week!

Fresh out of Berlin Carnival, I left Germany on Monday 20th May in transit via London and New Jersey, and touched down in A-Town on Friday 24th to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Atlanta Caribbean Carnival. After 2 fetes and their Parade of Bands, I was running to catch yet another flight; destination ORLANDO!

Delta flight #1669 touched down later than it's 8:47 PM scheduled arrival, so after a quick fresh we headed over to Powerline HD Production's "Orlando Carnival Annual All Inclusive Fete" at Soca City AKA Fletchers Warehouse. The good news was the party was less than a 6 minutes drive from our 2nd stop for the night. The bad news was that we pulled up to the party within the last hour and things seem to be pretty much winding down.

Soca music was jammin' and the Riddim Section joined in from time to time, and as tempted as I was to part take in some of the delicious looking curry food, when it comes to carnival one can never be too careful ... iron stomach or not! So ... bring DRINKS! Dougla, thanks for the usual TJJ love. See you guys on the road tomorrow. Riki, put the cup down and slowly back away from the bar!

Onto fete #2! The "2nd Annual J'Ouvert Flag Fete". Last year they hosted Machel Montano HD, and this year's headliner was Bunji "Mr. Differentology" Garlin & the Asylum band. When Soirée said, "This year, it is bigger and better, more artists, more space, more time and MORE FETE!" ... they did not lie! Besides the unexpected $20 parking fee, Soirée delivered in every possible way.

They didn't just stop at General and VIP, they had VVIP! Food and drinks galore. They didn't just book one headline act, they had a mini Soca artiste convention backstage!! Accompanying Bunji was Fayann and Problem Child; then you had Farmer Nappy, Patrice Roberts, Swappi, Lyrikal, Tallpree and Ricardo Drue (who was also in Atlanta earlier today performing). Solid performances by all. Also liming on the inside were Cassi (flew down on same flight), Gailann, Ragga, T-Roc and others artistes. They didn't go til 6 AM, music played past 6 AM!!! Hosted by Giselle D'Wassi One & DJ Karl, Flag Fete also had an all-star cast of DJs.

The talk is that J'Ouvert Flag Fete is well on it's way to becoming the old Convention Center fete of Miami Carnival. When asked how they will top this show, Soirée's CEO Nadia Khublal reported that one big band has already been booked, so we'll just have to wait to see what's in store for #FlagFete2014!!

Sunday 26th May... no time for the airport, it's Orlando Carnival Street Parade. The Carnival takes place at the Festival Field @ The Citrus Bowl, Downtown and there's loads of parking (around $10) surrounding the park. We arrived later than planned, but luckily the bands were all on the their final stretch before making their way into the park where they cross a small judging stage. It's about 10 small masquerade bands (and not Trinidad Carnival small either; 50-75 people is a large band in Orlando), and a couple bands are more j'ouvert than pretty mas.

Following the parade, masqueraders and patrons all gather inside the park where they enjoyed a wide variety of Caribbean and Latin cuisine amongst other food & beverages on sale. Attitude band kicked off the live acts, followed by K.Rich delivering his hits for the past two years. T&T's veteran soca band, Roy Cape All Stars with lead singers Blaxx & Darnella were to close the show. Soca Chutney Queen Drupatee joined Roy Cape during their set, and as we walked out the gates, we could hear the distinct voice of Vincy's Skinny Fabulous on stage. No time to turn back, we've got a couple after parties to attend.

1st stop being closer was "Carnival Rehab - The Last Injection" at Vain. Let's just say for this upscale nightclub, TJJ might have been the ONLY folks that went straight from the parade/concert without showering and dressing up. It started off with 3 Rooms to Party (Room #1 – Reggae On The Rooftop, Room #2 – Chutney/Bollywood Room #3 – Soca Room) , 4 Bars and 20+ DJ's, but eventually we all ended up downstairs listening to a variety of all genres of music ... great selections, great vibe!

Our 2nd after party stop was supposed to be "The Hangover Part II Las Lap Fete" at Lux Ultra Lounge. But after the 1st party wrapped up, we too decided to wrap up and pack it in ... Orlando Carnival 2013 .... it's a Gyro! Ok, now it's time to catch another plane!!

Closing words: With Miami-Broward ONE Carnival being our #1 US Carnival, I strongly believe that any carnival in Florida with the right planning, promotion and execution should be able to piggy back and strive as well, especially ones that's 1-4 hours driving distance from South Florida.

We Love Carnival ... We Know Carnival ... WE ARE CARNIVAL!

Orlando Carnival 2013

Yours truly,
Daddy Juice aka The Carnival Ref

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