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J'Ouvert (Houston Caribfest'09)
Date: Friday 3rd July 2009
Location: The Truck Yard. 450 Holmes Road. Houston, TX
Promotions: Houston CaribFest

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"The Best Jump Up in 20 Years"

Biggest event for all of Houston Carnival! We were warned and now you are being warned. This is J'Ouvert, meets Wet Fete, meets Insomnia, meets De Road, meets the American South.

Let's start with the fact that this "event" is way out in some isolated place. Nothing for miles but road. And well, when we get there ... cars for days! Felt like Anchorage on a Christmas night watching the cars lights extending back and forward for miles. I had to get out and walk, cause is too much business passing me by and my strides would definitely get me there faster.

So it's about 1:30AM and I am standing outside the venue watching a pickup truck dispensing coco to a mêlée of masquaderers. The horn sounds and here they come. J'Ouvert meet Fete, Fete meet J'Ouvert! You enter and there's a line of vendors selling all the usual Caribbean apparel. Flags, rags, DVDs, CDs and of course, food of all sorts. That lane of vendors finally ends with the entrance to a large galvanized hall. Inside is like nothing you've experienced before ... thousands of partygoers going crazy with their focus on a elevated stage, no larger than 10 square feet in surface area.

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Photos By Stephen W. Choo Quan
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Like Ultra Glo, the DJ line was massive .... DJ Stephen, Rhythm International, Mikie Faith Sound, DJ Hummingbird, DJ Soca Diva, DJ Supa Slice, Spoil Brats, DJ Renny, DJ Big Rich, DJ Marshal alongside Selecta 62, Static Sounds & 187. I don't think any DJ played longer than a 15-20 minute set. All the latest Soca and Reggae selections had the party insane, until the DJ started dropping some local Houston Hip Hop ... then it was all over, COMPLETE MADNESS! Add a water truck hosing down the crowd and a gang of 7 or so walking around with home made flamethrowers, and you have a pretty high octane jam fest.

Other atmosphere influencers ... the two fellas in diapers ... wait, not done, those fellas in diapers were holding the heads of actual pigs. Don't get upset yet, the pigs were well fed, at least their heads were. Doh mind that one pig head specifically, kept puking everything that it was fed. But say wha, I look the other way and moving past me is a drivable lawn mower with a trailer attached. In the trailer is a man wrapped in lots of medical tape. He's carrying crutches and do not appear to be in good condition. These two are driving around and thru the dance floor. Characters! What you need to do is step out of your self, step into the crowd and let loose and have a time. At some hour in the morning people started moving out of the sheltered area and headed to 2 trucks parked outside jamming loud chunes. One truck with DJ music & live band, and the other a steel band truck jamming Destra's "Sassiness" with excellent melody. Being way out and isolated, make chipping down the road so pleasurable. No buildings, or traffic, just road, music, coco and plenty bumsie. Despite several attempts by the police to shut down the vibes, we were good until we could take no more.

I not sure what time it is, but the sun is definitely up and I just hear a man say that he had "the best jump up in 20 years!" In all honesty, taking J'Ouvert on the road was that good. I wouldn't miss it.

Plenty clothes to wash,
Dr. Ram Dass

Related Galleries
Houston Caribfest 2009 Coverage