The New Anatomy Of  The Fete

The Anatomy of the fete and the setting process has changed over the years. In my best selling book which is a “how-to” guide on carnival, “The Ultimate Road Ready Guide”, I discuss the anatomy of a fete. It is a very good piece of information and is definitely helpful concerning how one should behave in a fete.  In this piece of written articulation I will cover the fetting process which does not preclude the previous information in the book but is in addition to it. So if you are a carnival virgin or a carnival newbie you will want to get your copy of “The Ultimate Road Ready Guide” which is on Amazon today. What you will find out is that there are some mistakes that you made during carnival and there are some things that you did well, but there are many things that you can do better. 

Okay, now that the soft sales pitch is over, let’s begin.  (Hey, I have a family to feed and as much as I would like to just write, entertain and inform, I also need your support to keep doing so. Just keeping it real. So thanks in advance for getting the book).

The New Anatomy Of The Fete

As I was analyzing the fetes, the fetting experience, talking to patrons and listening to conversations before, during and after carnival — I began to understand something major.

It’s a phenomenon that I learned in sport as a player and a coach.  And that is…

Everything that you did and have done before you step on the line impacts that outcome of the game and your play.  Meaning, everything that you did before you arrived into TNT has an impact and an effect on your overall experience.

Now, this is why most virgins have a better time than veterans. And this is why I tell all virgins to thank veterans because as I’ve said, time and time before — carnival veterans sacrifice some of their “good times” to make sure that their carnival virgins have the time of their lives.

With that being said lets look at the build up.

The new anatomy of a fete begins with a ticket purchase. It then continues with fete attendance/experience and then ends with a fete assessment. 

The Ticket Purchase Process

The ticket purchase process is a tricky thing for party promoters because there are 2 ways to handle this beast. You can (1) post your party online and just allow people to purchase and (2) you can have a committee based process where you have to know someone that knows someone to get a ticket.

In the first group, which we will call GROUP (1), you have 2 types. You have (1a) and (1b).

(1a) posts the tickets online and you buy.

(1b) posts the tickets online in waves. Meaning, the tickets are release in blocks of 200 or 300 tickets and then when those run out the price goes up incrementally.  This, is a great business practice to create scarcity and to condition your patrons to act fast when you release a product.

The the second group, which we will call GROUP (2), you also have 2 types.   You have (2a) and (2b).

(2a) Never posts anything. You submit your name.  It gets reviewed. You get a private link and you buy your ticket.

(2b) You CAN’T EVEN FIND WHERE TO PUT YOUR NAME. You don’t know how to buy the ticket and if you don’t know someone, you are not getting a ticket PERIOD. There is no email. There is no online link. You email a person. They get your ticket. You pay them when you get to Trinidad.  And that’s that.  (The Brian Lara fete is like this. Or at least it is for foreigners).

The Process Explained

When a male courts a female, he does what is necessary to mate. 

He involves himself in a courtship which builds and heightens his expectations.  This makes the experience great. But if “the chase” goes on for long, he may get disenfranchised or the buildup may be so great that the female cannot meet the expectations. And after "mating" he just leaves and says, "All this.... for that?" 

So....... There is a fine line of playing “hard to get” and “being to difficult to put up with” just as their is a fine line of being “too easy” and being professionally “accessible."

The relationship is actually a courtship between the fetters and the promoters.

The Process Explained

The process conditions the patrons.

The process in some ways provides the “dressing" of exclusivity. It also programs the patrons to “act now” and “act fast” which allows revenue and capital to be put in the coffers of the promoters quickly.

It also creates the “Willy Wonka I-Have-The-Golden-Ticket” feeling and makes those that “got in” feel like they are special.

I got it.

We all got it.

We all understand it.


However, this backfires when the process goes on too long and the acquisition of a ticket supersedes the amount of fun that the fete provides or cuts into the overall fun experience. When the difficulty of acquiring a ticket is still on the mind of the patron after the fete, then there is a problem where the acquisition has negatively impacted the experience.

This seems to have happened to some who attended Ambush.  The Soca Brainwash process was on the cusp of becoming a bit too much. It teetered on the line wasn’t really talked about afterwards.  The AMBush process was talked about afterwards because fo a series of gaffes.  Mainly, the package pickup debacle where some waited for 3 to 5 hours to pick up their j'ouvert packages. Then there was the lack of food for patrons at the end of the road party.

The Committee Process

As much as some of us complain about the committee process,  the committee process has some MAJOR benefits.

Case in point, in a committee based party, EVERYBODY in THAT fete is somehow connected to a person on that committed by a various degrees of separation but connected nonetheless.  Which means, everybody in that fete either has a few things in common or there is some commonality amongst the patrons. I do not want to dive deep into this discussion as some may have their own personal feelings about the matter but the fact of the matter is this.  All party promoters have the right to brand, position and create the ambience of their fete the way that they see fit.

As a patron you have the right to purchase or not purchase. 

It’s as simple as that.

The committee process is a good process because it allows the promoter to manufacture the ambience and the crowd as they see fit. And a party amongst friends is a great party. And once you are in a giant sized fete where you feel like you are with family, as in Vale, there’s no better feeling than that.

The process that Vale used for their breakfast party was seamless. It was committee based but very upfront. Either you were getting a ticket or you were not. If you needed 5 and you could not get 5, you were told, “you will receive 2 tickets.” Or you were told, “You will be informed by (this date) if you are approved for tickets.”  You were then given CLEAR instructions on what to do and it was done.  It was professional. It was seamless. And it was committee based but done in the most professional manner and was greatly appreciated.

With that being said……..

I am a professional.

I am NOT sitting by a computer ever again and hitting the refresh button for a ticket.

I am NOT begging you to give you MY MONEY after I’ve dropped anywhere from $1500 to $5000 on transportation and housing.

I am NOT waiting for hours in a line for you to distribute something that I’ve ALREADY PAID YOU MONEY for.

I am NOT going to be inconvenienced when you are charging prices for a ticket that are equivalent to a black tie dinner.

And I don’t care how good your fete or party is. 


And I’m sure your fete/party or whatever WILL STILL survive. And I hope it does. But it will do so without me and without those like me.

Because if the process is too arduous it ruins my fetting experience and I don’t want my experience impacted like that. I pay to much money to go to Trinidad to endure such inconveniences.

Inconvenient Or Not
The Fete Will Survive
Without You - And
Nobody’s Changing
For Me Or You

Most fetes, like products, have a shelf life for each fetter.  The shelf life of a top-end, classy fete like Vale and Soca Brainwash are longer than fetes like Ambush and Bacchanal Wednesday. And what I mean in terms of shelf life is not that the fete will continue or not continue but that the individual will make a decision to stop going after a while. It’s the shelf life of the fete in the mind of the patron.

The Vale breakfast fete has a marketing “stickiness” to it that makes the patron want to return as does Brainwash. Ambush has the same thing but for a certain age demographic. The closer you get to your mid 40s the less appealing Ambush becomes. It can still be fun but its no longer a staple fete. Sunny Side Up is a staple fete. Those that do it continue to do it and love doing it year after year.  There are some people who feel this way about Soca Monarch. Just like liming on Ariapita will never lose its appeal to many because the FUN factor is high. There’s no buildup of expectation so whatever happens on "the ave" will be seen as acceptable and fun.

Back to my point….

Most high end / “hard to get in” fetes run off of the bathtub model. 

Imagine that there is water running into bathtub and the size of that bathtub is fixed.

Meaning, the tub itself cannot get any bigger.

And also imagine that that the drain in the tub is open.

Meaning, there is water running out. 

Thus making the key to keeping the bathtub full of water and even possibly still overflowing is in making sure that that the water coming into the tub is flowing at a higher rate than the water leaving out of the tub.

This is why promoters don’t have to change and can make errors or upset a few patron, process-wise and still survive. It’s because they do an excellent job in terms of marketing, branding and position.  And when I mean excellent, I mean EXCELLENT.

And because of the amount of newbies that come to carnival every year, fetes like AMBush will ALWAYS sell out because it has such a high appeal to newcomers and carnival virgins.  For one major reason…...Because IT IS THE BEST PARTY ON THE PLANET.   So not only is the marketing good, but the product is solid.

And you can complain about a 5 hours package pickup wait.

You can complain about there being no food at then end.

And you can complain about the ticket process…. but the bottom line is this. 

The bathtub is only so big and there are 10 people or more waiting for your spot in the tub so if you run out the drain it just does not matter to Caesar or his Army. Because if there is one thing that they have on lock it is this.— IT IS THE BEST PARTY ON THE PLANET.  And other parties have a similar privilege in terms of the product that they deliver…. for right now.

The Online Ticket
Purchase Process

We discussed the committee based process. Now lets discuss the online process.

The online process is nice.

Because its simple.

And it’s nice because it’s perceptively fair.

The process is this. You go online. You buy. And it’s done.

People enjoy the “hassle free” option of just going online and getting a ticket.  Most j’ouvert purchases are like this. There are many band registrations like this. And there are also many fetes like this.  This ease-of-use process is becoming more appealing to fetters and was spoken about heavily during carnival. So much so that the fete that was one of the most talked about was Phuket. And it because they delivered a great product with no pre-fete hassles. And if anything did happen bad in the fete nobody really mentioned it because the expectations were not created at such a high level where they could not match the expectations.

The thing that usually distinguishes who is going and who is not going to the fetes which are online and for purchase is usually the price.

The Fun Factor Analysis

I’m not sure that I’ve ever attended a “bad” fete.  As I stated in part 1 of my recap, which can be found here (**********), “the vibes are not brought to you, the vibes are brought by you.”  And with that, I’ve never experienced a bad party.

Here’s what I have experienced… I have experienced FUN on a sliding scale or a FUN continuum, if you will.
And the amount of FUN experienced at a fete is impacted by the following:

- ticket purchase
- fete attendance process (people, vibe, travel to and from, food, drinks, bathrooms, etc.,.)

Therefore one’s overall FUN is based upon the ticket purchase experiences and the fete attendance experience.

Now, the ticket purchase experience was covered briefly. Let's address the fete attendance experience.

The fete attendance experience is a different animal and as stated before, it must positively exceed the ticket acquisition process for the overall fete experience to be great.

The best fete, FOR ME, was Phuket. 


Because when I looked at the OVERALL process of ticket acquisition and my experience in the fete, there was only one minor issue. And that was, they ran out of water toward the end of the fete.  That’s not even a big deal to me because there was nothing negative. No long lines. No problems. No issues. And it was a GREAT TIME.

And let’s be real, if I get to the bar at Phuket and they tell me they are out of water, it’s no big deal. But, if I walk up to the drink table at The Vale Breakfast Fete and they tell me they are out of water, that would be a big deal. 

Levels.  :-)

My Personal
Ambush Experience

I’m not sure that the ticket process needs to change.  I just thought it was beneficial to tell you how the anatomy of the process has developed because there are some carnival virgins or newbies who may not know.

In November I contacted the promoter of Caesar's Army and asked to BUY (4) tickets. 

I was given his whatsapp information. He asked me for my email. He asked me how many males and females. He communicated with me for 3 months only to never produce tickets for me to purchase.

I must say that I was also very taken aback to be given the run around by Jules and to be strung along for 3 months as I was trying to buy tickets for some of the carnival virgins in my crew. It was a very upsetting and disrespectful series of events. One which found me at one point begging some grown ass man to let me in his party. 

It was pretty humiliating for me. 

Luckily, I was able to get my people some tickets another way and STILL sent my virgins to the party and encourage others to go as well because it’s a great party but I do not ever see myself personally supporting any one of his parties. The way Jules handled me was real sh*tty and kind of unbelievable. I would have rather that he just said, “No.”  But to string me along for 3 months is just beyond ridiculous. I truly tried to extend the right hand of fellowship and be friendly.

I’m not mad about it, just really disappointed. I'm not sure what would possess him to handle me like that. I had been nothing but complimentary of him and his events. Hell, two of the most precious commodities that I have are time and money and I've given both to him previously.

Man, I think what struck me as odd and rare is that in my professional life, I don’t beg for sh*t and there I was…. begging. In my professional life I'd take the heel of my foot and kick people like him in the f*cking mouth and not even bat an eyelash as they bled and called for the ambulance. But in this line of work, on the carnival side of things, I'm a kinder and gentler Dr. Ferguson 

Man, the way Jules did me had me feeling like the chick that was waiting for Valentines Day candy and roses, only to get dumped on the 13th of February.  

A group of people stopped me in Trinidad at the Phuket fete on Friday and said, “We’ll see you tomorrow at Caesars Army.”   I replied, “I’m not going. I’m going to the Suits boat ride.”

They said, “What?!?!?!? The only reason why we are going is because of your review about it from last year.”

I said, “Yes, I’ve heard this already tonight but no, I'm not going. And you will love it.”

Lesson learned.  Thanks Jules, I appreciate you brother. 

And I stand by what I said, it’s one of the best parties on the planet.

But I cannot stomach the thought of ever going.

The ticket acquisition process of this year superseded any amount of fun that I would ever have at any of his parties…. unfortunately.  And I don’t know him to say if he’s a good guy or a bad guy. All I know is that MY ticket acquisition process superseded my ability to ever have fun at one of his events.  And hey, that may change over time but I doubt it.


The anatomy of a fete has changed. Be aware of of what’s going on before you start “Operation Trinidad Carnival.”

It is the desire of and The Carnival Doctor to get a ground level and grassroots approach to Carnival. For us to have you, not only get a feel for Carnival, but also a feel for the people that attend carnival. Behind every picture and video is a story but the story that you make up in your mind is not necessarily the truth.  After all the jumping up, and winin' and bacchanal is done -- we all have real lives to return to. It is our desire for you to know the other people that you share the carnival community with.

Love, Peace and Soca.

(If you've enjoyed this, you will most certainly enjoy The Ultimate Road Ready Guide)

Blessings From Here To There,

Rhadi Ferguson, PhD
"The Carnival Doctor"

P.S. For the best information in the world concerning carnivals please visit  For the most comprehensive site available for fete tickets and masquerader costumes, please visit

P.P.S. For more information on how to properly prepare for carnival like a true veteran, please visit