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>> View Bermuda Heroes Weekend 2016 Coverage

Monday – if you haven’t seen the videos yet – RAFT UP is the sickest thing out there & truly the reason I hopped a last second flight to come for Bermuda Heroes Weekend.  I really would like a dollar (US) for every time we heard between our arrival and reaching Raft Up – “Hey, are you guys really Trini Jungle Juice?” or people just yell out from across the street when they see the Blonde Beanstalk aka Dre “Trini Jungle Juice!!!!!! You ready for Raft Up?! We love your video”No lie, there wasn’t a restaurant, hotel, or fete that we went to that someone didn’t smile fondly and say “that Raft Up video is the reason I’m here”...... the power of Social Media & avid followers of TJJ is truly appreciated – which is why we strive to engage all of you in all manners possible (video, pics, blogs, & in person at fetes – we want you to live, breath, and dream Soca).

Bermuda Heroes Weekend (BHW) - Destination Carnival - Bermuda Raft Up (Seg 5/5)

Some of you don’t know this but I’m actually part fish & part man – so any chance to actually swim, float, drink, & fete in de water is basically heaven.  We ain’t talking about some stush boat ride either.  People come by boat, jetski, kayak – anchor up near the barge (which has a road march mack truck with full sound system) out in the middle of the ocean & people just GO WILD.  I mean seriously, is there a better recipe for enjoying island life & Soca? Gorgeous water, thousands of feters in the water – wining, drinking, liming – truly a beautiful scene.

Being a Carnival Chaser you like to look forward to unique experiences at each & every carnival and Bermuda definitely doesn’t disappoint.  It was clear from the minute we reached that everyone foreign & local was looking forward to Raft Up Monday.  Plenty of islands & cities have boat rides, but NO ONE and I mean NO ONE does it like Bermuda.  They have a Barge as the center point with 100+ boats anchored up surrounding the barge loaded with speakers, world-renowned DJ’s & major Soca Artists ---- and it is FREE as long as you found a way out …… whether swimming out with an inner tube, a paddle board, kayak, jet ski, private boat – or you can choose to pay for a booze cruise to get to the area.

The BHW Team teamed up with the Longtail boat and were probably a bit stunned at the massive growth in demand from last year to this year – with needing to fill 3 boats with feters, not just 1, to eventually reach Raft-Up.  Team Trini Jungle Juice definitely arrived in style – Red Alert handling the music – while Lyrikal, Voice, DJ Stephen, Giselle D’ Wassi One, and hundreds of feters enjoyed some drinks & dancing.

The communal love & revelry is tangible as boat after boat of all sides headed out to Raft Up
.  Smaller speed boats would come along side waving & dancing to our music – some even TOSSED food over to share with crew on our boat.  Others came by on jet-ski’s to listen to the pumpin, exchange a wave & smile and were off.  It was essentially Christmas morning & everyone was excited to be headed out to unwrap the big present under de tree.

          (possibly the only man/boat that wasn't headed to Raft Up)

With all the growth & increased demand there were understandably some areas for improvement. The Bermuda Heroes Weekend team has built a unique experience that has to now take into account local laws as well as maritime regulations that many feters just aren’t aware of ...... or choose to ignore because they want to be in the mix – yet if these aren’t adhered to the future of Raft Up would be in jeopardy.  A lot of people want to be on The Barge – understandably when you’re at a fete people look to get a chance to mix with their favorite artists or DJ’s ...... and sometimes that’s possible, other times you just have to respect the space.  For safety & maritime regulations the barge can’t be used as a fete space – everyone is welcome to be on inner tubes, floats, paddle boards, etc. right up next to it, but only the DJ’s, performing artists, a handful of media and the staff of BHW are legally allowed to be on the Barge (part of the reason for a change in location from last year to this year was to ensure people didn’t attempt to swim from shore repeatedly and attempt to board the barge to fete.)

If you had a boat it was as simple as staying 50 meters away so swimmers, rafters had space as well as the fact that the barge is attached to a mooring – it’s not like a car in a parking space .......it moves/shifts with the ocean current.  What would be great to see the BHW team do/plan for future years of Raft Up would be to reserve a section of the water close to the Barge for the big boats with hundreds of feters that are truly affiliated with BHW or allied promoters to anchor up.  Boats that were far away (say 3rd or 4th ring of boats away) couldn’t hear the music – especially with their own boats still having DJ’s playing on their own boat ......for these boats – if patrons didn’t get on a raft, catch a jet ski ride, or swim towards the barge the essentially got a massive booze cruise with several hours anchored up to lounge/swim in the water.  If you were within 150-200 meters of the barge it was a completely different & highly elevated/unique experience you’ve had at any carnival before.  The growing pain/learning opportunity is to ensure all of the big party boats have the opportunity to ensure this happens, even if they come 30 minutes or an hour after much smaller personal boats – just reserve/block off 1 section of the circle, still making it possible for smaller boats to tie-up together and utilize a lot of the other space available.

This was yet another unique experience – part fete/part lime – with artists performing & DJ’s rotating throughout the afternoon.  Everyone basically was just liming – cracking jokes, having drinks, and then finally – the little kid in everyone (along with some good ol’ fashion peer pressure) had everyone diving in the water.  Back2Basics, Barrie Hype, TonyX, DJ Stephen, Ricardo Drue, even Lyrikal – WHO CAN’T EVEN SWIM ...... jumped in the water (mind you we had a few floaties and several of us ready to grab Lyrikal as he surfaced – you still got a man jumping in the very deep ocean on faith that we’re going to make sure he gets safely to a raft to hold on to & float lol.  There just isn’t an event ANYWHERE ELSE that you’ll see this many artists & DJ’s hosting/performing, liming and letting loose literally swimming around interacting with feters in such a fun & relaxed environment.

There’s no doubt this IS the signature event of Bermuda Heroes Weekend and if you leave Bermuda without experience Raft Up you’re MAAADDDD, it’s the don’t miss event of the weekend.

All things considered – picturesque road march, intimate concert with stacked line-up, pleasant alternative to standard Carnival line-up with Pan in the Park, mix in a handful of other fete options (more coming next year) & the signature event of Raft Up ...... there’s no doubt that Bermuda Heroes Weekend is a “must do” & I truly anticipate that this will make it into the annual rotation of staple Carnivals/top tier of MANY Carnival Junkies in the years to come just as the several thousand new revelers added to the mix this year.

‘Til Next Time, Soca To De World
-Jouvert Mike

>> View Bermuda Heroes Weekend 2016 - Raft Up - Part 1 Gallery
>> View Bermuda Heroes Weekend 2016 - Raft Up - Part 2 Gallery
>> View Bermuda Heroes Weekend 2016 Coverage