Get Juiced at J'ouvert with TJJ
Miami Carnival is almost upon us, the last lap of 2016 Carnival Season.  Miami is now squarely established as the most prominent Caribbean Carnival in North America – with Artists, DJ’s & Feters coming in from all islands and across the world.  While there’s something still to be said about needing to have a return the parade to De Road (also highlighted in Rhadi Ferguson’s previous article) Miami Carnival is all about the Fetes – it’s a JAM-PACKED schedule over the course of 5 solid days with so many fetes going head to head/overlapping for patrons.

Yes, Trinidad will remain the ultimate location for the lead-up with fete upon fete for months leading up to parade.  What’s interesting is that while there are a few big fetes in direct competition (i.e Beach House & C'est La Vie) in terms of time slots there typically are a variety of events going on simultaneously so whatever your style or budget chances are you have an option.

When it you step outside of TnT, and especially once you step out of the Caribbean islands – your options ordinarily are far fewer in number & variation of style, yet people are looking to change that in Miami as it continues to grow/attract Soca Junkies from all over.

Yes, there are fetes the weekend before and the early portion of the week with what some would consider Wednesday as the unofficial start with fetes that have big artists & DJ’s participating in mass.  Yet, as is typical for many Carnivals that people travel for you see the largest concentration of people flying in Thursday and Friday to fete ‘til they drop.

One of the challenges that has faced promoters in the U.S. vs. the islands, has been the liquor laws, with so many of the fetes that are staple “all-inclusive” in the Caribbean are cash bar situations in the U.S.  Thankfully, people are getting more creative and with direct competition in place, some are finding ways to raise the bar (see what I did there....:) and finding solutions to bring broader & higher level experiences.  Additionally, the increased popularity/demand for Soca & fete experiences in the U.S. we’ve got more and more veteran carnival junkies getting in the mix starting their own events.  With that being said – we’re here to talk about some of the New Fetes coming on the scene for Miami Carnival 2016 as well as some of the “Improved” – as progression is an essential part of the evolution of Carnival.

This is by no means a “comprehensive list”, it’s meant more as a reflection of the growth and specific fetes/promoters that are making waves and having people take notice in the process of expanding Miami Carnival.

Thursday morning, often a time that many feters haven’t arrived in Miami yet – but hey...... put a quality fete & you’re likely to convince Carnival Junkies to shift their plans from flying out Thursday night to now flying in early Thursday morning and like Bunji says “Straight off the Jumbo Jet” – this year that option has been created – in the form of “Plunge”.  Plunge will be a breakfast inclusive fete 8 am – 2pm Thursday – Lyrikal performing, Private Ryan, DJ Stephen, Back 2 Basics, Giselle D’Wassi One.

Thursday afternoon/early evening always starts with Trini Jungle Juice’s Arrivals, as TJJ has become known for the traditional “1st night 1st fete” – whether in TnT, UK, NYC, MIA, and so many more.  Following Arrivals many have headed to Tribe Ignite which is a cash bar/chit fete, yet this year – there is anew & yes…. ALL-INCLUSIVE fete option.  MOA (Ministry of Appreciation) White Hot Miami – (an all-white affair) will be going late night with DJ Ghost, DJ Richie R.A.S., Freeze International & Tony Cross.  Some of the patrons will have the added bonus of some pre-fete pump with Mango Reef Promotions as they are offering bus service from downtown Miami directly to the event.  Here’s what I can tell you about MOA .....if you’ve been on the major carnival circuit & at the big fetes chances are you have seen them – they bring de vibes & have energy for days - hell, half the women I'm photographed lifting are MOA and are always up for a battle lol.  Typically, this group is front left of stage at any/every fete – go the hardest, have “limited” behavior (umm – get on bad bad), and I’d be shocked if it’s anything but total shellings.  The location has been kept a secret, with the shuttle service going towards the Fort Lauderdale area that’s been described as a lush tropical oasis. 

Friday morning has gotten a bit busier – the buzz from the video of Roast Miami has definitely caught a lot of people’s attention – it’s an ALL-INCLUSIVE Booze & Breakfast Cruise 6-10 am ...... only challenge I see here is a few people may go too hard the night before & miss the departure time lol.

Yet this is about “New” & “Improved” fetes --- so in the category of Improved – and this goes in line with having more competition & competitors causing each other to raise the bar ...... Candy Coated Cruise will now be an ALL-INCLUSIVE Cruise – serving premium alcohol & brunch departing at 12 pm.  Another solid line-up of DJ’s that includes Ruan Legend, Lord Hype, Jus Jay and Ryan Sayeed just to name a few.  This has been an extremely well-attended fete over the years & it goes from 0-100 the minute the boat clears the dock.  There’s no doubt that with an Open Bar this is going to hit Epic Levels & for feters arriving in MIA early Friday morning this may be a perfect fit for their schedule and great way to pump hard from the second they reach.

Friday night, it’s time to add yet another solid fete option which comes from the JA promoters who have successfully carved a niche back in Kingston and an incredible Soca followings with their series “I Love Soca Jamaica” Coolest Cooler Fete – now comes “I Love Soca Jamaica Miami Vibes”.  It’s a cooler fete with yet another line-up of international DJ’s & MC’s that people can get excited about – Nuphoric, DJ Richie R.A.S., Barrie Hype, Nocturnal, Dutty Dex, Lord Hype, Tony Cross and more.  And what you can expect is that yes, this is a Soca event......yet it's got some Jamaican flare to it & hopefully a touch of dancehall sprinkled in for a change of pace.

Saturday Morning is starting to get very crowded too lol.  There’s some “direct competition” as well as variety of options – so there are “new” options & “improved” options.

For Carnival Veterans Saturday morning typically means Vale Breakfast Fete – which is very much a staple & deservedly so as they are the “O.G.’s of Breakfast Fetes”, yet the JA Massiv is making moves and bring their best.  Sunnation is expanding what I truly consider to be the best value Breakfast Fete I’ve EVER attended – the Sunnation Sunrise Breakfast Fete that in Kingston is a highlight of Jamaica Carnival...... an all-inclusive fete with all types of pageantry for under $100 US (check my old blog posts for more details) -- they are now bringing their style & experience to Miami with Sunrise Breakfast Party at Miami Zoo.  Their goal is to duplicate that magic, so it is a premium ALL-INCLUSIVE.  This is a perfect option for those who don’t want to get dirty & not deal with chits/cash bar lines, etc.

For those who DO want to get DIRTY – the “Improved” option – Coming to jump for J’ouvert with the Trini Jungle Juice crew & GenX/Red Antz – 2 Music Trucks, 2 Drink Trucks – premium all-inclusive, Nuphoric, Sinistar, DJ Ana and more pumping the sound.  Who do you want to fete with if not the literal expert feters who cover the world of Carnival & chances are you’re going to end up with memories memorialized in TJJ’s photo galleries and videos – how many crews have a built in pro photography team?  And.....ladies, if you want to climb or get lifted chances are there’s someone who can assist you with that quite well ;).

Saturday Night the “New” continues as Viva La Carnival has been blowing up with pre-sales like no other.  Again, an opportunity for feters who want to save a bit of money at the bar because...... They ARE the bar, it’s a Cooler Feteso pour/bring whatever you desire & no lines to wait in to get served.  The entertainment line-up – DJ Puffy, Crown Prince, Nuphoric, LL CoolBlaze, Lord Hype, DJ Stephen, DJ Ana, The Dream Team & Blinkdalink.  For me, if a fete isn’t ALL-Inclusive then I want a Cooler Fete because you know the drinks are flowing, you don’t have to worry about lines, and no need for cash or chits.

No matter what you decide as your final fete line-up, the beautiful thing is there are PLENTY of OPTIONS.  Whether you reach MIA Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday you have the chance to hit the ground running and go hard fete after fete.  The fact that more fetes are rolling out literally for each day of Miami Carnival is a great sign that Caribbean culture is spreading & Soca is thankfully reaching more people across the globe – a chance to celebrate life with positive vibes. Whether you want to stick to your staple fetes, throw in 1 new fete (for the weekend or each day), or you need to find ways to maximize your fete experiences with a shoestring budget…. You can do it. And if you just want to take some time off and chill on South Beach – you can do that too, just know it’s your last Carnival for the year & we’ll be there to raise a glass and take a wine where ever you decide to hit.

‘Til next time, Soca to De World
-Jouvert Mike