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The Parade of Bands - Bermuda Heroes Weekend

Photo Credit: Bermuda Aerial Media
Permission via Jason Sukdeo

To say that Carnival in Bermuda was an awesome experience would be a severe understatement and would not do the complete experience justice.  And although I will talk about the carnival as a whole, this post will be specifically reduced to the parade of bands on Saturday.

And if you are NOT sure if it was awesome. Well, as my daughter and son say, "Don't believe me? Just watch!"

I will also say that this is the part of my job that I like the least.


Because as a journalist and reporter, I have to report the truth and not skew it as I see fit. I can give my own personal view on things, and I do, but I also have to temper that with the interviews and conversations that I have with those that have attended carnival and have a different experience within the same environment.  And while nothing that I write here is "negative", please understand that this is more of a reporting type of post and it's more informative than it is entertaining. And while some carnival journalists spend more time talking about beads and feathers and making people feel like "lesser-thans" just because they are not playing frontline at carnival, I feel that it is more important to provide you with information in order to make your carnival experience the best ever.   And that means that I take it as my personal responsibility to make sure that you are prepared as much as possible.  When it is time, in this case, for you to put down your hard earned money to attend Bermuda Carnival in the future, I want you to be able to leverage the previous experiences of myself, others, and the staff at TriniJungleJuice so that your carnival can be what is should be...... AMAZING!

And with that being said.....

Let's begin.

The Parade Route
Was Perfect

The parade route was changed at the last minute and moved to what was called "the backup route."

Well, if that was the backup route, I want to see what the original one looks like.  One reveller who goes by the name Camille and lives in the United States said, "This is the most beautiful parade route that I have even been on. Where can you play mas on the road and experience the water like this?"

I will have to agree.  When the parade finished, we ended up in an area that was surround by water, yachts and boats. It was beautiful and surreal at the same time.  The one concept that was so cool and refreshing in Bermuda was the following:

Each registered reveller received drink and food chits.  The drink trucks were at-large drink trucks which meant that as long as you had a drink chit, you could get drinks from ANY truck on the road no matter which band it was behind or next to. Therefore there was no drink truck that was assigned to a particular band.  Everybody LOVED this concept.

This allowed people to travel within the bands and created less of an "I play in this band and you play in that band" experience.  It also removed the need for security to constantly hunt for people to put out of a band.  It created a "we are the world" experience.  I can't tell you how much I dislike that "centipede line" of security that weaves in and out of the band in Trinidad Carnival. Don't get me wrong, I understand it and it is very efficient if something occurs because they can encircle the threat and immobilize it. I get it. However, the steroid-like strength some of the security get due to the "strength in numbers" phenomenon creates a bullying atmosphere on the road at times. Maybe its just me. But I do feel like the bumping and pushing is a bit much. Such did not occur here.

All Inclusive?

Pardon my bias. I do NOT drink alcohol, so read this from my particular bias that I bring to the table.

On another note, many persons were unhappy with the fact that after their drink chits ran out that they had to pay for drinks. This usually occurred with the persons who are used to an all-inclusive road experiences.  I'm not sure why this was a problem though because very clearly on the band registration site at www.BermudaHeroesWeekend.com it reads that there will be Two (2) drink tickets

Personally, I can CLEARLY see how limiting the drinks was a benefit. Especially in the first year. As a promoter, you just want things to go as smoothly as possible.  And it's easier to negotiate that point with the government and governing bodies AFTER you've run a smooth carnival and wonderful event that has brought revenue to the island.  So that is an easy fix, if one chooses to fix it.  Whether that will change or not, I'm not sure but it did have it's benefits.  I do not drink and I appreciated the sober judgement of the majority of the crowd.  

Now when it came to the drink chits,  the only issue was that when your chits ran out that you had to pay for water.  It was too damn hot to have to pay for water or run the risk of running out of money or not bringing any and then not being able to drink!! That is something that must be remedied. I can only imagine being on the road and beginning to get thirsty. Once that happens.... PARTY DONE!! You will dehydrate and be reduced to trying to play catch-up in terms of hydrating yourself and that's a losing battle.

After The Road

After the road, all the bands positioned their trucks on what seemed like a pier. It was surrounded by water and the ambiance was perfect. The restrooms which were available were plentiful and clean.  Lyrikal and Kes got up on the big trucks and gave some impromptu performances. Kerwin was on the ground limin with the people, taking pictures and having a great time.  I was mostly observing The Carnival Ref as he demonstrated the "Whodini Wine." 

I believe the coolest part of the day is when the trucks were battling back and forth going song for song. It created an atmosphere of pride for your band but it also allowed EVERY reveller to enjoy the sounds from a truck other than theirs. It was in harmony with the feeling that was provided from having drink trucks which anyone could have gone to in order to get a drink. It created a sense of togetherness. I really can't explain it other than saying that everybody felt like they were a member of your family.

On The Way Back
To The Hotel

On the way back to the hotel as we were leaving the pier I had an opportunity to speak with many of the carnival participants and they just sang the praises for carnival in Bermuda. There were so many smiles and people that were satisfied with the experience.  I also asked, "What could have made the experience even better?"  The common themes were more elaborate costumes, better costume production and all-inclusive drinks.  The costume production and quality concerns were made by the women who also would have like to have other elaborate options. There were more "t-shirt" band options than what one would expect in terms of preparing for "pretty mas" on the road. Women like costumes and they like options. That's the bottom line :-)

Other than that, there were absolutely no complaints and people have a wonderful time.

Personally, I wish there would have been MORE options to pay for food. I was really hungry and just wanted a nice plate of protein (i.e. jerk chicken or some beef kabobs) but the lines were so long that waiting would have added to my hunger pangs.  A few more vendors for food would have been nice.  And I will admittedly say that I was having this problem because I was NOT prepared and did NOT bring my snacks as I usually do.

The Carnival Doctor's
road recommendation
for the Bermuda Carnival
Parade Of Bands

1. Always travel with snacks (but this goes for ANY carnival). My favorite road-pick-me-ups are GU gels, Snickers bars and (3) three or (4) four 100 calorie packs of almonds. It provides a nice sugar/carb hit while on the road and is something that can keep you energized. The fat in the almonds is enough to hold yuh until you get some food on the road or back to your hotel.  

2. Invest in a CamelPak. You may not always need it but it is like a coat in the summer. It's better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.  I've completed marathons and half marathons with a CamelPak and without one. I am familiar enough with hydration strategies so that I don't necessarily need a CamelPak on the road but I'm also always urinating because I drink so much water. That's slightly irritating but not being hydrated is a no-no!

3. Check the color of your urine in the morning after you get up and take your "morning pee." If it is really yellow and not close to being clear, then you really need to hydrate before you get on the road.  NOT WITH orange juice or soda or the like. Drink water!! Don't worry about the gatorade, etc.,. You can get some of those things on the road. Water and Coconut water!

4. One of the first things that you should do, no matter what carnival you attend - make a stop at the gas station or store and get water and coconut water for your room. Stay hydrated!


Unless there is just something out of the norm going on in my life, I can pretty much tell you that I am in Bermuda next year for Carnival.  Hell, it was a fantastic experience and for their 1st carnival ever was absolutely amazing. 

The pictures and videos online don't do it justice.  The people were nice. The hotel staff were nice. There was no garbage on the street (which was stunning to see).  When I got off the plane I noticed there was no garbage.... ANYWHERE!!  The place is so clean.  

As I digress, Bermuda Carnival was a wonderful experience and I would HIGHLY recommend it.

Biggup To The General Jason Sukdeo!!!! Job well done carnival soldier :-)

Blessings From Here To There,

Rhadi Ferguson, PhD
"The Carnival Doctor"
Instragram - @TheCarnivalDoctor

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

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

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