Carnival News

Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival 2022: Major Updates

By Posted on 2min read52 views

On May 10th, there was a major buzz on social media, as it was announced that 6 bands had left Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival 2022 and moved downtown. Citing a reduction of allowed music trucks on the route, the 6 bands felt they would best provide a great experience downtown with its parade route.  These bands include:

 
 

What this means for ATL-Dekalb

The Atlanta-Dekalb Carnival parade route was primarily on a state road.  Government officials mandated a reduction to 18 trucks on Covington Highway.  As a result, many smaller bands agreed to merge with one music truck and one for food, drinks, and other utilities.  Below is a list of bands still participating, along with those who have merged:

  • Vibez and Vision
  • Sokah Feters/Atlanta Junkanoo
  • Feter’s Army/ Paradise
  • T&T Garage Boys/ Sesame Atlanta/ Classi Waves
  • Madd Flava/ Unity Mas Band/ We Live
  • Mas Vibez
  • Panyarders Mas
  • Entice Mas
  • AIRS
atlant dekalb carnival 2022 parade route
The parade route has changed.

The parade route has changed. It The ATL-Dekalb Carnival parade route now starts at Covington Hwy near International Roti House 3703 Covington Hwy, Decatur, GA 30032.  It will end at 4380 Memorial Drive, Decatur, GA, 30032.

 

What this means for (downtown) Atlanta Carnival

(Downtown) Atlanta’s carnival parade has been sparse and will realize its largest carnival event since the split in 2014/2015.  Their parade route hasn’t changed. Click here to learn about Atlanta Carnival.

Check out my interview with Chigga, the president of the Atlanta Carnival Bandleader’s Association (ACBA).

Some keynotes: 

  • Masqueraders registered with bands migrated downtown will not attend the Atlanta Dekalb Carnival festival village for free.
  • The parade is set to last four hours.  It is a requirement that all the mas bands clear Covington Highway in 2.5 hours.
  • There have been no changes to J’ouvert. 
  • This year’s carnival may be the last we see on a road.  Look for information on a move to a park or stadium.
In conclusion, yes! Many large bands have left Atlanta-Dekalb, but don’t sleep on the smaller bands! It’s still a GREAT vibe! I am actually excited to play Mas with Entice this year, and am optimistic that we will still have an amazing time.  See you on the road!

 

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COVID Entry Requirements: Saint Lucia Carnival

By Posted on 2min read48 views

I’m excited to go to Saint Lucia Carnival this year. :: insert internal squee:: I got everything in order, but I am ashamed to admit that I nearly forgot about COVID.  It’s still a thing, and we need to make sure we have a plan to ensure we meet no delays getting there and back.  Here’s all you need to know about the COVID entry requirements for Saint Lucia Carnival and where to get tested.

Check out my Saint Lucia Carnival guide for information on emergency contact numbers, hospitals, and clinics.

saint lucia covid entry requirements

Saint Lucia entry requirements

These entry requirements come directly from the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority, effective April 2, 2022.

FULLY VACCINATED:  Saint Lucia dropped its testing and quarantine requirements. That means that as long as you have your COVID vaccination card, you are cleared to arrive and move freely in Saint Lucia. Likewise, be prepared to show your vaccination record before you board your flight.

For clarity, to be fully vaccinated means to have received your last series at least two weeks before travel.

UNVACCINATED:  You must provide a negative PCR test five days before travel.  If you contracted COVID-19 90 days before traveling, you could test positive for some time.  Therefore, prepare yourself to bring the right documents.  

Note: A medical professional must perform or supervise the PCR test.

Health screening form

All travelers must complete a health screening form.  I suggest you download and complete the form before you get there.  You can download and print the screening form here.

Showing your test results upon entry

As stated above, unvaccinated travelers must show negative PCR results.  Make sure your results contain the following:

Saint Lucia COVID test result requirements
Your PCR test must have the following information.

Make sure you arrive with the right documentation. Otherwise, you will pay for subsequent testing and be subject to quarantine until the results arrive.

Returning to the United States

According to the CDC, all travelers (regardless of vaccination status) must provide a negative test result. The test must be collected within 24 hours of travel. If you had COVID in the last 90 days, you will have to provide a document stating you have recovered.

Unlike Saint Lucia, the US accepts rapid antigen and viral antigen tests.  Alternatively, you are allowed to perform self-tests under some limitations. For more information, click here.

If you stay in a hotel or Airbnb, guest services will tell you where you can get tested.  Alternatively, the Saint Lucia Travel Authority recommends:

Saint Lucia Lab Services

Rodney Bay Medical Center

For information on what happens if you test positive, click here.

There will be thousands of tourists on the island for Saint Lucia Carnival. Make sure you can get home without complications by planning ahead. I can’t wait to see you on BAM-BAM wall!

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Vaval Weekend Atlanta 2022

By Posted on 2min read49 views

Vaval Weekend Miami 2021 was TRENDING, and it was not the event to miss.  The good news is the Vaval series is coming to Atlanta for carnival weekend, May 27th-30.  In other words, you probably don’t want to miss this either. Here’s what you need to know.

The birth of Vaval Weekend

Sponsorships Vaval Weekend
The team behind Vaval Weekend Miami.

St. Lucia Carnival went viral in 2019. As a result, going to SLU to experience “bam wall” was all the rage for 2020.  But thanks to COVID-19, we all know how things unfolded.   As a result, the Vaval Weekender series was created in 2021 to bring the fete and carnival experience to ease our tabanca.  Culminating events with a unique St. Lucian flair, the event is also inspired by the cultural elements of St. Vincent, Barbados, and Grenada. The powerhouses backing Vaval Weekend Atlanta include Xuvo (the mas band), NinjaFete, TonyX ent. and Back to Basics.

Vaval in Atlanta

Vaval Weekend Photo
Vaval Weekend "Bend" 2021.

Vaval Miami 2021 had 8 events.  On the other hand, the team has put together two unforgettable experiences for Atlanta Carnival weekend, so that they do not outshine all the originating fetes taking place over the years.  See more information about each of the fetes below.

Cooler Fete Vaval Weekend

Firstly, Vaval Weekend brings their Koölər fete on May 27th, 2022, at StudioX in Atlanta, GA.  Bring your small coolers, your vibes, and your flag!  The doors open at 5 pm, and all coolers must be in by 9. 

Basic cooler fete rules apply.  In other words, no oversized coolers, no ice, no chasers, and no glass bottles except champagne.  

Vaval Road Atlanta 2022

Sponsored by We Kinda Ting Mas (WKT), the experience ends with Vaval Road on May 30th. You can purchase an entry-only ticket or a lunch-inclusive, including food and drinks. Similarly, entry-only patrons can purchase food and beverages from designated stations. Bring your Monday wear and the vibes. Be on the lookout for Monday wear designs, which you can purchase, especially for this event.

Vaval Weekend 2021
Photo from Vaval Weekend Miami 2021 "Sunlit" fete.

In conclusion, you can purchase tickets to Vaval Weekend Atlanta by clicking the button below.  I hope to see you there!

Masqueraders registered with WKT get a special discount on their tickets. Check with We Kinda Ting for more information or standby for an email from the Vaval team.

I will update this blog as more information rolls in.  

Meanwhile, click here if you want to learn more about Atlanta or Atlanta Dekalb Carnival.

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Trinidad Carnival 2022: Safe Zone Events

By Posted on 2min read58 views

After a lot of speculation and rumor, the Prime Minister announced Trinidad Carnival 2022 will be reduced to safe zone events. I found it amusing that people were surprised or saddened by the news. I have a healthcare background, so I was not surprised whatsoever.

Trinidad Carnival Costumes
Trinidad carnival festivities at the socadrome

Stakeholders in Trinidad Carnival were optimistic about the outcome of Miami Carnival 2021. 

Miami hosts the largest Caribbean carnival in the United States. The state of Florida did not report a surge in COVID 19. As a result, people had the hope that Trinidad and Toabago could hold a major event.

But let’s not forget that Trinidad Carnival brings people from all over the world to a scale that far exceeds the Miami Carnival.

Trinidad and Tobago is doing exactly the right thing in my book.

Economic impact of no Carnival in Trinidad

Carnival is woven into the culture and economy of Trinidad and Tobago. The carnival season generates revenue for not only the tourist sector, but also for entertainers, security, hospitals, media, retail and other small businesses.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Trinidad and Tobago reported that more than 78,000 tourists visited Carnival in 2020.  Tourists spent more than 12,000TT on average, and stayed for approximately 12 days.  

There is no doubt that the impact of no Trinidad carnival is felt at a micro and macroeconomic level.    

 

Vaccination rates and new cases

COVID-19 vaccines have been available for about year and yet approximately 46% of Trinidad and Tobago is fully vaccinated.

In the last 14 days, there have been more than 7,700 new cases and 29 deaths in the last seven days.

With a rise in COVID cases in Trinidad and Tobago currently, it goes to question as to whether even safe zone events are a good idea.

So what's a safe zone event?

Caesar's Army twitter
Recent tweet from Caesar's Army.

No one knows the answer at this point.  Caesar’s army is hinting at something special, and I will definitely keep my eyes peeled.

Personally, I will not go to in 2022, even for safe-zone events. But I will definitely prepare for the Trinidad Carnival in 2023.

Would you like to live vicariously through me?  Read all about my experiences at Trinidad Carnival 2020 with Lost Tribe.

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Jamaica Carnival: Broken Trust?

By Posted on 3min read34 views

November 2019. I gathered my crew and started to get ready for Carnival in Jamaica.  We waited until we saw all the band launches before we can to a decision: Xodus would be the best fit for the crew.  Shortly after Trinidad carnival, COVID-19 became very real. Jamaica carnival was “postponed” until October 2020 because of the pandemic. Then postponed again. Then postponed again…this time, with no future date in sight.

A lot of people asked about refunds.  I understood the situation and asked for dialogue about shipping of the costume that I paid in FULL March 2020.  But after all that was said and done, I was left to feel that my faith in the business was taken advantage of in the long run.

Below is a detail of my experience to get resolution all the way up to my bank dispute results. I  also shared my opinion on how my experience with Xodus carnival has taught me to never again exercise that kind of faith in any mas band when it comes to cancellations and postponements.

I was optimistic about Jamaica Carnival.

Jamaica Carnival Postponed
Jamaica carnival was postponed to October 25, 2020 and postponed yet again the following year.

I remember talking to people that demanded refunds right away. When I look back on it, I wonder if they were blessed with a special sense, because THEY HAD IT RIGHT ALL ALONG.  Meanwhile, I was empathizing with the Jamaica carnvial mas bands. We were but six weeks out from Jamaica carnival when it was postponed, and I assumed that production for the costumes were probably mostly done.  How do you give people money back that has already been spent?

I feared that bankrupting mas bands would illuminate a grim future for Jamaica carnival.  So, I decided to practice faith in the business and wait until October 2020.

Jamaica Carnival postponed
Another postponement March 23, 2021. No new date has been announced.

(Reasonably) seeking solutions.

Jamaica carnival was “postponed” two more times. The last one was met with no future date.  I wasn’t really upset about this because Jamaica had a low vaccination rate, and a rise in active COVID-19 cases.  I thought about the island country’s medical infrastructure. As a physician assistant, postponing Jamaica carnival made total sense. 

Xodus Jamaica Carnival email
I reached out to Xodus to discuss at minimum getting my costume, and received no response.

Xodus carnival turned their comments off on instagram.  I reached out to the band via email about possibly getting my costume. I went to login to my account with Xodus only to find that although their website was running, the system they used to maintain record of my payments was no longer available.  I received no response to the email, and there was no phone number listed to call.  Luckily, I still had my bank transactions on record and my email confirmations of all my payments.

The bank dispute with Xodus.

As a last ditch effort, I took my issue to my bank.  Within less than 7 business days, my bank received a response from the merchant.  If only they could have responded to my emails that quickly because its been exactly 8 months to the DAY since I contacted them. 

Their response was the following:

  1. I allegedly identified the wrong merchant. 
  2. I was the one that cancelled attending Jamaica carnival.

After discussing this with the bank representative, she also revealed that a lot of businesses have been intentionally dragging their customers out past the six month mark JUST so they would not be able to dispute with their banks.

Just typing #2 makes me furious all over again.  I felt duped. Me, a first time masquerader for Jamaica carnival. I got seriously played by the band I exercised so much faith. Never again.

 

A very expensive lesson.

I personally would love to still experience Jamaica carnival in the future, but I intend to go with a much more shrewd and unforgiving guise over my coin.  This is an almost $900 lesson that I will never forget.  Unless I personally know the band members, I will never again exercise that much faith in a business that might be prepared to have its customers eat the risk of unforseen events.  I hope to never see another pandemic in this lifetime.  But if it happens again, Im going to just outright demand a refund on the spot. Sorry, not sorry.  

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Is “Carnival En” the next cool-down experience?

By Posted on 3min read51 views

This is a sponsored post.

I remember stumbling across advertisements for Carnival En Cancun earlier this year, but I paid it no mind due to my pending move.  Shortly before Miami Carnival I was encouraged to look at their Carnival En Punta Cana edition. Let’s see what I found out!

Who and what is "Carnival en"?

Band logo of silent morning. Sunglasses on top of silent morning text.

Carnival En is backed by organizers of the silent morning fete and their water colours j’ouvert Boat rides.  Bringing their experience in producing high-quality Caribbean events, they have curated a four-day Caribbean carnival experience with the goal of easing your tabanca and/or providing that hyper-inclusive experience that affords you that a proper cool-down after your carnival jump. Do you miss carnival? This is for you.  Do you want a taste of Carnival but not ready to take the plunge? This is also for you.  Do you feel like you need to relax after a carnival jump? This is for you too!

 So, what does it mean to be hyper-inclusive you ask?  Carnival en guarantees that the moment you land in Punta Cana, every need that you could possibly have would be provided for you in this experience. So pack your clothes, a costume and bring your vibes.  Carnival en has got the rest.

Carnival en Punta Cana

Carnival en Punta Cana is set to take place December 10-13, 2021 at the Barcelo Bavaro Grand Resort in Punta Cana, DR. But don’t bring the kids! This adults-only, all-inclusive facility is settled on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches and features 10 restaurants, 16 bars and 7 swimming pools.  It also boasts plenty of room for activities with tennis courts, a golf course, casino, and a bowling alley so that you can relax, dine, and bust a wine. Attached are photos from the carnival en punta cana website.

One Experience. Four Events.

Below is a list and description of each of the events with photos and videos taken from their youtube and social media posts.

List of features of the Carnival En Event. Drinks, Events, Food, Bar, 24 hour service
Features listed on the Carnival En Website

The Cure. The signature beachwear cruise of Carnival En. INNOCULATE yourself with soca & alcohol while we sail alongside one of the most beautiful beaches. Freshly made meals prepared on the water by local chefs.

Relive. Bring your carnival costume! Relive the euphoria of carnival past as we recreate the vibe from the road. Pack your headpieces, chest pieces, leg pieces and enjoy the “Carnival En” experience.

Breakfast ‘En. Soca for breakfast, why not? A succinct reason to enjoy our vice, Soca in de morning alongside a hearty serving of alcohol and of course finely prepared “breakfast food”.

White Sands. The penultimate event of your Carnival En weekend has to be an all-white affair. Let go of all inhibitions on a scenic sandy beach as we dance the night away. Let the ocean breeze & Soca transcend us…

Let’s talk about price point.

The price of packages depends on whether or not you want an ocean view along with how many occupants will be in the room ($940-$1300).  But no stress, everyone is a VIP! All packages include your airport shuttle services, full access to the amenities of the resort, a mini bar restocked daily, 24-hour room service, transportation to and from all events and COVID testing so that you can return home. 

Link up with Carnival En

I think that we can all agree that carnival is not a vacation so a good cool down definitely needed.

Carnival En is on my radar, and I will continue to watch the development of this exciting brand. Who knows? You just might run into me at a future installation.

Meanwhile, you can connect with them by clicking the icons below. If you’ve attended a “Carnival en” event, I would love to get your feedback!

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