We Kinda Ting I was quite excited to go pick up my mas costumes. The location was in what seemed like a gated in community. After I parked and walked up there was a small line. It was outside a garage where they held the costumes. The We Kinda Ting staff was extremely friendly and very helpful. The costumes were even much more beautiful in person, the stones and bling were gorgeous. The staff went through your order with you to make sure everything was complete. They even handed me a wristband, they made sure they let us know how important it is to wear the bracelet or there will be no entry into the park.
The packaging for the costume was perfect. Costumes were placed in a box labeled with my name on it. Inside the pieces of my costume were wrapped neatly in plastic wrapping and neatly packaged. I was a little nervous about the wire bra they gave me because I thought it looked quite big. However they reassured me with the wire bra when trying it on you must mold it to your shape that way it will keep in place. They were absolutely correct, I did a few bends and twists and I was all set for the road. We Kinda Ting are now as of 2013 Carnival 7 time band of the year.
So I wanted to also feature a new up and coming band that was on the road for the first time. As I parked the car in the parking lot of good ole downtown Atlanta, I got a view of the more urban side of ATL, considering I was in the suburbs, due to my hotel being in Norcross. The meeting point to pick up the mas costumes for Bacchanalist was at Footprints Restaurant. When we arrived we asked the manager if this is where the Bacchanalist Mas Camp was held. She had no knowledge of the meeting, and insisted that I come inside and have a drink. I did eventually have a drink as I waited for the bandleaders to arrive.
When the bandleader Katara arrived, it was all smiles and excitement as she hugged me hello. The girls who were picking up their costumes were excited try them on and they all came out to show off their costumes. The costumes were placed in bags that were adorned in rhinestones that had their names spelled out in the rhinestones. Such a crafty neat idea.
As the girls flaunted their costumes, the owner of the Restaurant, politely asked the bandleader if she can shut down shop because he wasn’t aware of the extremities of what a mas camp pick up was, he had children in the restaurant and didn’t want girls in mas costumes walking around in the little secluded section. He informed us that there were complaints from customers in the restaurant, so they had the band removed from the mas camp. We left that area and went to a store in the underground mall that sold boots. I was able to score some very cheap boots for carnival under $10.00 US due to it being out of season and on sale. I was a very happy camper.
Now everyone knows, when it’s a big holiday weekend (Memorial Weekend), or a big Carnival Season, there are plenty plenty fetes. It’s so hard to choose which ones to go to. You want to go where you know you’ll have fun, plenty vibes, nuff drinks, and pretty ladies, handsome fellas. Now that a promoter can’t necessarily promise HA! You can’t assume everyone is gorgeous. Every day was a challenge, because I knew I wanted to go where I can give the people reading the blog, the ultimate WILD OUT experience.
Now there were two shows that caught my attention. The Bunji Garlin Anti Stush show, and Flag Fete. Both which had a heavy buzz behind them. I was so tired from my early morning flight and so tired from jumping off a plane to going straight to a photo shoot. I took an hour rest and said OK MANDY WHAT ARE YOU DOING TONIGHT. As much as I love Bunji Garlin, I couldn’t see myself getting ready in less than 30 min to make it to show time, so Flag Fete it is.
Arrived to the parking lot and I could see a huge line. Well let me let everyone know this, I HATE WAITING IN LINE, and I refuse to WAIT in any line. So after paying the parking lot attendee $5.00 to park (not bad price), My Photographer and I walked straight to the front of the line. My Photographer had linked one of the DJs that was on the line up for the night (DJ Kevy Kev) and let the bouncer know we are his guests. He went to go get Kevy Kev, and moments later the slapped on the VIP bands and in the club we went.
As soon as we walked through the doors I saw a ridiculous amount of people everywhere. The Club was called Harlem Nights, and boy was this club well ram! I couldn’t believe how many people were here. My original thought was, every other party in town had to have flopped because the WHOLE OF ATLANTA was in this club. As we made our way through the club to get to the DJ Booth, I recognized a familiar voice; it was Giselle D’ Wassi One on the mic. So after that I knew the party vibes was set. She does rhel get on, and full of hype and vibes. She brings the vibes to every party she hosts.
The club had two floors I believe, and unfortunately I never made it to the second floor because I was having too much fun down stairs on the 1st floor. I saw a ton of recognizable faces from New York. There were also several Team Soca DJs in the party as well. DJ Spice from Brooklyn, made his way to the DJ Booth in Brooklyn, and there were plenty good Vibes. This Flag Fete Tun Up LOUD.
Bartenders were nice, the bottle service was great, the hookah girls were pretty, and the Bouncers were, well they were doing their job. I did notice every Bartender had a heavy Bumpa so I am sure there are plenty tips. Ha.
Side note: As a woman we like to check ourselves in the mirror, so I took a trip to the bathroom to freshen up and I was pleased to see a bathroom attendant well stacked with gum, mints, lotion, body spray, lip gloss etc. Just leave a tip and you can use any of the toiletries available. I felt a little awkward when everyone kept asking to take a picture of me and asked me if I was an artist or a model. I don’t consider myself either. Especially not an artist.
Pictured Above XoXo Mandy and MC Giselle the Wassi One
Pictured above XoXo Mandy and V.I. Music Artist Adam O’Neal
So after the fetting in Harlem Nights at the flag party, we headed on down to Mangos Caribbean Restaurant, which was the next street over. The after party was more of a lime. There was music, plenty people, no cover charge, just the purchase of food and drink at the restaurant if you planned on getting something to eat. The crowd died down a little after 5:00am.
So of course, it’s the night before carnival and what else could you do other than DUH, go to jouvert. So there were two jouverts going on. Outdoor jouvert $10.00, and indoor Jouvert $20.00. When you think of jouvert, you think of mud, paint, oil, powder; you think of an organized mess. Well perhaps that’s what I was thinking. So when I was going through my suitcases I was thinking, ok what exactly can I wear to get torn up and dirty. Nothing in my suitcase fits the description. I thought to myself. Well since I have tickets to the indoor jouvert, there is no way a nightclub would be ok with people making a chaotic mess inside their club. So I decided to get prettied up. Thank goodness I went with my gut feeling, because as we arrived to the club The Atrium it was filled with people dressed in club wear.
There were two rooms, the smaller room but not by much. It was filled wall-to-wall, playing strictly dancehall and reggae music. In the larger room there was wall to wall filled to capacity as well. That room I drew closer to seeing as though it was soca soca soca!!!
There was a large stage and Patrice Roberts performed. She did a great job grabbing the crowds' attention. I've seen Patrice perform several times, last time was this past February in Trinidad. She always brings energy to the stage. The crowd sang along to every word, and when she sang, they held on to every word. She whined, bubbled, and used her waistline to her advantage. She did such a great job the crowd begged her to stay. At one point I handed her my Trini flag to wave proudly in the air. - I didn't get my flag back but that's ok. Great Job Patsy.
After a long day of dancing on the road, and in the stadium, I heard about all the soca I ould inject into my memory bank. It was time to play a different tune Satuday night. I decided to check out club Pisces. The majority of the music played that night was all reggae and dancehall; and of course this club was jam-packed. My friends and I had a blast. We arrived around 3:15 am the fee for this club was $30.0 for this particular party. They had cheaper presold tickets, as they do for all parties, and I do recommend everyone pre purchase tickets online before hand to save money. We were told the club would end at 5:00 am however it was over by 4:30. Nevertheless we still enjoyed ourselves. I will recommend coming earlier to the party, because the bars were closed, and if you could feel how hot it was in this club that bottle of water I was dying to have could have, been a life saver. Overall this party was nice, the club was nice, and the music was great.
Pictured above XoXo Mandy and Bianca Star
So Sunday was going to be my relax day. Hang by the pool, get some rest, and soak up some sun. Boy was I so wrong. My friend who happens to be one of my favorite DJs From an International Sound based out of New York named Spoil Brattz Sound, “Frankie Please”, was in town with whom he backs up on stage, the legend Kerwin Du Bois. They invited me to Kerwin’s show that was later that night, and of course, I gladly accepted.
The show was an outdoor stage show. There were other artist performing including Bajan Artist Rupee, and Jamaican Artist Demarco. This show was more of a nice family show. There were children and families around. Overall it was a great atmosphere. Definitely a great fete to wind down all the crazy feting I had over the weekend.
The artist all did a great job performing, and they also were kind enough to stay and hang out and talk and take pictures with their fans. They also had time for interviews and stayed through until the end of the night. We arrived in time to see all the performances. I’ve seen Kewin Du Bois perform several times, and every time I see him perform he is full of life and full of energy. He has great stage presence and is very well connected with his fans. This was a bess fete. I enjoyed the show.
Stay tuned for Part Three on the ATL carnival parade!
About The Writer:
Amanda Toney, who goes by XoXo Mandy, currently lives in Boston Massachusetts. She graduated from college with her Bachelors Degree in Business Management and Masters in Business Management. From birth she was initiated into the life of Carnival. Some will say she is the epitome of a Carnival Baby. Although she works hard in her corporate world, she loves to venture off with new opportunities to travel and visit and experience the carnivals of the world. She has been to several carnival but Amanda happily admits, "there is NO PLACE ON THIS EARTH LIKE TRINIDAD CARNIVAL." She is a Trini Native and a soca junkie. She is very well connected and has a lot of first hand experience in the "carnival experience." Amanda also helps out with D'Horizon MAS Camp in Boston. Carnivals Amanda has attended and played MAS throughout the years Trinidad, Point Fortin Borough Day, Boston, Cambridge, New York, New Jersey, Miami, Atlanta, Atlantic City, Philly, DC, and Toronto Caribana. In the Near Future I would love to attend Jamaica Bachannal, Barbados Crop Over London Carnival and Brazil Carnival. In the States I would like to venture off to Hollywood Carnival and Houston CarnivalIf Amanda could make this her long life career, she'd be a great carnival expert. "Live your life like you playing mas, by Kes feat. David Rudder, is how is I love to describe my love for life and carnival, peace love and unity. Hope you enjoy embarking on my adventures of carnival through my eyes. Hope you fall in love with carnival and all it has to offer. Enjoy, and Come Play Ah Mas !
For More about Mandy check out:
About Nickai Photography:
Photographer Nickai ( https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Nickai-Photography-Inc/148701911809314 ) though schooled in Photography pre-digital era, started shooting professionally for the internationally noted Poisondart Sound and within a matter of a few years becoming a regular on the Florida Caribbean Entertainment circuit. Never seen without his camera too far out of reach the passion is apparent in the fact that everything is a target for his eye! Presently pursuing a curiosity for cinematography and filmmaking while working as House Photographer for www.cineenigma.com ( Cine Enigma Studios ) and honing his fine art photography skills through various projects of his own, be sure to pay attention to his name scrolling on credits for camera work on short films, music videos, documentaries and all of the sort. Culturally inspired works celebratory of nature; it’s beauty beholden by a keenly trained lens aspire to bring you around one way or another for a closer look at a recognizable and admirable style for his trade and craft.