Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Atlanta Carnival- Part Three

Atlanta Carnival 2013

Getting Ready  As I ran to turn of my alarm,  I ran to the shower to get ready. I only had an hour and 15 minutes of sleep, because of course I was partying my life away at jouvert.  This is the life of a carnival baby, so I was very well prepared. The night before I laid out all my makeup and jewels that I would be decorating my face with.  I was in a city that I knew pretty much NO ONE. So I had no choice but to do my own makeup. 
There are a lot of photographers and videographers on the road during carnival. Making sure your picture perfect is always a must. Do not forget to use sun block.

After I  finished my makeup, my girl called me asking me to do her makeup, and also her friends. So we decided to head to her aunts house and do it since her family was there for the weekend, and wanted to see us girls in our costumes before we head out on the road. 

What turned into doing makeup for two people, turned into doing make up for six people.  Then of course makeup came along with 50,000 pictures. Honestly I have no clue where the time went because it went from 8:00am to 12:00 Noon in the matter of  minutes lol.


Carnival on the Road
            So after taking so many pictures, and realizing time flew by, we hopped in the Beamer and headed to find the band. Now of course be that it may, we were EXTREMLY late. I just didn’t realize how late we were.  If you are playing mas promise me you will eat something before you head out on the road its super important. I did not follow my own rule. I ate a few grapes and drank water and juice and a cookie. NOT CONSIDERED EATING. 

            We finally found the parade and jumped out the car and we were clearly beyond late. The parade started at 12:00 Noon, but we were suppose to meet the band at 10:00am. I kept saying to my self, “Oh well the party don’t start till we step in.” Absolutely not true…the party did start and they clearly took off hours ago and we played that cat and mouse game. We passed several bands in search of our band on the road. 

 Photo Credit: Chris Sharp Photography

The sun was beyond blazing hot there was no water in site.  Pedestrians and Patrons with their cameras asked us to  take pictures with us and asked us if they can pose alongside us. For a while we continued to stop and take pics, but after a while we decided ok we will never find our band if we keep taking pics. I was shocked after 45 min of walking, running, and chipping down the road till we met our band I was so surprised that our band was actually the first on the road. You can imagine on an empty belly I was beyond exhausted and thirsty. Nevertheless it was time to get on bad. 

            When we finally got to the band the fun began, the music was blaring, the colors from the costume were beautiful, and the southern hospitality was so sweet. We as Caribbean people always connect, so strangers become friends instantly for that moment.  I finally found people in the band giving out water and went straight for the water. Honestly that water saved me for the moment.  The whining, wukking up, and chipping lasted for at least 30 minutes, (we missed the whole parade). All of the sudden the DJ locked off the music and said the truck was leaving and we had to make our way to the judging point. 

            I was very confused,  not at all should the music stop, not at all should the vibes lock off, especially at a pivotal moment.  The truck left, and we were left figuring out how to reach the stadium. I heard small chat about how the route changed and this was a first and blah blah blah. I was kind of over the whole experience by now because after missing most of the parade, I thought it was all over. We finally made it to the stadium. We get to the gate, a man says that we are at the wrong entrance, so the whole band had to go back around the hill down the stairs and back up another hill. This was a whole lot of walking and no music, so my vibes and energy was gone.

            When we reached the correct entrance the gate was locked. I’m not sure what exactly was going on but we had a lot of just aimless sitting and hot sun. Finally after another half hour of sitting, we were admitted into the arena, and shortly after we crossed the stage. It wasn’t necessarily a stage, it was a football field and some grass. There was a DJ playing music and the selection wasn’t the best song to cross the stage over. That experience wasn’t the best in my eyes. 

            I was very dehydrated and needed water, we asked several bandleaders where could we get water.  They kept saying after you cross the stage, and judging point you can get water and food. Honestly the eagerness to cross the stage was solely at this point for water.  Again after crossing the stage we went to a locked gate. I don’t know if we knew where we were going, but everyone was complaining of dehydration and hunger. Finally we made it to the food and water, and I was pleased at the speed of the line for the food.

            I didn’t want to wait in the line much, so I just grabbed whatever they gave me, so with that I had jerk chicken, rice, and salad. We made our way to the stadium had a seat in the chairs and slowly took a rest.  We thought the whole carnival experience was over.  We saw people entering into the arena and different tables and tents set up with food, drinks, and items for sale. As we were headed to leave we heard dancehall music and saw speakers.
            Of course we see live DJs set up music pumping and we could not leave. For hours we hung out by the music danced our life away, took pictures with people who asked, and partied till the sun came down. A stage show, with several artists were about to perform and we stayed for a little, but we were completely exhausted.
For those just visiting the carnival and not playing mas, I encourage you to arrive early and buy tickets in advanced to get into the stadium, the price was about $15.00 or $20.00 but the line for those without tickets, was astronomical. The line was never ending. Also for those who didn’t have tickets it seemed near impossible to get tickets because everything looked so unorganized down by the entrance gate.

            Overall Atlanta Carnival was a fun experience. There were a lot of kinks and struggles along the way due to heavy amounts of no structure and things being very unorganized, however the parade route was a good length, the band I played with We Kinda Ting Mas had very beautiful costumes, they won which was great. They had a lot of vibes and the bandleaders were very helpful. There were kinks to work out along the way, but what is carnival without a little bacchanal. If choosing to play mas I suggest come play mas with We Kinda Ting, all-inclusive band and beautiful men and woman. I enjoyed the experience. I was asked if I would come back and do it again. Honestly I enjoyed myself at all the parties and the environment was great.

*Mandy’s Favorite
Places to Eat : Mangoes Caribbean Restaurant
Hotel to Stay at : Sheraton Downtown Atlanta
Mas Camp Choice: We Kinda Ting
Fetes to Go:  Flag Fete, Any Stage Show, Anything DJ Stephen Hosts
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:

@XoXoMandy617x Twitter
@XoXoMandy617x Instagram
@XoXoMandy617X Vine
 Amanda Toney on Facebook

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.


1 comment:

  1. Hey hun love the make up didnt know u blog glad i seen this to at least show some love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!