As a self-confessed Bacchanalist, attendance to international carnivals is paramount to fulfilling my best life. Don’t get me wrong I love Notting Hill Carnival, but sometimes fling up your batty on foreign “buddy”. I have a chronic urge to soak it to Soca in the sun, shot spirits and skin out to Spice. Luckily I have the littest group of Soca friends and when my friend propositioned me with an opportunity to go Berlin Carnival, I agreed despite knowing I might not be able to go due to exams. I bought a gold wristband with ‘Carnival Fever’ which provided me with entry into 7 different events, however I didn’t attend all as some events overlapped. There was a more expensive Platinum Package, which included entry into a J’ouvert event that occurred the day beforehand and a boat party but it didn’t seem worth it.
The daytime event was a beach themed soiree called “Soca on the Beach”. Like most raves, the atmosphere at the beginning was not amazing as no one is intoxicated and everyone’s waiting for someone to set pace. Also it was outside and unfortunately it was the only cold day. When I see beach and see soca, I instantly think skin out/ skimpy outfit, so stepping out of the Uber to see grey skies and people shivering was a mood killer. Thankfully alcohol exists, there was food and the music was lit. There was a pool but no one got time for hyperthermia so I just stuck to the bouncy castle.
The nighttime event was an all red event called Fire Fete. The club was a nice size with, bleaker seats, well ventilated and with 2 bars. This is perfect for me because I hate feeling claustrophobic in a club and soca fetes are essentially 5 hour aerobic-gymnastics class, so you’re girl needs the option of sitting down.
Similar to the previous day, there was a day party at a venue called Pirates. The venue was in close proximity to the Berlin wall, which was dope because the raving schedule didn’t allow for much sightseeing. This was more of a chill event, it was less drunken behaviour and dancing, the sun was shining and there was a mixture of cocktail and food options – both Caribbean and Eurocentric.
The nighttime event was Carnival Glow, which was an all white everything event, held in the same venue as the day before. This event was the highlight of my whole holiday because my unofficial baby daddy was performing aka Kes. Everyone knows I’ve been obsessed with Kes (and the band) for a while, but when he cut off his dreads, I was like bruhhhh… P A N T Y D R O P P E R. He played my favourites like Wotless, Workout and obviously “Hello, hello, hello, hello…“.
So unfortunately the actual carnival was a little bit of a let down. This was mainly due to the fact that the Carnival Fever float was the last float of the parade. This resulted in excessive waiting around – I literally waited for 2 hours for the float to play music – fortunately the costumes made for pleasant viewing. Being a first timer, the entire set up was alien to me, as unlike Notting Hill, where you can enter the parade at various points or go to a station, Berlin carnival only has 2 out of approximately 50 soca/ Dancehall floats. Following earlier floats wasn’t an option but standing next to a park and under trees when hayfever is kicking your arse really isn’t fun. Eventually the float did move and luckily the music was hype and the sun was still shining, so fun times happened on the road. In usual carnival fashion people had no behaviour: dancing on bus stops and climbing fences. I lost my shit all over again when Kes The Band performed and dancing to ‘Top Striker’ was everything.
The carnival was succeeded by the customary after party, in a new and smaller venue. The event was called ‘Soca or Die’ and was camouflage themed. Everyone knows I love good theme and I was channelling my inner Destiny’s Child. Skinny Fabulous performed and although I love a jab-jab riddim, me like literally everyone else in the rave was extremely tired. You could sense the fatigue in the club and the energy was super low. Soca is essentially non stop cardio so everyone was spent and the knowledge of an early flight weighed heavily on my mind.
My final verdict is Berlin was fun and the perfect introduction to international carnivals. Considering the fact that I only paid #100 for a wristband that got me into 5+ events, it was most definitely good value for money. The energy for the events was perfect so I advise everyone with a soca addiction to try it. Just make sure you take power naps. check the carnival schedule beforehand and shake the sand out of your shoe before you get back to your room.