I decided to play Sunday mas aka “dutty mas” with Chocolate Nation . I decided to play with them because my first love is Trini soca, they always have good DJs and they’re the only band to throw chocolate rather than paint or powder. Also it was Chocolate Nation’s 10 year anniversary year and their teasing proclaimations of something special to celebrate, was incredibly enticing.
Carnival can be extremely costly when not planned in advance. The early bird catches the worm / the slightly cheaper priced tickets. Consequently I made sure I purchased the initial release packages (early bird) for £25 as opposed to the £35 standard price. They later released a leotard in however for me the standard carnival leotards cut me off at an awkward pace – do nothing for my body and no cleavage. Also this year to commemorate their 10 year anniversary they linked up Live Love Soca to create a special and more flattering red collection featuring a standard T-shirt, standard leotard and zip down hooded leotard. I was tempted by the zip down hooded leotard and the potential for cleavage and built in hair protector.
So the music and DJ was amazing, after the jump up jump up of Dreamland a bachannal based/ power soca band was refreshing, Obviously they still had jab-jab and dennery section but at least I could breathe. The heat was everything and was perfect carnival weather. The complete opposite to last year’s dutty mas, I loved it. Unfortunately I feel security didn’t do their job. We had so many band members and stormers – which detracts from the experience. This is unfortunately a carnival wide problem – the sun brings out people ignorant or carnival conventions who don’t understand the significance of judging point. I know it’s only dutty mas and the major costumes / main day for costume is Monday but judging point is important. I understand the objective is to get messy and covered in chocolate, but some structure would be nice. If I had paid £80-100 for the limited edition Live Love Soca packages – I would’ve been annoyed.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS . Did I enjoy myself – yes! Was it worth the money I paid for it – most definitely! Will I play Chocolate Nation again – probably! Is it the best time I’ve had – no! I must admit that physically I didn’t feel as good as I did last year. They failed to live up to their 10 year anniversary hype and all the surprises they announced they announced they had planned. Other then having King Bubba perform and the limited edition Live Love Soca collaboration, it didn’t feel any special.
A relatively new band (only 5 years old) and experiencing all the teething issues that come with initial stages of growth – this is a band for feters. Playing the best in Grenadian soca aka jab-jab and dennery, I had my caffeinated glucose drinks at the ready. Island Mas aren’t likely to win any awards in terms of artistry and constuctions but the atmosphere especially sans major performers is unrivalled.
I chose to do blue T-Shirt All Inclusive package for £45 instead of the blue £60 Al Inclusive Leotard or the green £30 T-Shirt only package (which increases to £50). Like I mentioned earlier, I just feel like the leotards on me are not flattering and I love the all the benefits of the all inclusive. Island Mas were definitely one of the cheaper bands with more established bands such as Chocolate Nation charging £100 for a parallel experience. It has less goodies in the bag but it had everything that I really cared about.
The jab jab atmosphere and spirit of Grenada is so lit – not a “stoosh” vibe to be present. Do something crazy hits differently when you’re actually crazy and Grenadians are crazy. There’s nothing pretty or bouji about Island Mas, it’s all about the energy and running. The comradery you feel when jabbing / moshing is ridiculous. I broke nails, lost possession and acquired so many new scratches and bruises but I regret absolutely nothing. We had appearances from Lil Natty and Thunder who entertained the crowd with wig shifting, shoe losing tracks such as “Top Striker” & “Get In Your Section”. Mr Killa. Also the security did their job by making sure the majority of the people between the ropes had paid to be there. The only irritating thing was their poor punctuality – I should have expected this as they also organise Dreamland. Breakfast was meant to start 8.30 with a 9.30-10.00 departure time. Unfortunately the food wasn’t served until 9.15am and we failed to leave on time. I wasn’t overly mad because no band leaves on time I just wished I had slept more. I know I could have met them on the route but I hate wasting time looking for the correct truck and it gets so much harder to find the truck mid route when there’s other people.
I lived my best life at carnival. The nature of each day means its difficult to compare the 2 days but I can honestly say my preferred day was Monday . Typically Sunday is my favourite day as it’s quieter, more authentic and less influencer laden. Normally Sunday’s paint and powder is a deterrent for the Instagram obsessed folk but this year just felt different. Also on Sunday, the Chocolate Nation security people failed to their job and let non masqueraders into the band space. The saturation of stormers and randoms turned judging point into a farce and made it incredibly difficult to enjoy myself. Island Mas security did their thing, they’re performers were better and they were more liberal with their “rum” punch.