I was never a fan of soca music. When the dj started to play this genre of music, that was my cue to head to my car. As one of my April first, in 2011 I returned home for Bacchanal Jamaica’s carnival. As is their recurring theme, the preliminary experience was the result of immense disorganization and an unapologetic lack of customer service. None-the-less, on carnival day I had the time of my life. That was it for me. Thereafter, a year has not passed without me playing mas (participating in) at least one carnival. This year I reluctantly attended Miami-Broward’s One carnival. At the advice of veteran attenders, I procured a costume with Mascot’s International. The pitch included their provision of all-inclusive liquor (as opposed to the limit placed on drinks by other bands), creative,  durable (very important as unintentional skimpiness is never a good look) costumes and an organized pick up process. At $295, the service, costumes and band vibe was well worth it. If I were to jump (participate) with Miami carnival again I would most certainly seek out their costumes first.

My experience at Miami carnival, 2014 was as best as one could expect of any non-Caribbean mas. There is simply nothing like it and no matter how much liquor one drinks or how much one tries to suspend their disbelief, there are constant reminders that this “just isn’t the real thing.” From the slow contrived pace of the trucks, to the fact that the venue is an enclosed space. Perhaps the highlight of the experience is crossing the stage, an experience of which many island carnivals no longer partake. This year, the festivities saw their first casualty and unfortunately it took place in Mascot International’s band. Masqueraders were very responsive and the woman who had been run over by the band’s beverage truck received immediate attention from both surrounding patrons and on-site EMS professionals. The event went on with the last band crossing the stage well after 10pm. All in all, it was a moderately satisfying experience.