You guys know I really like Carnival, however I with the price being so excessive and my love for touring the world being extra, I haven’t been in a dressing up since Caribana 2014. In reality, when you advised me that I’d be on the Carnival street to play once more, not to mention within the USA, I in all probability would have laughed out loud. Considerably lacking the street, I made a decision to play my first mas within the US at Atlanta Carnival 2022 and it was fairly an expertise. After a tossup between two bands and speaking with mates, I selected Mas with Panache for Atlanta DEKALB Carnival 2022.
Band Registration & Costume Fee
The choice to go to Atlanta Carnival was made in early March. I noticed a good friend’s Instagram story of her costume and went by the rabbit gap of determining dates and researching bands. Not solely did my cousin play with this band, however I used to be additionally advised Mas with Panache was one of many bands in Atlanta with the perfect customer support. Mas with Panache launched on the finish of January and registration lasted till the tip of March so I JUST made it. The theme for Mas with Panache for Atlanta Dekalb Carnival 2022 was Riddim 2.0 and I selected the part Ibeji which included a bodysuit and necklace for $340. I beloved the truth that this explicit costume’s bodysuit sizes ranged from XS-3XL.
Registration for me was a stroll within the park. After taking a look at costumes on Instagram, I went on to the Mas with Panache web site and paid the $170 deposit for my costume. I didn’t know, however there was additionally the choice to pay for the costume in full. I additionally bought v-cut fishnet stockings for $30. I paid my closing deposit shortly after my birthday journey to SXM carnival in early Might.
Costume Choose Up
5 days earlier than the parade and two days earlier than arriving in Atlanta (Might 23), Mas with Panache despatched an electronic mail saying costume distribution was on Thursday, Might 26 from 3-10 PM in Snellville, GA. There was additionally an choice obtainable for somebody to choose up your costume when you weren’t capable of make it. I personally thought three days’ discover and having solely in the future to choose up wasn’t sufficient, however I made my approach. I didn’t plan on renting a automotive in Atlanta, however after listening to in regards to the transit system in Gwinnett County and calculating an Uber to be round $100 roundtrip from downtown throughout rush hour, I opted to drive.
The drive from downtown Atlanta to Snellville was about an hour and fortunately there was no site visitors. We have been instructed to convey our ID and proof of buy, however my ID was all that was wanted. Being that it was my first time taking part in with this band, I used to be each excited and nervous as I didn’t know what to anticipate. A lot to my shock, the costume pickup course of was very easy and I used to be out and in in lower than 10 minutes from sign-in to distribution. After one of many Mas With Panache reps went by my costume bundle which included fashion, measurement, extra equipment, stockings, and a goodie bag, I signed my launch type and drove again downtown.
The Mas with Panache goodie bag was an expandable duffle bag that I used as a private merchandise on the aircraft journey dwelling. Along with putting my costume and equipment, further gadgets included within the bag have been pasties, a Mas with Panache fanny pack and fan, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, a nip sized bottle of Johnnie Walker Black Label, Summer time’s Eve cleaning wipes, a Mas with Panache mug, drink flask, and two wristbands.
Mas with Panache Street Expertise
Since I performed alone, I wished to drink, didn’t need to take care of discovering parking, and I’m a accountable grownup, I took an Uber from my lodge to the assembly level which was not more than 10 minutes away. The meetup began at 9:30 AM, I obtained there slightly earlier than 10:30 AM, and met with a good friend that performed in one other band earlier than making the best way to the Poison Mas and Mas with Panache part. Assembly the band was no concern in any respect for me and bulletins have been very clear when it got here to instructing masqueraders the place to get meals, drinks, and assembling earlier than heading out on the street.
Meals and Drinks
At costume pickup, I obtained a lunch, snack, and cup (if wanted) chit on my wristband, however nothing was taken from me when introduced on the street. I took a number of (critically only one or two) photos and walked over to the snack space for a veggie patty and the drinks truck for some Johnnie and coke which was my drink alternative for the day. On the street, I made certain to seize a bottle of water every time I obtained a drink as a result of the drinks truck was all the best way within the again and I wanted to remain hydrated as a result of it was VERY HOT.
One factor that I take very critically since my first Trinidad Carnival and final carnival in Toronto is safety. Residing in NYC and having the expertise in Caribana, I really feel that stormers mess up the carnival street expertise. The Atlanta Carnival parade didn’t have an awesome quantity of spectators alongside the parade route, however there was additionally no seen safety or band marshalls on the street. There was numerous stormers in direction of the tip of the parade route and it was simply an excessive amount of for me.
Music & Vibes
The DJ lineup for the band included Miami Dream Staff, One Drop Sound, Ovadose, J Smoove, DJ Touches, and DJ Messi. I really like listening to the number of Soca from Trinidad, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, St Vincent, and so forth, however I simply stored listening to the identical songs time and again. Being that it was a carnival primarily based within the US and illustration of a number of islands within the band and sidelines have been current, I had no downside listening to Kompa and Dancehall on the street, however listening to Ariana Grande and Black Eyed Peas was a BIG NO for me. Along with taking part in a greater selection from different islands, I might have beloved for the DJs to play extra 2022 Soca and never the identical 3-5 (in the event that they even performed that a lot).
Vibes are completely different for everybody, however I felt that almost all of the folks in my band have been there for the costume and never for the love of carnival and soca music.Though I performed solo, I discovered a number of “mates” on the street so it made it slightly higher, however vibes have been simply completely different in comparison with previous experiences. I must see if I get the identical expertise one other time.
Issues that Irritated me About Atlanta Carnival 2022
Two Carnivals on the Identical Day
The FIRST factor I seen when doing my analysis for Atlanta Carnival was there have been two completely different parades on the identical day about 20 minutes from one another which made completely no sense to me. It additionally introduced plenty of confusion for others that have been having the Carnival expertise in Atlanta for the primary time. After seeing that the band I wished was in Atlanta Dekalb Carnival I simply went with that choice.
Final Minute Band Switchup
Rather less than 3 weeks earlier than the carnival, Mas with Panache together with 5 different large bands from Atlanta Dekalb Carnival made the choice to maneuver to the downtown carnival resulting from logistical modifications and a restricted street expertise. I didn’t have a lodge picked but so labored in my favor, nevertheless it inconvenienced masqueraders that made plans weeks and months prior. Sadly the Atlanta Dekalb Carnival was canceled hours earlier than the parade and that tousled the expertise much more.
The place’s the Stage?
One other complicated half for me at Atlanta Carnival was there being no stage to cross or judging level. I used to be advised there was a stage within the Carnival Village on the park by one particular person and one other advised me the bands don’t play to compete. With a brief route and no stage to cross, I believed “what are we doing?!” Between the stormers and no stage, I type of understood why lots of people flock to Trinidad and different islands and why spectators see Carnival as nothing however a free for all avenue get together.
The place Did Everybody Go?!
One factor that I need to level out was the expertise on the finish of the parade route. There was an announcement made that lunch was to be at a location and masqueraders have been to simply discover their approach there. After talking to a few mates, I made my technique to the situation however there was no person there or any updates from the band on social media as to the place everybody was going subsequent. At that time, I simply went again to my lodge.
A number of mates requested if I might play Atlanta Carnival once more and the reply is sure. Regardless of the confusion and disorganization, I need to give it one other strive. I all the time strive one thing as soon as, however I additionally suppose a very good crew is a part of the expertise. I additionally want to attend the fetes as I heard they made the Carnival weekend price it.
Had been you at Atlanta Carnival 2022? What was your expertise?