It's been a rough economic time for Jamaica and I really thought that Carnival would have felt the backlash. But boy was I wrong. Even with the increased costume and t-shirt prices, Bacchanal Jamaica did not suffer any major losses and fetes saw increased patronage yet people complained that "they had no money". I admit that I was one of those who cursed the government/IMF for my frozen wages, but still went on to party hard. However, I didn't play mas (believe it or not) and saved some money in that aspect, but at the end of the season, I felt that I had spent too much (which was further exacerbated when 2 persons are involved).
Last year at the end of the Ja Carnival season, I did a post on how much you could have spent if you went to all events. This year I have decided to specifically look at how much I spent. (Let's work with an exchange rate of JA$99 = US$1):
Mas Camp with Bunji and Faye Ann
VIP ticket: JA$3000
Leh Go Fridays (2)
Food and Drinks: JA$2500
Mas Camp with Kes the Band
VIP Ticket: JA$3000
General Ticket: JA$4500
I Love Soca
Drinks & Ice for Cooler: JA$1500
Sunrise Breakfast Party
Outfits and Accessories
You may think this is a lot but I significantly reduced the number of events I would usually go to. For instance, I only went to mas camp twice and I didn't go to any Frenchmen events which would have been another JA$10000 for Blocko and Bazodee. I also bought less outfits choosing to recycle those I wore for Trinidad Carnival.
The figure could also be more if I considered miscellaneous costs like the pan chicken, and the soup or hot dogs we would purchase after an event"to soak up de alcohol". Because we are in Jamaica, don't ignore the cost of gas especially when you have to pick up and drop off friends and then get to the event.
Most importantly I think I saved between JA$45000 and JA$50000 by not playing mas. How did I come up with such a huge figure? In addition to the cost of a Frenchmen costume, consider the upgrades, make up, tights, boots etc.
If you look at my breakdown, I'm sure that it's quite obvious that there are other ways that I can spend less like with the food and drinks, do general instead of vip or play mas in a cheaper section. I do agree that these would be more practical choices but this is how I do Carnival. Yes, it sounds superficial to complain that I don't have much money and then do VIP at a fete on a general budget...