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Monday, July 22, 2013

Kingston's Summer Soca Scene

A couple years ago, I never would have thought that there would be so many soca parties in Jamaica outside of its carnival season. With the many summer parties, I assumed that it would be hard to get enough patrons for a successful fete.  The truth is that there is a die-hard soca group who don't mind partying to soca all year which ensures a successful soca event.

I missed Carnival Rewine and the SOS cooler fete last month, but was able to attend Soca vs Dancehall and the Tailwind Blocko Cooler fete.

Soca vs Dancehall
July 13, 2013
Hope Gardens

This was my second time at a Soca vs Dancehall event.  It could just be my bias, but for me, it was just okay. I kept reminding myself that it was not an exclusive soca event so I shouldn't expect too much.  One of the shortcomings of being a Trini in Jamaica is that we tend to expect soca themed events to be similar those in T&T which is probably why I didn't love this party. I was also told that I got to the event too late (which I did), so I didn't get to appreciate the earlier soca sets.  I really didn't mind the dancehall; it's just that the mix of the dancehall and the soca wasn't my thing...

the best crowd shot I got (still can't master my camera)
But all was not bad.  Hope Gardens was an appropriate venue for these fetes- it's not too big and not too small.  In addition, there was easy access to the drinks at the bar and the Johnnie was flowing. More importantly, patrons didn't have to settle for cheap liquor.  Also, the restrooms were clean which is always important when chasing alcohol with coconut water...

The organizers of Soca vs Dancehall have established loyal followers which include those Jamaicans who are not 100% into soca.  Ultimately, I do see it as a staple even for the summer soca scene...

Tailwind Blocko Cooler Fete
July 20th, 2013
Norbrook Acres Rd and XS club

Now this was a strange event and I'm not sure what happened.  Much of it can be attributed to the current noise abatement laws and its effects on parties held in residential areas in Kingston. 

The cooler fete was advertised as a blocko on Norbrook Acres Rd which looked like a very posh area to me. Not to upset the residents, parking was accommodated at a nearby school and we were shuttled to the venue.  Although I was grateful for the shuttle, it was inconvenient to carry the cooler in the bus...

Once in the venue, it was clear that DJ Richie Ras had set the tone and the soca was pumping.  For about an hour, I was enjoying my drinks and the music until a little after 10pm when it was announced that the police had instructed the organizers to end the fete.  They also said that the fete would continue at XS club in Liguanea Post Mall.  What???? This announcement was confusing because my ticket indicated that the fete time was 4pm-12am....

I really didn't want to go to this new venue because I had lost all interest and vibes, but I left for XS anyway.  Honestly, the hour I spent there wasn't bad, but this event wasn't an indoor one and I felt like I was in a club and not at a fete, and I don't like clubs. Thank goodness the music was still great and people were enjoying themselves...

The lesson here was clear- end your fete at 10:00pm...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Soca in Sabina

I would admit that I am one of those West Indians who loves the party aspect of a cricket match.  I mean how could I not when a "fete match" was probably the only sport I took part in while growing up in sweet T&T.  For those who don't know, with a fete match the actually sport (cricket) is secondary and food, alcoholic beverages, and lime are the main elements.  Most times, it doesn't matter who wins because the celebration goes on from start to finish.  In fact, I believe that Trinbagonians carry this fete match mentality to every sport which is probably why we don't do as well in international sporting events.  But don't get me wrong, no one can enjoy themselves more at a sporting event like Trinis. True or False?

the actual cricket

For the first time, I visited the famous Sabina Park for the India vs West Indies match which was a part of the Tri-nation cricket series. Like a good Trini, I opted for the Appleton mound, which is the all-inclusive party stand equivalent to the Trini Posse stand at the Oval in Port of Spain. To my surprise, the Trinbagonian posse was out in their numbers. Despite an unforgiving heat that could be compared to a Carnival Tuesday, the atmosphere was filled with vibes from morning to afternoon which reached its peak with a win for the West Indies team.

the victory dance (feet are covered in beach sand btw)
It was soca, wining, Appleton rum, and hot sun.  Sounds familiar?  The line between fete and cricket was blurred in the mound.  I was elated that the DJs played some soca along with popular dancehall tunes. The Trinis were grateful and used every opportunity to wine to show their support for the Windies.  I couldn't tell if the rest of Sabina had such a great time, but boy was I glad I was in the mound.  Some argue that the party atmosphere was commercial and lacked true support for the game. But which of our cultural spaces aren't commercial and lack its traditional elements?