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Home > Destinations > Jamaica > Trip Reports > Trip Report

Jamaica - Trip Reports

Jamaican Carnival, Kingston

Here' a summary of the major events for our recent trip to the Jamaican Carnival. Everything went great except for the some guy having a cardiac arrest in the aisle when boarding the plane at LAX and the allergic reaction my wife and I both got the last day in Jamaica due to pollen or something. Just after it rained.

We arrived in Kingston Jamaica the night before Easter but didn't do much for Easter and Easter Monday(big holiday) except hang around the Pegasus hotel and relax and enjoy the pool, the food and the weather.

Tuesday - Hilton Pan Fusion Night

All-inclusive show at the Hilton Hotel next door. Three steel bands, one an all female band called Allegro from St. Lucia. Held by the beautiful pool area, all food and drinks included in price. ($30). What a food spread...had curry goat and jerked pork. They also had the soca and reggae band, Fab 5. Rather conservative crowd by any standards, but we had a fun time.

Wednesday - Soca DJ at the mas camp

The mas camp is where they have many of the carnival events. Right down the street from the hotel acoss from the US Embassy. This was just an outdoor soca dance with DJ, but we had fun. Sparkles Disco is a great sound system, good crowd too.

Thursday Afternoon - Cricket Match at Sabina Pk in Kingston

West Indies (all-star team from Caribbean) vs South Africa.

This was our first cricket match ever and was a great experience.We bought tickets to what is called the Red Stripe Mound. All-inclusive which means all the Red Stripe beer you can drink free along with a free jerk chicken dinner. You can watch the match from the grassy mound, or from beach lounge chairs on a fake sandy beach setup right next to the outfield fence. They even had a portable swim pool setup there.This was just a big party for us, there was even a DJ there pumping out reggae and all the soca carnival hits. What a kick, we didn't understand the complex cricket scoring, etc., but it didn't really matter to us. We came to party...ha

Thursday Night - Calypso Tent at the Cinema 2

This is the big show for all the major soca artists(Trinidad) in town for carnival. Held at a drive-in theater, there were about 20,000 in attendance. Again, right down the street from our hotel. This went till about 3am. Both reggae and soca...Beenie Man, Machel Montano, Ken Boothe, Sparrow(king of calypso), David Rudder, Leon Coldero, Sanelle Dempster, Byron Lee, and more.

Friday - Raiders J'ouvert Fete at the mas camp with 5am road march

This party or fete was the highlite of the trip for us. It starts about 1230am and goes till about 9am. This is a J'ouvert party which means everyone wears old clothes and crazy outfits and gets dabbed with paint before leaving for the Road march throughout the streets of New Kingston at dawn behind a big flatbed truck with huge sound system. Surface, a top band from Trinidad, provided the live entertainment along with singers KMC and Tony Prescot and Rupee(mr jump) from Barbados. This is a unique experience being involved in a huge party like this as the night shifts into daybreak...only in J'ouvert and only in Jamaica or Trinidad. This was the perfect fete...excitement and energy, great crowd, great music, and no problems whatsoever....what a thrill and a pleasure.

Saturday - Vintage meets Soca from our balcony at the Pegasus Hotel

After that big fete on Friday going into Saturday morning we were ready to take a rest, so we watched this show from the balcony of our room in the hotel which overlooked the pool area where this show was staged. In this case Vintage meant old-time sound systems that entertained uptown Jamaicans(upper-class) in the 60's and 70's. They played American disco and hits from the 60's and 70's that were popular with the uptown Jamaicans in those years and later as well. Byron Lee's band also played soca and the party went from about 5pm till 1230am. Looked like everyone down below was having great time dancing to the music by the pool...these pool parties in the warm Jamaican evenings are my cup of tea...really really nice.

Sunday - Oakridge Carnival Road March and after party at mas camp

This is the big day, the finale or climax of the carnival. We got up early at 6am to don our costumes that we bought via the Internet. We walked to the mas camp and boarded a charter bus which took us up to Mona High School in an exclusive area of Kingston where the road march revelers were assembling for the start of the parade. At 11am the road march starts descending through the streets of upper Kingston and into the New Kingston area. There were three big sound system trucks an about 1100 costumed revelers who followed, dancing and drinking and partying as the procession wound down through the streets. It even rained several times, but nobody cared and it was a relief for us from the hot sun. About 5 hours later we ended up back at the mas camp where the party continued well into the night. There was free drinks and dinner and I had curry goat again and my wife had jerk chicken...Boy, were we hungry. The sound system trucks had parked inside the mas camp and continued the music, and anybody who had any energy left was still dancing, including us until about 8pm, when we decided we had had enough and walked back to the hotel. What fun...what a day.

So that was it, another successful carnival experience for us, we left Kingston at 1245pm and landed at LAX at 8pm. We love the Jamaican Carnival, its relatively inexpensive and we have always had a fabulous time...this was our fourth Jamaican carnival in a row and we hope some of you can join us for next year...you are really missing out. Meet at the Pegasus hotel the week after Easter. Party animals delight!

Thanks to John for this trip report ...
April 2001

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