Bermuda Heroes Weekend: 15-18th June 2018
I was excited, it was my first trip to Bermuda, for carnival and with a direct flight from London on Friday 15th June, I was ready to go.
So let’s get down to the carnival experience. Bermuda is expensive and I mean it. Not just the carnival, but just to live, the cost of petrol and food. Fetes, to be honest, were averagely priced, mainly on par with Trinidad and Jamaica prices. Much like other carnivals, people arrived from all over the world, to experience the carnival. However, here in Bermuda, I felt like the locals were very involved in the experience and it was not just made up of tourists. Bermuda had it on point, with the fete list and had artists flown in from the Caribbean to perform. However, for your carnival experience in Bermuda, I would recommend getting a ticket package, where your fete tickets are all paid for in advance. You can get your tickets here at the official Bermuda carnival site. As without a ticket, you cannot get into fetes and you cannot chat with the bouncers to squeeze in or buy at the door. They have a strict quota of attendees and they do not surpass it.
Opening Night: Five Star Friday
Five Star Friday got Bermuda Heroes Weekend off to a lively start at the National Sports Center in Devonshire. Attendees danced to the sounds of some of the greatest soca musicians with performances on from 7 pm until around midnight!
Raft up has now become the annual unmissable fete. Based in Shelley Bay, it was incredible and you definitely needed to be on a boat, raft or some kind of floating object. Swarms of people moor up, link boats together and jam on decks. You boat swap, jump into the sea, swim or float to others. A true fete in the water! You moor out for hours, enjoying the people and music. If your prepared, you pack your food, drinks and just don your swimsuit and be prepared for sun, sea, music, beauty and being around old and new friends.
Tickets were competitively priced at $195.00 per person. Revelers came and partied ’til the sun came up at the Michael Preece Stadium, Pembroke. Sweet soca music, plus food and drink kept everyone going through till dawn. It was a wild affair with powder, paint, a massive DJ set and vibes that lasted until the end. A truly remarkable event that spared no expense.
On the road!
It is worth noting that every carnival seems to bring its own unique experience and being on the road in Bermuda was yet another one. Set on roads that were not in a neighbourhood district, the carnival was on from 11am to 6pm, It was adjacent to the airport’s landing/take off strip is, so you were literally watching the planes in action.
Surprisingly, the Bermudians are very supportive of the carnival and only in its 4th year, you could feel the full support of the people when you came out on the road. The bands go around the long road approximately 4 times. Starting out at 11am on the first loop of the long route, it was fast with very few spectators out. By the time of the second loop, marquees were being placed in position. Aligning the road, with families, chairs, coolers, and food; ready for an entire family day out. By the time of the third loop, it was packed with people up and dancing with the masqueraders.
There are only four bands on the road in Bermuda.
The Bermuda carnival is still in relative infancy, but its popularity is getting noticed. The two biggest bands were definitively Codered and Party People. However, it felt like it was Codered that dominated the road with its sea of masqueraders that were always visible.
I played mas with Codered and ‘wuked up’ alongside the masqueraders. The atmosphere was lively, the DJ’s kept us rocking and felt it was definitely the best band rocking the road. Checking out other bands, Party People seemed to be the next best band to liven up the road; with its array of spectacular costume design, they were pretty ‘Party People’ for sure. Passion and Nova Mas were relatively small by comparison, nevertheless, they had their costumes and vibes for the road too!
The pit stop for lunch was interesting and not the best experience for a carnival. I was a little disappointed in the quality of food for the masqueraders and feel it could really be improved for the next carnival experience. I did check out the other bands and their food service set up seemed to be little more on point, with food stands and choices of meals and beverages. However, it’s not to dwell on as the entire experience was otherwise perfect.
It is also important to note that Bermuda is a dry carnival and that is, no alcohol is served on the road – you have to bring your own. There are some worries if you forget to bring any like I did, and it ended up being the driest carnival ever for me! Soft drinks and water were available from the trucks all day, so you were hydrated.
Clear Water Park Beach
As the carnival drew to a close, the bands led us into Clear Water beach park, where the revellers were then free to go in, sit on the beach, purchase food and drinks or just party by the music truck. It was a befitting end to the day on the road, a chill spot on the beach.
The entire experience of Bermuda was a lot of fun, vibes and a mix of beautiful people. It is also very clean and you learn to respect that; for, after the last float at the carnival, a cleaning truck followed, clearing the rubbish as the bands as the mas chipped on; ensuring that the route remained clear of debris at all times. Bermuda, essentially, needs to be on everyone’s list of carnivals to visit. It even had a mention, alongside our infamous Notting Hill Carnival, in a Vogue article this year, written by Kristen Braswell.
Visiting Bermuda for the carnival is well worth the trip and would definitely recommend booking Bermuda for your 2019 carnival experience.
See a selection of videos for the on the road experience below.
See my other articles on getting around Bermuda, beaches, my accommodation and things to do!