Words and Photographs by Matt Goias—
We never know what to call our friend Matt Goias. The guy does a little bit of everything. While we already know him as a branding expert, fashion consultant, producer, ex-DJ, Twitter provocateur and writer, it also turns out that he is nice with a camera, too. When we found out Matt was down in Miami for that city’s increasingly noteworthy Carnival, we had him share some of the photos he took on the road and inside the main event, as well as a play-by-play rundown of the festivities.
Two weekends ago I had the extreme pleasure of visiting Florida for four days of wilding-the-fuck-out and watching beautiful, barely-dressed women shaking their phenomenal asses to ginormous sound systems playing my favorite Caribbean music… I mean… I was happy to attend the third annual Miami Broward One Carnival at SunLife Stadium.
At first I was a little unsure about the event set-up (in which the parade route winds through the parking lot-connecting roads surrounding the stadium) but I was pleasantly surprised by the amazing vibes of the entire thing. With zero barricades of any sort and a minimal (and surprisingly friendly) police presence, attendees enjoyed complete and total freedom to interact with and join in on the festivities pon di road, which led to an ecstatically-festive intermingling of masqueraders and onlookers. The parade route circled the roads around the stadium and wound up in a fairgrounds type set-up where a price of $25 granted you access to a festive fair of local Caribbean food purveyors, crafts and souvenir stands, the final Mas Band competition, and live performances.
The tropical weather and the laid-back atmosphere fostered a good time that had the entire everybody jumping, waving, and chipping along with the monstrous 18-wheeled chariots that carried booming speaker systems put together by sounds from around the US and Caribbean. The general consensus among everyone I spoke to was that this is the closest you’ll get to the gold standard of all carnivals, February’s famed jump off in T&T.
I tend to agree.
Out on the road, the tunes that had the crown on ultra-smash were, hands down, “Wotless” by Kes The Band with Lil Rick’s “Go Dung” and Cassi’s “Town Ting” solidly tied for the runner-up spot. Not having quite made it to the road as of yet, Lil Rick’s “Work” gets an honorable mention for having the parking lot car stereos working the girls into a pre- and post-game wining frenzy.
As far as island representation, I have to say that Dominica DID. THEIR. THING. The often-overlooked island represented HARD and ran a very, very tight ship with coordinated outfits, a noticeably-charismatic team, and an impressive presence of their flag throughout the day. Other islands who made their presence known big-style and in a noteworthy way were Guyana, Grenada, and of course, Trinidad & Tobago. Jamaica was definitely “in the building” in a sort of in-the-cut way, representing in the crowd but not in a huge way for the actual Carnival. And Belize may not have had crazy numbers but their presence was definitely felt. I thought that, it being Miami, Haiti was gonna represent mega-hard but I have to say that their presence was insignificant. Do better Haiti!
As with any West Indian carnival, the level of personal style was turned up to twelve and the revelers displayed an explosive sense of color, creativity, and cultural pride. Here are a few photographs I took of stuff that caught my eye along the road…