2016 Trinidad Carnival – Zanté – Addicted

Zante 2016 - # 283

Greetings peeps, Kermit here coming to you from Trinidad Carnival on the Tuesday before carnival at Zanté, a wonderful under the radar fete which emphasizes vibes and fun more than dressing up and posing.   Since its inception, I have attended Zanté every year except one (and that was because I wasn’t home for carnival that year) and every year Zanté has delivered a quality fete experience and this year I came expecting a similar scene and I was not disappointed.

Zanté began as an all-inclusive fete and over the years it became apparent that that particular type of fete format was rapidly becoming overused and quite expensive and as a result people’s pockets were bawling. It does cost a lot to host a good all-inclusive and that cost would have to be Zante 2016 - # 1shared by the patrons.  After 2014’s event, Zanté’s management racked their brains to find better way to have a great fete without the excessive cost of an all-inclusive and they decided that Zanté would go Dutch.  For Zanté 2015, management would provide food, unlimited cups, chaser, ice, music and entertainment, and Pixi Juice – a  deliciously deadly punch along with various jello shots and other alcoholic treats; patrons would be responsible for bringing whatever alcohol they would be drinking and a wotless attitude because this is not a fete in here this is MADNESS!  For $300TTD this was a fantastic bargain and in 2015 Zanté ended up being a great backyard bash up in the hills of Santa Cruz.  Here we are now in 2016 and Zanté is once again going Dutch and after listening to feedback from last year’s patrons the venue was moved into Port-of-Spain.  It is still a backyard fete (albeit in the front of the house) but we are now at lower Alberto Street in the heart of Town.

As you enter the venue, you find yourself at the lower end of a rectangle. Looking at the upper end the food tent is on the left, in the middle are the Zante 2016 - # 34DJs and on the right is the bar.  The bathroom facilities are accessible from behind the bar and the rest of the space was open with a few highboy tables scattered around the fete.  Naturally I roll in super early with my bottle of Cîroc Amaretto, grab a table, and start scouting the venue noting the best vantage points for capturing great pics.  I noticed that the food was already being served so I headed over to the food tent to see what’s what and to grab something to eat. There I found mini vegetarian rotis, roasted potatoes, wings, Geera pork, crab and dumplings, and corn soup and little later on in the night the doubles man arrived with doubles and aloo pies.  I made a plate, got a cup of soup, and devoured them back at home base.  After that delicious meal it was time to drink so I hit the bar, procured my supplies, mixed myself a strong drink, and waited for the patrons to arrive.  As the night went on the masses rolled in and the atmosphere in the fete went from Chill to Active to Animated to Zanté.  What is a Zanté atmosphere you ask?  Well, you kind of have to experience it to really understand but I will attempt to explain as best I can.

Zanté has a core of regular attendees and everyone pretty much knows everyone else in the core. This group makes up probably 10-15% of the total attendees and while not everyone in the core comes every year, enough core people show up to ensure that the fete has a familiar feel from year to year.  Around 50% of the people in the fete are either repeat Zanté-ers or friends of the core and as such are guaranteed to know/recognize at least some of the people in the fete.  The rest of the attendees (35–40%) are brand new to Zanté and since they are newbies they likely won’t know many (if any) people present.  Now in some fetes, this mix of patrons might serve to dampen the vibe but not in Zanté.  In the preceding paragraph I described Zanté’s vibe as progressing from Chill to Active to Animated to Zanté and now I will explain how that description applies to this fete’s Zante 2016 - # 155mix of regular and new patrons.  “Chill” describes the first couple hours where folks arrive and get situated; at this stage people are more concerned with checking out the layout of the venue and locating the bar/food/restrooms and picking a good spot as a base of operations for the night.  The “Active” level kicks in once these basic needs have been achieved, patrons have eaten and have organized their alcohol stocks and have started drinking, and are now looking around the fete checking out their fellow patrons to try to gauge what type of folks are present and what kind of fete it will likely end up being.  This “Active” level applies mostly to the newbies as the Zanté veterans already know exactly how the fete will end up, the only question being what triggers the metamorphosis.  Once that trigger is pulled however, things proceed quickly into the “Animated” phase and this is where the veterans are now breaking loose showing their true feteing colors and some of the newbies have gained enough courage (mental or liquid) to engage with the vets and join in the revelry.  This year’s trigger turned out to be Hypasounds, a Bajan entertainer extraordinaire who Zante 2016 - # 199came out and whipped the crowd into such a frenzy that after his performance the fete was well and truly Animated and it was only a matter of time before everyone transcended into a state of Zanté.

Zanté is achieved when you can no longer distinguish between core, veteran, and newbie and it usually happens during the last hour or two of the night. This is the true charm of Zanté the fete and even though I see it every single year and I write about it every single year I am still amazed when it happens every single year.  Even the most unlikely of patrons achieves Zanté by the end of the night whether you are a Barca supporter from or a German crew from Germany (duh).  No matter how seemingly out of their element a Zanté newbie might look at the start of the fete, by the end of the night they have felt and responded to the pervasive vibes and end up partying and hugging and jumping with any and everybody around them and having a blast!  These excerpts from Kees Dieffenthaller’s 2016 song People perfectly captures the Zanté feeling:

In every fete there’s always a special crew

Going Til morning , fete Til we falling

You make me feel to take a jump up with you

Sip what you’re drinking

Tell me when we linking

I consider Allyuh meh people peopleZante 2016 - # 249

Jump up with meh people people

Wave up with meh people people

Get on bad with meh people people

Oh Gosh! Look meh people people

Zante 2016 - # 198Jump up with meh people people

Wave up with meh people people

Get on bad with meh people

I want to fete and carry on

Celebrate and carry on

I want to fete and carry on

Celebrate and carry on

And so it went for the rest of the night peeps. Everyone in Zanté was People and everyone behaved as such jumping, waving, getting on bad, and celebrating with all the other People and as is typical with Zanté, the 2016 newbies who return next year will join the ranks of the veterans and will in turn welcome the 2017 newbies thus continuing the circle of vibes and love and carefree fun.

Zanté is by no means the biggest or wildest or most raucous fete for the carnival but it terms of good people, great vibes, and REAL fun at a reasonable price, you cannot want for more! I’m already stalking my 2017 carnival flight and can’t wait to join my People both old and new at Zanté so come fete with us and experience the Zanté feeling for yourself.

Enjoy the pics peeps, Kermit out!

Zante 2016 - # 330

One day, this will all seem like a long time ago so savor the moment and remember that life is not a race but rather a stroll from the beach to the rumshop and back.





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