REAL talk: everyone and their grandmother is a promoter or event host in Antigua, just like everyone with an internet connection and the desire to download the Adobe Creative Suite is a graphic designer. It’s a truly sickening thing to think about because if you were bored one weekend and didn’t know better, you’d find yourself on Coral Ark at some dance/party titled off of some dancehall lyric wondering why the phuq this b!t(h in front of you is dry phuq-ing the ground with her tampon string showing. The challenge then becomes weeding out the “Riff Raff” events from the actual good ones.
To be on the safe side, Antiguans for the most part only patronize (in vast numbers) the events that have an established history of being good. If you were to look at the Antiguan party calendar, noteworthy ones would include Rum-U-Lus, Blue Jeans, Bacchanal, Under the Mistletoe, Nocturnal, Heelz, etc. just to name a few. However, when it comes to AMAZING parties, the behemoth of them all has always been Caribbean Snow Storm (aka White Fete or White Party). Nothing has ever been able to challenge Party Flavours’ MONSTER of an event… until now…
Now entering the ring is W.C.F. Promotions’ We Come To Fete. They’ve always been around and was always probably only seen as “that event you go to when carnival was done and you need one more thing to help get that party animal out of your system”. Much to everyone’s surprise this year, it was good… REALLY good… like “arguably the best party this year” good… and that’s where the debating starts.
Now I know they are two parties that appeal to two somewhat different partying demographics (as most people have been on their periods about), but they can still be pitted against each other. The scenario in which I will be comparing both events is as follows: if you were on your last EC$150 (US$55) and you had to pick one of these “all you can drink” events to go to before God raptures the world, which one would it be (based on how good they both were this year)? There are a host of factors that would influence such a decision, and I intend on looking at each of them with unbiased eyes; while keeping it “Beef Pattie” REAL of course. One has to come out of top though; which will it be?
A little “street” history
ACCORDING TO THE STREET (and not Beef Pattie.com), Caribbean Snow Storm (hence on referred to as White Fete) was started by an/some individual(s) in the “high income bracket” of the Antiguan demographic, for others in said income bracket. It was created and marketed to be the party for the elite of the elite. Basically, if you weren’t there at the party you weren’t sh!t. The more “exclusive” nature of the event added to the mystique surrounding it and the desire to be a part of it. What that essentially means is “niggaz wanted in”.
It is no hidden fact that the more you trickle down the socio-economic ladder of the Antiguan population, the line that separates the top two tiers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs becomes more blurred. Then they (the top two tiers) are inversed with the others so that they become the basic needs. It is this phenomenon that produces the instances where a single mother would quicker pay a grand to play mas before thinking about her child’s school fee; or same chick buying a pack of weave and starving for a weekend before getting groceries. The desire to be “accepted”, “respected” and “thought highly of” takes precedence over everything else, and the more “out of reach” something was the more it was wanted needed. Based on this theory, the event hosts stood to make a KILLING if they (somewhat) opened the floodgates, and that they did…
REAL talk: I don’t think the event planners’ main goal was to exploit “niggerdom” and get rich quick. I just think they had perfect timing in everything that they did from day one and marketed their brand brilliantly much like Myst does today. Their event was unique from all the Jamaican “dances” that had oversaturated the event market and probably had everyone sick to their stomachs. If there were indeed some racial undertones to it, then so be it. It still doesn’t dispute the fact that a good party was thrown. Trust me, if the KKK came down here and threw a GOOD rave (not like that crap the Underground tried to be) I’d be all up in there with glow sticks and a whistle… well, once I was assured being able to leave there alive of course…
ACCORDING TO THE STREET (and not Beef Pattie.com), We Come To Fete was created by some kids who went to the Antigua Grammar School and the Antigua Girls High School. Basically it was by kids; for kids. That “stigma” was even more enforced by the fact that they were essentially house parties to begin with. They then became “sponsored house parties” and then “sponsored house parties where you paid to get in”. Despite being in their third or fourth year when they officially moved it to an actual venue (excluding Russel’s here), and all of them being in their 20’s, they couldn’t shake the “kiddy house party” label that had been placed on them.
REAL talk: We Come To Fete being seen as a kid’s party was something that has been around for a while. I think them adopting a STRICT 18+ only policy has helped change that over the years. They probably took some shots in the ribs for that a few years because they were alienating the crowd that wanted to support them, and the crowd they were going after wasn’t too convinced they were “non-kiddy” as yet. I think it’s safe to say they have fully crossed over now and in their first “official” year of doing that they jumped pass another giant (Peer Pressure’s Blue Jeans) and went right at White Fete’s throat.
OK, let’s get down to business…
Price and ticket availability
This is probably going to be the hardest category to compare both events to, but I’ll try to be as fair as possible.
Advance tickets for White Fete were EC$150 (US$55), and were available from quite a few places and persons (some people were even delivering them to you). The funny thing about White Fete is that they claim to have only printed a limited amount of tickets and none would have been sold on entry. Being from a marketing and promotional background, I know all too well that that could just be a ploy to get people in a frenzy to scoop up tickets. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say that they did only have a limited amount (which is technically true when you think of it) since they have sold out tickets in previous years and had people actually reselling theirs for three times as much or more. The only thing was that this year, they didn’t give an actual number of how limited “limited” was. A quarter million tickets is still “limited”.
We Come To Fete on the other hand sold their advance tickets for EC$90 (US$34) with the option to pay an extra EC$10 (US$4) on entry if you didn’t have an advance ticket. They too were widely available with the option to have them delivered to you in some cases.
Looking at price alone, it would be easy to say that We Come To Fete was the clear winner here, but you would also need to include the fact than a brand (especially an established one) has a value and comes at a price too. If Kanye West and I sounded the exact same and decided to have a concert where we’d sing the same songs, and we both charged US$150 for tickets, most of you would spit in my face, tell me “Fuck you!”, and go check out Yeezy without giving me a shot. That’s the power of branding and the same principle applies here. The thing is though, if you’re paying more, you expect more. So I’ll leave this one until later after everything else has been analyzed.
White Fete was held at Sand Piper’s resort in Blue Waters. The huge field just outside of the resort was converted into a massive parking lot which was not only well lit, but it was also managed by traffic policemen to maintain order and a very smooth flow of traffic. That was a most welcomed sight to vehicle owners because not only could they all park seconds away from the actual event, but they also had the peace of mind that their vehicles were safe. Added to that, the chicks in skimpy dresses they probably shouldn’t be seen out of the house in didn’t have to worry about being swept off into the darkness by some drunken thirsty dude on the walk back to their car. That higher ticket price is starting to become justified.
We Come To Fete on the other hand was held at the Blackout Cultural Park. I had never been there before so I didn’t know what to expect. Parking was a mother phuq-er since it was left up to you finding a spot along the long road it was situated on. If you got there somewhat late, you would have had to drive to the end of the long line of cars parked on both sides of the road to get a spot. After that, you’d have at least a 15 minute walk back to the actual venue.
Cake taker: White Fete
If you went to the Nation and then went to White Fete you’d know what I’m talking about when I say down there was in the best shape I’ve seen it in in a while. It’s like the place underwent a total transformation. Well, to the untrained eye at least. It was all just basically a few white sheets/pieces of cloth placed/draped here and there and a few black lights. Couple that with a sea of people all wearing white and you have an overall environment that is pleasing to the eye regardless of what angle you look at it from. I don’t know if the persons in change of decorating thought of this like that, but if they did: job well done. Still expected more though…
There wasn’t much to see aesthetically at We Come To Fete except a lot of branded items from its sponsors competing for attention instead of blending seamlessly together or complimenting each other. Think of it as a street car “decorated” in SignPro and other stickers from various car products they have bought (we’ve all seen dozens of these). Then think of an actually sponsored street car “decorated” in stickers. Which one looks more professional and done with tact? Now that may not seem like something to get down on them about, but if you’re going to go after the likes of White Fete, you really have to bring your A-game.
Cake taker: White Fete
Both events had “OK-ish” layouts (albeit not much to talk about really) but there were a few deal makers and breakers.
1) White Fete had a fully equipped stage set up for the performers that were coming on that night whereas We Come To Fete improvised with the very wide top step to the main building in the middle that housed the DJ.
2) The bars at both events were both a blessing and a curse. The bars at White Fete were situated generally at the back and a little bit off to the side at the back. That was cool if you already in the middle-back area, but if you were right at the front, you had to fight through a lot of people to get a drink. Then think about having to fight through those people again with your drink to get back to where you were WITHOUT spilling it.
We Come To Fete had a slightly better bar layout since they were more accessible from more angles, but the only issue was that two of the main bars were behind the “stage” area and off to the sides. What that meant was that if you went to the bar during one of the performances you’d have no idea what was going on.
Both events could have taken a page or two out of Peer Pressure’s book when it comes to bar placement.
3) We’ve been having a very rainy summer this year and in the event that it did indeed rain, White Fete was in a better position to shelter most (if not all) of its patrons from the rain with the use of tents and the Sand Piper building. On the flip side, We Come To Fete could only cover a bit less than half since they only had the DJ building, the building adjacent to it, and a small tent. This may not seem like a big thing especially since it didn’t rain, but we’ve got a lot of weave headed chicks running around. Rain == 80% less chicks == 7 packs of hotdogs and one pack of buns. That’s just something you can’t ignore when considering an event’s venue.
Cake taker: White Fete
Venue: Attendance and capacity
Both events were well attended but when it came to sheer numbers, White Fete had more people hands down. However, it’s the venue that determines if that is a good thing or not. While White Fete was a promoter’s dream, it was to some extent a patron’s nightmare because you felt really cramped up in certain areas.
When the performers came on, everyone tried to cramp into the main area in front of the stage which (given the numbers) wasn’t really big, but was the only way you could see everything that was happening. The argument could be raised that being cramped in to see a performance should be expected but I beg to differ. Again, a page could be taken out of Peer Pressure’s book.
Blue Jeans 2K10 had a greater turnout than White Fete 2K11 and because of the size of the venue and how things were positioned, everyone could not only see the stage and what was happening from most angles (the screens helped too), but they could also dance/move around with drinks/”whatever” quite comfortably. The thing is, when you go out to a concert you go with a different mentality then when you go to a party.
At a concert, you’d expect that mosh pit feeling. A party on the other hand is supposed to be more social. You can’t mack on chicks (comfortably) when every time you lean over to drop a line on her, the couple dancing behind on you bumps you and causes your drink to spill on her. Before you jump to arms on this, think of every night you’ve ever been to Rush and it’s hella packed with no room to move around. You’d much rather have some space around you and not worry if the guys passing are genuinely accidentally bumping into you or rather than just copping a feel right? If you’re a chick that is…
We Come To Fete had a smaller turnout (maybe 800+) and the venue never felt at any point too empty or too full; they had it “just right”. The reason for this was the “openness” of Blackout Cultural Park. Patrons didn’t have two walls at the side and a huge stage at the front closing them in like at White Fete. Moving around anywhere at any time of the night was fairly easy and I can’t recall ever spilling a drink. Entering and exiting the venue was considerably easy as well since there wasn’t a room full of people to fight through like the one at the entrance/exit for White Fete. All that taken into consideration, I think it’s safe to say…
Cake taker: We Come To Fete
White Fete had DJ Quixx and “DJ’s from T&T” *laughs to self about that label* billed to be spinning tunes. On the flip side, We Come To Fete had DJ Jime and DJ Private Ryan (a actual DJ from T&T *laughs again*).
I don’t remember if White Fete’s “DJ’s from T&T” actually showed up, but I do remember Quixx doing his thing. My issue with Quixx’s DJ-ing that night is that there were too many awkward pauses. There were at least five or more notable instances where the song transitions (especially cross genre) made most of the crowd stop dancing with a “WTF?” look on their faces. That’s not to say he isn’t a good DJ because on any given night, I’d rather have him on my DJ bill than 90% of the other people here who discovered Virtual DJ overnight. I guess he was just a bit off that night, but oh well… *Kanye shrugs*
DJ Jime and Private Ryan held it down for We Come To Fete the ENTIRE night. Jime started it off in wicked style and Private Ryan came in, put the final nail in the coffin and shut the party down! The crowd never stopped dancing and they were singing all of the songs. There were none of those “crickets chirping” moments when the DJ would cut the music expecting the crowd to finish the lyric of a song, and the crowd would be totally quiet looking back at the DJ booth thinking, “Nigga, we don’t fucks with this song like that.” I have to give a special shoutout to Private Ryan because unlike most DJs with mix tapes that you listen to and like, he REALLY lived up to the hype. OUU!!! I made a rhyme… *gives self a gold star*
Cake taker: We Come To Fete
White Fete had Tizzy and El A Kru set to perform and Drastic kind of appeared out of nowhere on the night but it was welcomed anyway because I loved his song “Sugary Waistline”. I was pumped for this lineup since I was always a going for Team Tizzy and Art was my boy (no homo), but I had never seen any of them perform. I kind of wish I hadn’t now…
REAL talk, Drastic only has one song so I wasn’t expecting too much from him other than to sing that one song well. After the first verse, he almost seemed out of breath and was alternating lines with the CD track he was singing over. He managed to finish the song like that and made mention of the new song he had for this year. I got hyped for it thinking he was saving his energy for his new song and got disappointed again when the CD sang most of it. The cane that usually yanked bad performances off the stage unfortunately never came. However, at least he didn’t stay longer than he needed to or cry “sabotage” like a little baby like he did at Colours because the crowd wasn’t phuq-ing with him.
Tizzy on the other hand actually sang her songs for the most part and I was actually somewhat enjoying her performance but there was something that was still killing it for me: her lack of energy. You were hearing her songs, but at the same time you still weren’t hearing HER songs. You know the difference you hear when a Carnival Queen contestant tries to sing say a Whitney Huston song as her performing talent, but sounds good however not “Whitney” good? That how it was with Tizzy that night. At least the white confetti falling mixed with the stage lights and the fog machines going off were somewhat cool to look at. Other than that though, the White Fete performances were a bit lacking…
We Come To Fete was slated to have Tian Winter “and others” with the “others” ended up being Ricardo Drue. When I heard Ricardo was coming on I fell into a slight state of depression. This wasn’t because he has bad songs or anything; I really liked his music. My issue was that he had this nasty habit of stopping in the middle of his performances and trying to convince everyone that he was Antiguan.
It was as if he gets rolled up on backstage of each gig and someone starts singing, “You bang wata come ya” (a phrase in the Antiguan dialect used to label someone as a foreigner). I really wished someone would have given him the heads up that if they didn’t believe him two years ago they weren’t going to start now. He also needed the memo that “Antiguans seldom support ‘local’” so he was better off being himself and not trying so hard.
Thankfully, it would appear that the W.C.F. Promotions team spoke to him about all of that and he gave his best performance I’ve seen to date.
Tian came on after and as expected he had the crowd going with him every step of the way. Well actually, it was the chicks. I don’t know if you’ve ever really studied a Tian Winter performance but there are always a bunch of chicks at the front screaming with that “make love to me right here Tian” look on their faces. The guy has INCREDIBLE sex appeal (no homo). The only other guy I know locally that commands chicks somewhat like that is Shya (you should check his music out too).
Remember I mentioned that We Come To Fete improvised the wide top step to the DJ building as the stage? Well that tied right in to Tian’s performance because the chicks were all over the steps screaming at and even dancing with him since it was probably the closest any of them had ever gotten to him. It honestly was fun to watch and laugh at, but one couldn’t help but admire the more “personal” feel the performances undertook since the artists were so close to the members of the crowd.
Cake taker: We Come To Fete
Excluding the chicks who went to both, the hotter babes were at White Fete. Added to that, if you’re like me and absolutely HATE chicks who rock weaves/wigs/braids/etc., you’d find the “real hair to fake hair” ratio more favorable at White Fete. That’s not to say there weren’t a lot of hotties at We Come To Fete; White Fete just had more.
Cake taker: White Fete
The bars were hard to judge because I don’t drink alcohol and both events had an identical drink menu. However, We Come To Fete had a huge supply and a wide variety of shots which I’ll give them the lead for. The time it took to get a drink at both events weren’t exactly super fast, but at the same time you didn’t need a nice rack and a pretty face in order to be served in a timely manner. I’ll give White Fete the slight edge here so far because they had more people to deal with and were a bit faster.
Although both events were “all drinks inclusive”, I think the We Come To Fete bartenders were a lot better to deal with keeping that fact in mind. I’ll give two examples:
1) At White Fete, I went to the bar and the guy next to me tried getting 12 Red Bulls. The bartender became somewhat annoyed by this, gave him two and told him he can come back for more when he was finished with those. The guy try pleading his case that it was for a group of them and that he came with two others to help him carry them, but the bartender had already turned his back and walked off. When they bartender turned to me to get my order, I pointed out that the guy next to me needed 10 more Red Bulls for his crew and he (the bartender) basically told me that if they wanted them they’d come for them themselves and he wasn’t going to give one person all of those. I found that a weird thing to deal with at an “all you can drink” party but oh well…
2) At We Come To Fete, a guy came up to the bar with (I kid you not) a chugging hose hooked up to a small Breeze bucket and asked for a 3XL rum and coke. The bartender without skipping a beat opened two new bottles of English Harbour Five Year Old, a few 20oz bottles of coke, and poured it all into the bucket before topping it all off with some ice. I thought it was insane that that dude made that request and even more insane that the bartender obliged so willingly.
So now that leaves us all tied up and in search of a deal breaker which came by comparing both events’ sober bar which was right up my alley of expertise. Both parties had exactly the same items on their sober menu except for one thing that most alcohol drinkers would overlook: juice. When you’re going to put yourself out there as being a premium event offering the “best of the best” when it comes to drinks, I find it hard to believe that you use anything less than 100% juice to mix your drinks. That said, tell me why White Fete was offering orange and pineapple JUICE DRINKS and not JUICE. As a person who only consumes 100% juice (check the AIDS diet post), I know when I’m being served artificial flavors and sugars and what they had at White Fete wasn’t more than 35% juice. We Come To Fete stuck to the Antiguan staple of BlueBird juices and us sober people who try to watch what we eat were thankful for that.
Cake Taker: We Come To Fete
Price revisited and an overall winner determined
With the above taken into consideration, which event gave more value for your dollar? After pondering it over for a week, I think it’s safe to say that White Fete 2K11 gave you more for your dollar overall, but We Come to Fete 2K11 gave you more when it came purely to partying and entertainment value. To determine which one was better would probably come down to which areas you prioritize more, although they could both learn a thing or two from each other.
Judging from this year, I think White Fete is bit off from being the “perfect” event that it is heralded to be, just as I think We Come To Fete still has more room to grow but are definitely taking the necessary steps in the right direction. So now for the big question: “If I was down to my last EC$150 (US$55), which would I go to?” Well, the answer to that question would be “We Come To Fete”.
I’d honestly say they were tied and leave it at that but We Come To Fete comes out on top because they are purely party and I’m a purely party kind of person. Like I said before, it’s all up to taste. Thankfully, they’re both always months apart so no person who doesn’t depend on an allowance for their income will ever have to make that decision… I hope…