Last year I told Vale Vibe I was considering seeing other parties. Turns out, like most men who like to “grand-charge”, I came for a “tack-back”. It’s not so much that yuh still love off yuh know, it’s just comfortable and well, people have needs.

We usually arrive after the initial parking rush but for some reason it seemed we were extra early at 5am, which lead to a dangerous situation. To avoid the traffic we parked in our usual spot in the Santa Cruz village close to the fete. While miss lady was putting on her party shoes, a Nissan B14 filled with “guntas” slowed down and the “good-boy” in the passenger seat eye-balled me while taking a long pull on his ganja cigarette. I told myself, TANA, if these men get out that car you’re gonna have to “send them all home”. Luckily (for them) they kept going.

After that crisis was averted we got into the fete without any fuss. The ambiance was amazing as usual and there was even a Tanqueray station as you entered. Vale had gin so they was saying something, or so I thought.

The food court had lots of options if you’re not against oil and flour at 4am. There was sada roti, aloo pie, bake and shark, corn soup, ribs, wings, geera pork, crab and dumpling and even pelau. There was a coffee station as well if you needed that extra boost.

One of the main attractions of Vale in recent years is the costumes, sorry, I mean outfits. There were a few dudes from Ghana in matching Hawaiian shirts and pants. There were a couple dudes in navel breaker tank tops and ankle length skirts and there was one dude wearing what appeared to be Frank Bruno’s dressing robe. The way his face was looking I actually thought it was Deontay Wilder fresh from his shellacking from Tyson Fury.

The highlight for me was the dude wearing the “Not Today Satan” jersey. I thought it should have read “Not Today Red Woman” (patent pending).

The ladies were on point though, for the most part. It helped that these foreigners don’t really know the meaning of the words “modesty” and “conservatism”. There was lots of flesh on display.

One thing I’ve always known but was reinforced in this fete was that there is no look colder or deader than when one woman sees another woman that’s looking sexy. It’s like the dead eyes of a great white shark, like Jaws. Then they top it off with a fake “hi” and a smile.

Switching gears, you know what’s worse than 9 o’clock in the morning and gun man in yuh hole? 8:36 in the morning and all the gin in the fete done. Earlier in the fete I asked Tanqueray dude if he had enough gin and he told me he had 12 bottles, as if that was something. Homie, I have 12 bottles at home on a regular Tuesday. I was forced to switch to vodka. Not pleased.

As far as the music goes, Vale Vibe DJs like they’re allergic to 2020 power soca. I was shocked and appalled that at 9:15am I had not heard Stage Gone Bad even once. I heard lots of 2019 and earlier year’s songs multiple times and it annoyed me to no end. Once again Nuphoric and even Private Ryan seemed to only know old music or 2020 groovy soca. Maybe it’s that the crowd of foreigners in the fete aren’t up to date with new music, but it was sad.

Perhaps they were saving Stage Gone Bad for when the new Soca Monarch, Neil Iwer George took the stage. However, that doesn’t explain them playing Dear Promoter 3 times before Voice even made his appearance.

I’m not even going to address the incessant chatter from Patrick the Hype Man, Barry Hype or Alicia the Duchess because by now everyone knows that’s par for the course with Vale. “Talk talk talk, song; talk talk talk, song. Who had more than 3 drinks? Blah blah blah, song”.

Being a veteran, Iwer quickly realized he was dealing with a crowd that was struggling for vibes and decided the solution was to immerse himself into the crowd. It didn’t help that the sun was on energy level max-plus and there was no rain for the second year. Not to mention Iwer showed up sans his usual 250ml bottle of water to cool us down.

The Water Lord came down from the stage and got the crowd going by asking the crowd to choose between that Conch Shell nonsense and Stage Gone Bad. It was no contest. (Any time the DJ/soca mafia conspire to fight George on the road I go officially retire from Carnival).

Then the “Boss man in the business” proceeded to go through the crowd singing Stage Gone Bad. It was pure pandemonium. Down to the artist Rome was in the mix and on the mic shelling down the fake stage. Of course I was in “clouting distance” of Iwer and thought I got great camera footage but in my excitement I experienced technical difficulties. Damn you Samsung Galaxy S9!

Vale was much better this year compared to last year. However, it has become more of a social affair than the bacchanal it used to be. Which was fine for me because after the fete season I had I was happy to close it off with a decent, relaxed all-inclusive vibe.


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