Tobago Carnival 2023 recap + Tobago Carnival 2023 review

Tobago Carnival 2023 hosted a week of main events for its second annual Carnival, independent of the Trinidad & Tobago National Carnival in Port of Spain, San Fernando, and other cities in the country, traditionally celebrated on the Monday and Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.

New events for Tobago Carnival 2023 included the Junior and Senior Calypso Monarch competition and Soca Monarch, leading up to the Opening of the Festival Grounds and ending with a Parade of the Bands on Sunday, October 29.

After the vibes from Tobago’s Inaugural Carnival last year, I knew I wanted to return for Tobago Carnival 2023. Here’s my full Tobago Carnival 2023 recap and information for attending Tobago Carnival 2024.

Tobago Carnival 2023 review + Tobago Carnival 2023 recap

Band Registration and Costume Distribution

For Tobago Carnival 2023, I played j’ouvert and pretty mas with Fog Angels. My first choice was to play with Jade Monkey Mas again, but with my sister coming along and her not liking any of the different options for plus-size masqueraders, we waited for Fog Angels’ Band launch in August.

I loved Engine Room 2, designed by Janeel Abraham and Sherry Razack and registered for a front-line costume that included a wire bra and a large backpack.

Tobago Carnival 2023 review + Tobago Carnival 2023 recap + Tobago Carnival review

After spending a week in Trinidad, we took a 15-minute flight on Caribbean Airlines and landed in Tobago at noon on Carnival Friday. Immediately after checking in at our guest house and dropping off our luggage, I called a taxi driver to make a round of stops to pick up my media credentials and packages for Mas and J’ouvert. Unlike last year, pickup for J’ouvert was at Chill Out Bar, and Mas was at Magdalena Grand Resort.

The pickup for Mas was initially frustrating because my costume wasn’t there. After reaching out to the section leaders, they suggested I pick it up at Magdalena at 6, but I got it after dinner on Friday night.

My wristband and mug for the parade weren’t included, so I had to return to Magdalena Grand Resort on Saturday evening to pick them up. This was no fault of Fog Angels, but it made me frustrated because I expected to get everything the day and time I got there.

Pickup for j’ouvert was a lot less complicated. I entered Chill Out Bar and checked in as they played DJ Jel’s Fog Angels Mas Tobago Carnival Mix. After handing a slip with my registration information to the distributors, I received a stringed backpack with my T-shirt, mug, and wristband for j’ouvert before returning to the guesthouse.

Despite the frustration with pickup, I absolutely LOVED my costume. Check out my video below, where I share pieces of my costume for the parade of bands.

@msjoannae Tobago Carnival with @Fog Angels Jouvert+Mas Tobago #carnivaltiktok #tiktoktravel #traveltiktok #carnivalcostume #tobagocarnival2023 #tobagocarnival #caribbeantiktok #caribbeantravel #joannaetravels ♬ Engine Room – Olatunji

We walked around Crown Point between my j’ouvert & mas pickups and stopped at Swallows Beach for a dip before meeting up with my cousin for dinner. Dinner was at Havana Bake and Shark, a local restaurant serving food at Maracas Beach for over 50 years with a new branch in Tobago.

We each had a bake and shark and shared an order of shark bites with various sauces, including ketchup, garlic sauce, pepper sauce, and chadon beni (culantro) sauce. We also grabbed drinks from bars along Milford Road before heading to our first event for Tobago Carnival: Rhythm, Steel, and Powder.

Tobago Carnival Fetes

Pan and Powder, presented by Pan Trinbago, was a free event mixed of live performances from steel and drum bands. Steel Bands played soca and calypso favorites from Lorn Nelson’s “La La Jam Back” to Olatunji’s “Engine Room.” We had an amazing time and were able to see traditional carnival characters like the Midnight Robber and Jab Molasse along the route.

Right after Pan and Powder, we walked to Shaw Park Complex for Vibes with Voicey, where we saw performances by Lyrikal, Nadia Batson, Adana, Mical Teja, Alison Hinds, Skinny Fabulous, Viking Ding Dong, Dev, Marlo, Voice, and more. I had the best time at Vibes with Voicey and recommend going if you have never seen the headlining artists perform.

We didn’t attend, but we heard music and performances from FAWW!!! #F___AwayWithWork at Jade Monkey when we arrived at our Guest house and some friends attended Nirvana at Magdalena Grand Resort on Saturday. Our group went to a pavement lime in Crown Point and had a good time. We also went to Store Bay, Black Rock, and Fort Milford outside the carnival festivities.

Tobago Carnival 2023 pavement lime + tobago carnival 2023

J’ouvert Morning with Fog Angels

Immediately after Vibes with Voicey, my sister and cousin left, and I walked across the road for j’ouvert with Fog Angels. This year, j’ouvert was in Scarborough instead of Crown Point, using the same route as the parade across the highway and ending by the Scarborough Esplanade.

Like last year, Fog Angels had two music trucks and one drink truck. We met at the car park by 3 AM and started moving a little after 4 AM. I filled my drink cup and started following the truck down the road. The crowd and trucks moved for about an hour until we stopped to throw paint along the highway, down Wilson Road, and eventually to the rest stop on Milford Road.

Breakfast was very mid. I received a burger bun with some saltfish, a muffin, and a banana. I couldn’t get any drinks from the drink truck because it was extremely crowded, and I bought some water once we reached the Esplanade.

The music was great, but I was very disappointed in the j’ouvert experience this year compared to last. I barely got dirty and was pretty annoyed since j’ouvert is my favorite Carnival event. I eventually left the band to go to Pigeon Point at 8:30 as they went to the mud mas.

Tobago carnival 2023 j'ouvert

On the Road with Fog Angels

Fog Angel’s theme for Tobago Carnival 2023 was “Turn it Up.” As mentioned, I purchased a frontline costume with a large backpack. After I finished my makeup, our driver picked us up and took us back to Shaw Park for the parade on Carnival Sunday.

Before the band started moving from Shaw Park Cultural Complex at noon, my sister, cousin, and I helped some masqueraders with their costumes and took photos and videos. To avoid a repeat of no drinks like the day before, I purchased snacks and water from the gas station before putting them in my backpack and moving towards the highway.

tobago carnival 2023 engine room 2 + fog angels 2023
tobago carnival masquerader + fog angels 2023 tobago carnival
Fancy indian @ tobago carnival 2023

The Parade of Bands road experience was 100% better than j’ouvert for me. I stayed towards the back by DJ Jel’s truck for most of the day while my sister and cousin took photos and videos of other passing carnival bands in the front. I loved the parade route as the road had enough space for me to wine and carry on.

Getting drinks from the drink truck was also much easier on Sunday. Jel & other star DJs from Fog played a variety of Soca music through the decades, popular songs from different islands like Grenada, St. Vincent, Barbados, and Trinidad Carnival 2023 favorites like Nailah Blackman & Skinny Fabulous’ “Come Home,” “Like Yuhself” by Patrice Roberts and Machel Montano, and “Hard Fete” by Bunji Garlin. We even heard some new Soca for the 2024 season, like Mical Teja’s DNA.

tobago carnival 2023 + on the road with fog angels
Fog Angels mas tobago carnival 2023 + tobago carnival 2023 recap

Our lunch stop for Sunday was at the Esplanade, and masqueraders got to kick back, get massages, and cool down with snow cones. I had a tasty chicken and potatoes meal for lunch and topped it off with a rum punch before heading back on the road.

Toward the end of the route, I watched the sunset on the Atlantic Ocean and received a nice breeze, which was perfect since it was such a hot day.

tobago carnival 2023 with fog angels + tobago carnival 2023 recap

The mas bands and trucks proceeded to Shaw Park Complex for the las lap/after-party, and I stayed for a little bit before returning to Crown Point for the night.

@jelinthemix Tobago ???????? Carnival 2023 with @Fog Angels Jouvert+Mas Tobago. #tobagotiktok???????????????? #tobagocarnival #trinidadandtobago #socatiktok #socamusic ♬ DNA – Mical Teja

Overall Tobago Carnival 2023 Experience

I had a great time for the second year and was pleased with Tobago Carnival’s improvements for 2023. I love that more events are being added, and there have been a lot of positive responses from newbie masqueraders and Tobagonians.

Tobago Carnival has quickly become one of my favorite carnivals as it is a great alternative to big carnivals like Miami and Trinidad Carnival. For me, it is the perfect way to celebrate Caribbean culture at the end of the carnival season. I plan to attend next year, arriving earlier in the carnival week. I hope to attend more fetes and finally go to the mud and night mas next time.

If you’re interested in participating in the Caribbean carnival experience in Tobago, save the dates for Tobago Carnival 2024, which are October 25-27. The parade of bands is scheduled for Sunday, October 27th. As with any Carnival, I highly suggest finding time to tour the island as Tobago has beautiful white-sand beaches, coral reefs, and delicious food. If you’re interested, here are some great places to visit for a weekend in Tobago below.

If you found my Tobago Carnival 2023 review helpful, share it with your social community and pin it for future reference.

Joanna E and DJ Jel at Tobago Carnival 2023 + Tobago Carnival 2023 recap + Tobago Carnival

Read More Carnival Tips and Reviews

A First Timer’s Guide to Attending Trinidad Carnival 2024

Trinidad Carnival 2023: The Epic Carnival Experience

Carnival Makeup Inspiration for the Road

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