This past weekend, I attended the 4th annual BRT (Beach Road Trip) weekend, that took place in Islamorada. This was my second time, attending this event, the first being in 2013. It was a last minute decision to attend it, this year. My friend was lucky to get a hotel room, since most had already sold out, by the time we decided to go. We purchased a Regular Admission, weekend pass and drove down Friday night, in time to attend the second of the Day 1 event, “Maui Wowi”.
As I walked in, my friends and I went to the bar, to fill up our BRT cups, which I had hoped would be of top shelf liquor. I was disappointed, once again, to see brands, that I am unfamiliar, with, being served at an ALL INCLUSIVE event. Soca artist, Bunji Garlin was slated to be the host of “Maui Wowi”. I was excited to see Bunji Garlin, since he was the only soca artist represented, for the entire weekend. I was soon disappointed, when I saw a number of other artist, on stage, who were not advertised, singing for a lengthy time, while the host himself, spent no more than 10 minutes, singing “Ready For The Road”, and “Carnival Tabanca”. The party ended soon after his performance, which was 30 minutes before the advertised time on the flier. I assume it is because they knew it would take a certain amount of time, to get the patrons out of the venue.
Hog Heaven, is the where the after party takes place. The admission, was 20 dollars, per person. Dutty Dex was playing, on the set and the venue wasn’t over capacitated, which allowed me to dance and have a good time. At about 4 am, I headed to my hotel, Rock Reef, to check in.
Day 2, event 1 was “Wet N Wild”, which I was excited to attend, since I didn’t get a chance to go, when I went to BRT back in 2013. The venue was right near the ocean, which was ideal, for this party. There was a wet and dry zone. Bar set up in the back, and VIP area was off to the side. I had a great time, at Wet N Wild. The music selection was great and thankfully, the soca played for more than 5 minutes and the crowd seemed to enjoy it too. Like the night before, the music stopped, prematurely, without proper announcement.
Day 2, event 2 was “Pure Glow”. I attended this event in 2013, and had a great time that year, so I excepted to have the same this year. As I walked into the venue, I knew that that wouldn’t be the case. The venue was absolutely too dark. The VIP was in front of the stage, with a railing to separate them from those that had Regular Admission bands. I couldn’t see the stage, much less anyone that was standing, near me. I expected glow sticks and illuminating lighting. The musical selection was horrible. The same rotating tunes and not a diverse selection of music. The party was over within an hour and a half of me reaching there, and I never felt so happy. Once again, the after party was at Hog Heaven. This night, the crowd was massive and the line was extremely long. We decided not to go inside. Instead of going back to my hotel at 11 pm. My friends and I decided to take the party to our car. We had top of the lines drinks and I had a good damn time.
Day 3, event 1, was “Day Break”, which is BRT’s version of a breakfast party. Now, being Trinidadian, and attending MANY, breakfast parties, you know what to expect. A nice spacious venue. Soca in full rotation, with danchell and hip hop and house music. A large selection of breakfast to choose from and drinks. Once again, this wasn’t it. As I walked in the venue, soca music was playing. The crowd seemed very bored and unamused that soca was playing. I of course, start to wine my waist, because I knew that we weren’t getting much of it, throughout the day. When the soca session was over, the dj had to remind those that complained about soca, that musical selection is supposed to be soca and 90’s dancehall, not the latest Kartel and Popcaan. The sun was extremely hot and not much to keep you cool. The most upsetting part of the event was going to the bar and asking for WATER, and told there weren’t any. I asked for Vodka and orange juice and there weren’t any. At that point, I asked the bartender to pour anything in my cup. Day Break ended at 4, which left about a 2 and a half hour gap, before the final party of the weekend “All White”, were to begin.
At this point, I had absolutely enough of BRT, but I still decided to attend the “All White” party. The party took place at the same venue as the “Wet N Wild” party. This party had 4 times the number of people, as that one, so you already knew that space wouldn’t be limited. The musical selection, once again, was very disappointing. Thankfully, the Hennessey gave me the energy I needed to dance and enjoy the last night of this weekend. There was a very small time frame for soca, which didn’t surprise me. More of the 90’s dancehall was played this night, to my satisfaction and a lot of hip hop. The party ended at about 10, with no warning. And just like that, BRT was OVER.
I knew from last night, that this would be my last BRT weekend. Honestly, what I am accustomed to, in an all inclusive event, given by Trinidadian promoters, isn’t what I get with BRT. There weren’t any top level drinks available, unless you were buying bottles. For such a large scale event, there should be more bar locations, stationed throughout the venue, instead of just one, where the girls aren’t interested in flirting with men, than they are, in serving drinks. The venues, aren’t ideal for an all inclusive event. They are cramped, and dark, at night. Decor is very big on me. I like to see flashing lights, cool zones, in the day time. Musical selection is HORRIBLE. I am fully aware that the majority of the patrons, that attend BRT are Jamaican, but at the same time, you have to mix up the genres, to satisfy everyone. There wasn’t much of any techno, house, african music played at all. When I attend a soca event, ALL genres are represented, even though the majority of the crowd, is Trinidadian. It’s ideal for an all inclusive event. Many of the sounds that were advertised to play at BRT were a no show. For the money I paid to attend this weekend’s festivities, I didn’t get my monies worth. I had a great time with my girlfriends, but that’s something I can do on any getaway. BRT has grown, since I attended in 2013, which should also mean that you raise up the bar, as far as leaving the partygoers eager for next year, and I felt like the promoters fell short of doing that. It felt like just another party, I would go to in Ft Lauderdale. Nothing memorable, except for the fire works, at the “All White” party. They are taking BRT to LA next year, which in my opinion, isn’t a smart one. I think they need to regroup and focus more on what they have in Islamorada, before expanding it, elsewhere. Improve on the events. Get better djs, go outside of dancehall, and get some from other countries, to try and bring in a mix of people to this event. BRT has turned into a “garrison” getaway. Dancehall music, bottles popping, and video light. BRT needs to be an ultimate experience, weekend getaway, to party, like you haven’t partied before. But I felt like I was right at home.
Again, this review is of my experience, alone.