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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

They Call Me Mrs. Fete - T and T Drinks Festival The Review

Fete : Souk T&T Drinks Festival, Queens Park Oval
Price: $350.00 
Date: November 3, 2012

The only issue I ever have with events at the Oval is that there is limited parking in the surrounding areas, fortunately my designated driver secured a park so this was a non issue. Other than the parking situation the Oval is a great location for me in terms of getting to and from the venue.

I actually liked the concept of the layout of Souk as I get what the different zones were trying to achieve; there was a party area on the Northern side separate from the the live performance area where the majority of drinks tents were and the food tents on the Southern side creating a good flow. The Oval was transformed with tents, flooring and  artist Darren Cheewah painting a decorative mural during the event. My observations were that there should have been more seating, Drink Wine Bar had seats at their tent one of the few and the whole Arabian Souk theme should have  been more strongly represented in the decor; I wanted to feel as if I were walking through an Arabian marketplace! 

The expectation from a drinks festival is an unlimited variety of drinks for one to sample broadening your palette as someone who appreciates the spirits. While there were several familiar brands  like Johnnie Walker scotch, Grey Goose Vodka, Patron Tequila, 1919 rum, Gordon's Gin and Yellow Tail wine for example I was expecting more brands that were not as well known in Trinidad. Also the cocktail selections at each tent were limited, I wanted more than a chaser for instance. Not to mention that on arrival you got 15 "souk coins" to "purchase" drinks/food and most drinks were 3 coins each. So you had to choose wisely where to spend those coins! 

Several patrons expressed disappointment that they were limited to "buying" drinks after paying $350.00 for a ticket and the free samples of drinks were few and far between. Maybe in future the price could be all inclusive and the drinks list expanded. I must say one of the most popular selections was the Sangria at Drinks Wine Bar's tent. 

Five food vendors were advertised for the Drinks festival, rumour has it on the morning of the event one pulled out so we were down to four. Of the four one closed up shop at 8pm, 5 hours before the official end of the event. Patrons were left with two meal choices ; More Vino sushi and Arabian nights with desserts at Cafe Le Bistro. The lines at those two tents with something you could actually eat were LONG, I only had sushi at the cost of 3 coins since it was the easier option of the two. I would have liked to try the Arabian but the constant lines was a turn off and a couple hours later they too closed up shop. More Vino remained serving until around 11:00 PM and then there was nothing left to eat. You can imagine that at the end of a long night of  drinking that is when food would have been most welcomed! I would really hope for 2013 that the food list is expanded and that food actually remains available to the end.

While the idea of live performances added a "festival" type of vibe to the event I felt that the variety of performers were better suited to an event held earlier in the day, at night it seemed that patrons were looking for more of a party atmosphere, and though there was a dedicated party area with D.J. that did not pick up steam until much later in the night. I also thought that there could have been longer breaks between performers while  popular, current music needed to be streamed through the area when the performers were not on stage. 

Crowd Vibe:
Very interesting and mixed crowd, it would have been hard to pin down a particular social  or age bracket that were attracted to the event as it varied. Interesting mix of people that may not have come together at another event. 

Overall Rating:
I would give the first ever Drinks Festival a 6.5 out of 10  rating. The event is brilliant as an idea but there is still lots of room for growth to make it phenomenal. The organisers get 10 out of 10 for their social media campaign however, the build up to the Drinks Festival was exciting! My main issues were the variety of drinks offered, I mean I can drink Johnnie Walker at home so I was looking forward to something NEW and different and the food situation left you feeling as if something was missing at the end. Looking forward to Drinks Festival 2013, I would definitely give it another try.

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