Bask in the Glow

Michele Agostini finds out what it’s like to party with the “angels” at Trinidad’s ethereal Glow fete.

Photograph by David WearsPhotograph by David Wears

All the advertisements, the tickets, the pre-event paraphernalia for that first
Glow fete repeated the same mandate: “wear white!” In the sea of themed fetes
spicing up the Trinidad Carnival season, this command might have gone unheeded.
But the Glow song did the trick. Alison Hinds and David Rudder got under our
skins with that call: “children unite, wear white, aim for higher heights, wear white, only white we wearing tonight”. You knew this was going to be a fete with a higher vibe.

I remember arriving early at MOBS 2, the popular party spot in Chaguaramas, west of Port of Spain. In the line at the entrance were the usual party crew, wearing the usual
party styles, but tonight the styles were all white. Imagine winer girls in gleaming white pum-pum shorts and halter tops, carnival jumbies wearing big white jeans and white vests, music lovers in floaty white ensembles, sunburned tourists in white Hawaiian shirts and Bermuda shorts. As I passed through the gates and stepped into the fete I stood stock still for a moment, just taking it all in. Ultraviolet lights canopied the grounds. Beneath them people danced and swayed, their clothes gleaming like disembodied spirits. I looked down and realised that I too was glowing, was part of this mass of brilliant revelry. I began to feel the glow inside.

As the night progressed, performer after performer came out on stage and was
stunned by the shining spectacle. Their reaction, I’d guess, was a touch of awe
mingled with the instant lift we all felt the moment we entered this space. At
some point, I managed to tear myself away from my spot close to the stage. On
the small rise that led to the bar, I turned back to talk to a friend and was
suddenly transfixed. From this elevated angle, the crowd looked like a mass of
glowing angels doing some sort of celestial dance. The closer together the
bodies got, the more ethereal the effect, as if they were merging into one
bright light. “This must be what it’s like to party in heaven,” I said to my friend,
and we both laughed, enjoying the vista and the idea of divinity and flesh as
one — in a Carnival fete, where else?

Since 2001, Island Style Entertainment’s Glow fete has been one of the major events of the Carnival season in Trinidad. Glow 2003 was scheduled for February 25 at MOBS 2 in Chaguaramas