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Huge crowds attend Bequia Music Fest

Huge crowds attend Bequia Music Fest


Huge crowds attended the 5th annual Bequia Tourism Association’s “Bequia Music Fest”, held on that tiny Grenadine island last weekend.

Music lovers came from the mainland and the Grenadines, from neighbouring Caribbean countries and from all over the world to enjoy four days of musical entertainment, superbly performed and excellently presented.{{more}}

After the opening night at the Frangipani Hotel, when the Elite Steel Orchestra from St. Vincent played to a packed crowd on Thursday night, the event moved to its new venue in Lower Bay. The event organizers and the management of De Reef and Dawn’s Beach Café had worked hard to create a fitting new venue – and it truly was a magical transformation, with elegant outdoor dining, and a huge projection screen relaying the acts live to those who preferred to sit under the stars.

Friday night was “Mustique” night, with the Mustique Blues Festival – led by Dana Gillespie and her London Blues Band – returning to Bequia Music Fest for the fifth time. A series of outstanding sets from all the performers, including guests Darby Todd, Papa George, Steve Simpson, Zach Prather and Ronnie Jones brought the house down with cheers for encores lasting well into the early morning hours.

Saturday was the turn of Bequia musicians to wow the crowd, and the people of Bequia turned out in force to support their favourite musicians who entertained the 800-plus audience with their wide range of musical styles. These included The Kings of Strings (traditional Bequia string music), The Country Relatives (Country and Western, Bequia style), Amanda Gooding and Kyron Baptiste (ballads, blues and soul, and Colin Peters (soca and reggae). The Music Fest’s co-director “Uncle” Louis O’Neil took to the stage on keyboard and directed an international “All Stars” band comprising James Lovell, Michael Boothman, Jim Coleman and Jan Smith.

Top billing on Saturday night was left to Toby Armstrong and the Mount Gay Rum Blues Band from Barbados who had the crowd in raptures till nearly 2 in the morning with their unique brand of rock and blues and their virtuoso performances.

On “Music Fest Sunday” the beach in Lower Bay was thronged from noon to sunset with boats from St. Vincent and people of all ages looking forward to a free afternoon of superb music by the sea at De Reef. And they surely were not disappointed, with great performances by The Elastic Band, traditional Scottish fiddlers Sandra and Trevor Buck, local singer/songwriter Socony, and a superb set by the Rick McIntosh Jazz Quartet from St. Vincent. As the sun went down, The Bequia Blues Band got everyone cheering on the dance floor before handing off to Jomo Lord, Garvey Griffiths and Scott Zimmerman who led the Mount Gay Rum Blues Band in their finale performance with an electrifying set of reggae, rock and soca.

“Wonderful!” “Fantastic!” “Best ever!” were just some of the comments from people who attended the shows. Everyone was thrilled, too, with the big screen, outdoor projection which added a touch of class to the whole event. Donald Jack, Sales and Marketing Manager of Bottlers Ltd. (St. Vincent), speaking on behalf of main sponsors Mount Gay Rum, said: “It was a great weekend and we are pleased to be associated with such an event where persons attending the Festival could enjoy the smooth taste of Mount Gay rum and great music!.” Wayne Murphy, Sales and Marketing Manager of the St. Vincent Brewery which, through Duna Water and Hairoun beer also generously sponsored the event, echoed these sentiments, saying simply “Wonderful Music Festival!”

The four-day event was covered live by both Nice Radio and Cross Country Radio, bringing the music and atmosphere to an even wider audience. “The Bequia Music Fest was a high quality show and we were proud to broadcast it to our listeners”, said Richard Beadle, Station Manager at Cross Country Radio. “It was a positive and uplifting event for all ages,” he continued, “free from negative incidents and influences. We look forward already to next year’s Festival and will continue to lend our full support to the people of Bequia and Vincentians as a whole”.