Bequia Mount Gay Rum Music Fest 2016: “Music for all”

Bequiamusicfest2016Headliner Arturo Tappin, Joe Louis Walker, Ian Siegal, Deanna Bogart, Gregg Jackson, Todd Sharpville, Zac Harmon, Jimmy Z , Murali Coryell and the American Blues Band from the Mustique Blues Festival, Martin Harley, OMG the Band with Fya Empress and Tony Prescott, country star Leisa Way and Vincentian bands Impac and K-netik, all rocked Bequia last weekend for the Bequia Tourism Association’s 13th annual Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest.

As has been its character, this year’s Bequia Music Fest offered up a wide range of music genres, increasing its intensity and impact to another resounding success of thrilling performances and a fabulous weekend of live entertainment.

The four-day event started on Thursday night with a massive turnout at the waterfront Frangipani bar, to take in the young talented pan players of the Elite Steel Orchestra.

This high-energy vibes continued on Friday night at De Reef, where the Mustique Blues Festival musicians thrilled Blues lovers. Performances included newcomers sax and piano player Deanna Bogart, guitarist and vocalist Murali Coryell and harmonica and sax player Jimmy Z, plus the American Blues band along with guitarist and vocalist Joe Louis Walker, guitarist and vocalist Ian Siegal, guitarist and vocalist Zac Harmon, vocalist Gregg Jackson and guitarist and vocalist Todd Sharpville returning for their one night show in Bequia.

Saturday afternoon’s open-air music jam in the gardens of Bequia Beach Hotel in Friendship, was a lot of fun. Music Fest gold sponsor the Bequia Beach Hotel provided the perfect venue on Saturday afternoon for a relaxing Jam by the beach. Performances by a wide group of local and visiting musicians included The Honky Tonics, the Bequia Blues Band with vocalist and guitarist Bob Berlinghof, Bequia vocalist Cherry Byron, keyboard player Mikey Wilkie, guitarist Dave Wry Worry, drummer Ray Leslie and Uthan McIntosh on bass. Also performing were UK clarinet player Azyba Ellis, Vincentian saxophone player Syl McIntosh, Allison Smith, the Denzil Bacchus Band with "Patches" Knights on piano, Thomas Richards on bass, and "Flour” Haddaway, on drums. The afternoon concluded with country star Leisa Way from Canada guest starring with Andy Cruickshank and the Impac band; both had the crowd swinging and begging for more.

Saturday night was the highlight of the weekend. Arturo Tappin’s Band raised the roof at De Reef in Lower Bay with an electric performance that still has patrons talking. Arturo’s band included Bequia favourite, the super-talented bassist Marius Charlemagne, brilliant young Kweku Jelani on trumpet, vocalists Kristen Laila Walker and Nikita Browne, guitarist and vocalist Philip 7,

Andre Daniels on keyboard, guitarist Jermone Waithe and young Davidson Eversley on drums. Vocalist Ch’An of Barbados made a guest appearance with Arturo, showcasing her incredible talent. The evening opened with the young, talented Pretty Boy Records Group, followed by the high-energy performance of K-netik. Popular DJ Shatta of Bequia joined the team this year and kept the vibes flowing throughout the evening, closing out the party at nearly 4am!

Sunday afternoon at De Reef in Lower Bay offered more incredible performances. The Bequia Kids on Pan Steel Orchestra opened the afternoon, followed by the Bequia Blues Band with vocalist Cherry and Music Fest legend Toby Armstrong with his extraordinary guitar skills. Appearing for the first time in Bequia was the UK Blues slide guitarist Martin Harley, whose unusual style and performance was unforgettable. The Denzil Bacchus Blues Band from St. Vincent gave a great performance, inviting the popular Toby Armstrong back on stage to join them.

Fya Empress, Tony Prescott and OMG the band turned up the heat to end the Music Fest on a high. Fya Empress sang her well known tunes such as "Ah ketch it", while Tony Prescott gave a great rendition of his famous "All aboard", and had the crowd jumping to a frenzy with sweet soca tunes. Overall, the weekend was enjoyed by all. "Can’t wait until next year" was the general consensus.

Director of the Bequia Music Fest and Chairperson of the BequiaTourism Association, Sabrina Mitchell opened the festivities with her welcome address. She welcomed all patrons and guaranteed all a great weekend of entertainment, and expressed thanks to Platinum Sponsor Mount Gay Rum for their firm commitment to this festival, and to Gold Sponsors LIME, Bequia Beach Hotel and the SVG Tourism Authority, as well as Silver Sponsors Hairoun. Special thanks were given to Mrs. Faylene King and SVG Tourism Authority whose assistance is crucial to the Music Fest’s success. Mitchell also thanked the additional sponsors Air Adelphi, Mountain Top, Frangipani Hotel, De Reef, CRS Music & Media, Admiralty Transport and Quick-Print (St. Vincent).

The Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest is also generously supported by Basil’s Bar Mustique, Nice Radio, Julie’s Guest House, Mac’s Pizzeria, Vintages Bequia (Agents for Mount Gay Rum), Bequia Technology Center, Sol Service Station, Nichols Garage St. Vincent, Compass Publishing and Outhouse Graphics. Last but not least, thanks were given to all the musicians who made the 2016 Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest yet another fantastic event!

Minister of Tourism, Sport and Culture, the Hon. Cecil McKie also spoke at the official opening on the Friday night event, before the Mustique Blues Festival took to the stage. He expressed his pleasure at being in Bequia and welcomed visitors, yachtsmen, mainlanders and all attendees to the Bequia, Music Fest - one of the many festivals that St. Vincent has to offer. The Minister gave thanks to the Bequia Music Fest Director Sabrina Mitchell and her Committee as well as the Bequia Tourism Association for a job well done.

The visiting musicians all spoke of the exceptional hospitality and smooth running of the festival – starting with the reception at Arnos Vale airport by a representative of the SVG Tourism Authority – and the unique, relaxed and intimate atmosphere in Bequia for which the Bequia Music Fest is famous.

Source of Article:
The Vincentian