Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest 2017: “Weekend of WOW!”
Headliner Reggae Legend Freddie McGregor gave a memorable performance to a packed crowd at De Reef in Bequia this past weekend, at the Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest 2017.
Freddie and his Big Ship Band had audiences singing along to his classics for well over an hour.
But Freddie was just part of a thrilling four-day, five-event music festival, described as one of a kind in the Caribbean, that takes place every January, and features a wide variety of music genres.
Opening with steel
The four-day event opened with a massive turnout to hear the outstanding young talent of the Elite Steel Orchestra on Thursday night, with a 14-piece orchestra led by Kesslon Wilson, at the Frangipani Hotel.
Friday night was reserved for the Mustique Blues Festival musicians at the Bequia Plantation Hotel. This year, old favorites like guitarist and vocalist Joe Louis Walker, guitarist and vocalist Ian Siegal, guitarist and vocalist Zac Harmon, vocalist Gregg Jackson and Murali Coryell returned for their one night show in Bequia. Vincentian entrepreneur Basil Charles was on stage to welcome the Mustique Blues musicians to the beautiful Plantation Hotel.
Open air jam
Saturday afternoon’s open-air jam in the gardens of Bequia Plantation was an unforgettable one with a surprise for many who had not heard of the dynamic duo, sisters Janelle and Janine Xavier of Xavier Strings of Trinidad, performing on electronic violins. Music Fest gold sponsor the Bequia Plantation provided the perfect venue for the afternoon for a relaxing Jam by the beach. Performers included The Honky Tonics, the Bequia Blues Band with vocalist and guitarist Bob Berlinghof, keyboard player Mikey Wilkie, guitarist Dave Wry Worry, drummer Jerry Simpson and Uthan McIntosh on bass. The afternoon concluded with country star Leisa Way from Canada, guest starring with the Impac band.
Sharing the stage with the region
Saturday night’s much anticipated Freddie McGregor segment did not disappoint. Patrons sang along to Freddie’s classic tunes like ‘Big Ship’, ‘What you gonna do’, ‘Stop loving you’, ‘When push come to shove’ and many more. His warm energy had the crowd begging for just one more…. . The evening had opened with the young, extremely energetic Signal Band of Dominica with their unique version of soca. Vocalist Mahalia Cummins, Andre Clarke, keyboardist and vocalist of 2 Mile Hill created a high voltage finish of hip hop, dancehall, as well as some of their original songs like "Billionaire” which was well received by the young crowd. Popular DJ Shatta of Bequia joined the team 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 Music Fest legend Toby Armstrong with his extraordinary guitar skills. Abuza, Yaphatto and Dynamite and their band ‘niced up the place with Vincy talent. Of course, Sweet Soca Man Baron was a hit, lighting up the crowd to his well known sweet soca tunes like ‘Somebody’, ‘Feeling it’, ‘Tell me why’ and more.
When asked if she had a great weekend, one patron from the USA said, "WOW! "Can’t wait until next year"!
The visiting musicians, and many patrons all spoke highly of the exceptional hospitality and smooth running of the festival – and the unique, magical, and intimate atmosphere in Bequia for which the Bequia Music Fest is famous.