The St Kitts Music Festival celebrated its 16th anniversary in fine style with representatives from the music elite of almost every genre of music: Reggae, Soca, Jazz, R&B and Hip Hop.
On the first night of the festival, Thursday June 28, local artists such as Nicha B and Grand Masters featuring Shakki Starfire performed a moving Masud Sadiki Tribute. Opening the Soca night were Edwin Yearwood and Krosfyah a, former Soca Monarch of Barbados. He had the crowd jumping and waving. Trinidad’s own homegrown soca superstar and Triple Crown Soca Monarch , Machel Montano HD aka Mr. Fete, had the fans screaming and jumping in his inimitable stlye. A guy who was feteing next to me was jumping so high with his beer in his hand that he soaked my camera, if he had messed up my pictures, I dont know what I would have told my editor.
The second night, Friday June 29, was Reggae Night, which had the largest crowd of the three night festival. This night encompassed the best of the new artists, Popcaan and I Octane; the foundation artists, Lovindeer and Jamaica Festival Song Winner Eric Donaldson, who had the crowd singing along to many of his hits including Cherry oh Baby, to the next generation of Reggae Ambassadors Morgan Heritage and Damian ‘Junior Gong’ Marley. All gave outstanding performances.
UK Jazz Musician Courtney Pine made his debut appearance at St Kitts music Festival and explained that it was fitting that he should be there on Reggae night because of the history of Reggae and the Jazz influences on Reggae Music. Morgan Heritage took the stage after a five year absence. They said the appreciated the break because they were able to spend time with their family and pursue solo endeavors. They gave a truly outstanding performance with songs like ‘She’s still loving me’ Yu don’t haffi dread’ and ‘Down by the river ” to name a few.
When Junior Gong took the stage, Warner Park erupted. He showed the crowd his 5ft long dreads (my estimate) and the festival goers nearly tore down the fence. The crowd sang to him. I must interject this side note. When I left St Kitts, Damian was in front of me at the counter checking in, at the security gate and stepping onto the plane. Every few feet, fans wanted to take pictures with him , from the baggage handlers at the counter , to the security people, to passengers on line going through security, to the people loading the bags onto the plane. He was patient and graciously posed and took pictures with everyone.
The last night Saturday June 30 was the R & B night. The Liamigua Project opened . Robert Flack gave a very good performance, Her voice was silky smooth and sounded the same as it did 30 years ago. The crowd sang to her when she sang “the closer i get to you’ and ‘Killing me softly’ and ‘First time ever I saw yr Face’. She sang a beautiful song she wrote called ‘Its alright to say No’. Everyone knows the message is in the music. This was a poignant song with an important message to young people.
Toni Braxton commanded the stage with great presence in a stunning bodysuit studded with diamonds. She was a trouper because torrential rains poured and she kept right on singing. Omarion ended the night with his singing and dancing. Every night was sensational. I have been to several music festivals and St Kitts always delivers with great performers and high caliber performances.