The Caribbean island of St Kitts came alive to the sounds of Soca, Reggae and R&B at their annual Musical Festival last week.
People travelled from far and wide to make it to this year’s event with representation from neighbouring Islands including, Antigua, Barbados, St Maarten, Montserrat and even as far a field as the USA and Europe for the three-day jump up.
The festival celebrated it’s 16th birthday with a line up that included Soca legend’s Machel Montano and Krosfiyah, Reggae royalty in the shape of Damian Marley and Morgan Heritage and R&B soul Icon Roberta Flack, award winning singer songwriter Toni Braxton and former B2K front man Omarion and The UK’s very own award-winning saxophonist Courtney Pine.
Fans headed to St Kitts Warner Park Stadium for the first day of the musical extravaganza. Local acts Nisha B and Ali Dee warmed up the fans nicely in preparation for what was a high-octane performance by Bajan Favourites
Krosfiyah, and then it was the performance of the night by Trini Soca Warrior Machel Montano. For over two hours he performed hit after hit including One More Time and Wine on Me. At 3am the Soca star threatened to ‘take the party to 6am’ and went on to perform for another 45mins.
Day 2 and Warner Park Stadium was packed to capacity with fans flying the Lion of Judah flag and in preparation for headline act Damian Marley.
Award winning Saxophonist Courtney Pine came on stage in the Kittian colours and performed a set that infused Jazz, soul, reggae and Soca he could not contain his delight at being invited to perform at this year’s festival.
Morgan Heritage dominated the stage with a blistering set that made them go over their allotted time.
Popcaan came with the dancehall, jumping about the stage interjecting his set with his trademark Yeeooooooow and then it was time for the headline act. When the first few bars of Welcome to Jamrock started, the crowd erupted and proceed to sing along word for word.
The Reggae star’s set went on for over two hours. After performing yet another encore Damian Marley left the stage at 4am to a very contented audience.
Day 3 was truly an American Affair, R&B legend Roberta Flack took to the stage early and had the audience singing along to her back catalogue which included, Feel Like Makin’ Love, and the song that had everyone singing along to Killing Me Softly.
Then it was time for Toni Braxton, The sexy singer proceeded to perform a medley of her early material which included, How Many Ways and Another Sad Love Song, but was unexpectedly halted by a downpour that had the crowd scurrying for cover, she continued her set throughout the heavy rain and coaxed the crowd sheltering to come and enjoy the show and signed off with what her fans had been waiting patiently for Unbreak My Heart.
Then it was time for the grand finale, former B2K singer Omarion bounced on stage with The St Kitts flag in hand, the 28 year opened his show with an energetic performance of O and then, Icebox and When rain threatened to stop play Omarion bought the party to the crowd by first jumping into the pit and getting up close and personal with the front row and then asking for 10 girls to join him on stage and take part in a dance battle.
He finished his set by spraying the crowd with champagne and ended with his popular ballad Speeding. Over all the festival was a resounding success, it’s a festival that has a vibe that you cant get anywhere else in the world, and is guaranteed to have you making plans to return next year.
Review: Michelle Martin