This year’s Barbados Reggae Festival is being described as one of the best yet.
The festival, which began on April 19 with Reggae On The Beach, concluded on Sunday, April 26, with the ever popular Reggae On The Hill that saw an estimated 25,000 patrons flocking to the historic Farley Hill National Park.
Organizer Freddy Hill told Bajan Vibes that “from a cursory glance at the numbers”, the 2015 festival was a greater success when compared to last year’s.
“First of all I have to give thanks to the Father for keeping the weather nice and sunny. The first event was last Sunday [April 19] at a new venue at Reggae Island and that was successful. Then we went to The Gymnasium on Friday. And [Saturday night] we cruised the seas. It was nice too. And then today [Sunday, April 26] you see it. It looks like it is okay,” he said.
Of Vintage Reggae, which had to be moved to the Wildey Gymnasium because of the unavailability of the former location Kensington Oval, due to Test cricket between West Indies and England, Hill said everything had gone well.
“The venue at The Gymnasium was okay; people enjoyed themselves. But the thing is that people love it at Kensington because they love the open air and where the bar was situated. The problem we had [hosting it at The Gymnasium] was people getting to the bar; but the people enjoyed themselves,” he explained.
Hill also addressed the new Reggae Island, which is not directly located on the beach, for the popular Reggae On The Beach.
“Reggae Island was a first-time, bigger and better venue. The VIP had a better view of the stage. We didn’t have any problems at that venue,” he stated.
Hill also announced that FAS Entertainment was even thinking of expanding the festival, but opted not to go into details. He said while FAS was always thinking about expansion of the festival, it had been pleased with the response to the various events over the years.
“We are looking at different things like a Caribbean Reggae with artistes from all over the Caribbean. We are looking to do an Old Dub Night. Anything like that could be in motion,” he said.
Asked if there was anything he would change about the festival’s current format, Hill said: “No I wouldn’t change this. It is going good.”
Bajan Vibes also spoke at Reggae On The Hill with Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley who informed us he had attended all the festival events. Lauding the organizers of the annual reggae show, Lashley said he was pleased with its expansion over the years.
“Each year I see the festival is growing. I believe this is a good example of a private sector initiative that continues to attract huge numbers; and, given what I have seen from the organizers, it will get even bigger and better,” he said.
In addition, Lashley said, he was pleased to see local artistes being given the opportunity to showcase their talents.
“That is great, because with the more seasoned artistes, [affording] our young artistes, who are trying to find their way in a very competitive genre of music, [the opportunity] gives them the kind of confidence that they need to propel forward,” he argued, pointing out that Barbados had a good platform for local artists to lead the further development of music in the region.
“Any encouragement at all must be something that we move towards; and I think this is great. Giving them an opportunity to showcase their talent has been phenomenal. I have seen that happen throughout this Reggae Festival, and I want to complement the organizers for doing that,” Lashley said.