The official opening ceremony for the Holetown Festival closed with sweet pan music on the main stage set up in the Massy Stores car park on Valentine’s evening.
The Holetown Festival annually marks the anniversary of the first settlement in Barbados, and this year joins in Barbados’ 50th Independence Anniversary Celebrations.
Holetown Pan Fest featured two steel orchestras: Darryl Jordan Secondary School Steel Band and Reddy Panners.
Around 7 p.m. yesterday, the Holetown Pan Fest began with a lively set by the Darryl Jordan Secondary School Steel Band. The St Lucy-based school, sounding and looking professional enough for any national pan festival, was enthusiastically received by the audience. The young people performed an eclectic selection: Bump And Wine (Spice & Company), Beautiful Barbados (The Merrymen), Let’s Groove (Earth, Wind & Fire), Red, Red Wine (Neil Diamond), Stay With Me (Sam Smith) and Arrow’s iconic Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot.
Reddy Panners, comprising past and present staff from Barbados Light & Power, presented a more mellow and classic offering, paying homage to Caribbean greats like Sparrow, Red Plastic Bag and Gabby, and included hits like Irving Burgie’s Island In The Sun, Beautiful Barbados (The Merrymen) and Many Rivers To Cross (Jimmy Cliff).
As always, the large crowd of visitors and locals sampled food, drink and craft from several stalls set up along the main road of the St James town.
Just preceding Holetown Pan Fest, was a blessing by Reverend Canon Curtis Goodridge, followed by the Barbados Defence Force Band, resplendent in scarlet, white and black, accented with gold, Zouave uniforms as they played. A large crowd thronged the nearby Rubis car park as the band wrapped up with lively tunes and marched in formation across the road to the Holetown Police Station.
Also on the programme was a presentation of the Queen of the Holetown Festival Megghan Michael and the contestants for 2016 (pageant final is slated for next Sunday), as well as featured artistes and community groups: 2015 calypso monarch William Classic Waithe, popular Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire, musician Nathan Richards, dramatist Ricardo Reid, Pinelands Creative Workshop and Gordon Greenidge Primary School. Chairman of the National Cultural Foundation, Maureen Graham, delivered the feature address.
During the ceremony, festival committee member and MC Wayne “Kool” Simmons informed the audience of several upcoming activities during the week like historic bus tours with historian Morris Greenidge, The Alfred Pragnell Memorial Talk lectures, an art exhibition in the Holetown Library, and more free music concerts.
For more details of events this week, you may go to the Holetown Festival website at www.holetownfestivalbarbados.org.