The 12th annual Digicel Reggae Festival is expected to be bigger and better this year.
Speaking at its Press launch at Kensington Oval, director of FAS Entertainment, Al Gilkes, said there was much to celebrate this year.
“This is to me a celebration of the growth of the festival. From a single event in 1995 to an entire festival now. It’s also a celebration of the unbelievable success of that event, which led us to a unanimous decision to formalize our relationship and form a single entity, which would subsequently become the biggest private sector entertainment business company in Barbados, namely FAS –– ballooning over the years into an acceptance of and recognition of the festival locally, regionally and internationally.
“It’s also a celebration of the festival’s ability to contribute meaningfully to our tourism industry by attracting hundreds every year specifically to enjoy the events during the Reggae Festival,” Gilkes said, adding that the festival would also be celebrating Barbados’s 50th anniversary of Independence.
Delivering remarks on behalf of Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley, National Cultural Foundation CEO Cranston Browne spoke of the ministry’s committed backing.
“The Ministry of Culture Sport and Youth strongly supports the efforts of the organizers FAS as they seek to make this festival bigger and better each year. We will continue to do all in our power to create an environment that will assist with the growth of cultural tourism. We already have in place the Cultural Industries Act which provides incentives from which promoters can benefit.”
Browne said the staging of the festival had helped to showcase Barbados, and the region by extension, to the world and that this spoke well for the country.
“The Reggae Festival has certainly added to the cultural offerings of Barbados. The different activities emerging from the festival make it a one-of-a-kind happening that continues to grow and maintain a high standard. Through it’s staging, the region is showcased to the world. Through music Barbados benefits from being hailed as a valued and attractive destination,” he added.
The festival kicks off on April 24 with the Reggae Beach Party at a new location –– Daiquiri Beach, Pirates Cove Complex, Lower Bay Street, St Michael. The beach party will feature the likes of Jamaican artistes Dexta Daps, Alkaline and Spice.
This will be followed by Vintage Reggae on April 29 at Kensington Oval. This show will feature Wayne Wonder, Half-Pint, Carlene Davis, Ken Boothe, Ernie Smith and Courtney Melody.
On April 30 will be the Reggae Party Cruise aboard the Jolly Roger, featuring deejays Dooly Unruly, Jon Doe & Tami, Rico Love, Surf Rat and Hutchy ’N’ Sizz.
The festival will climax with the popular Reggae On The Hill on May 1, featuring Chronixx, Richie Spice, Romain Virgo, Nesbeth, Natural Black, Alaine and Freddie McGregor, along with many Bajan artistes and deejays.