The streets of Speightstown were abuzz with plenty of activities from 10 a.m. Saturday until just after 11 p.m. It was a day-long atmosphere of hustle and bustle bringing to life an otherwise average day in the town.
There was spiked merchant activity, and many of the stores and street vendors in the heart of Speightstown kept their doors open a few hours longer than normal in order to cash in.
An informal check with young and old, Bajans and tourists, confirmed that most people felt more must be done in Speightstown on a more consistent level. Calls were made for some kind of activity at least once a month.
Folks from the North and those who had come from all over Barbados to be a part of the We Gatherin’: Speightstown Alive, The Carolinas Link were treated to ten different activities which showcased the best in Bajan culture and cuisine.
The activities for the day were: Queen Street Market, Bajan Food Village, Barbados Food and Rum Pop Up, Bountiful Brunch & Heritage Lunch, Boat Ride on the MC Inspire, Art Exhibition, En Plein Air Painting Workshops, Children’s Zone, Chapel Street Stage, Carolina Float Parade & Heritage Walk and Soca Jazz Concert.
Each event was at a different location throughout the town including The Esplanade, St Peter’s Parish Church, Gallery of Caribbean Art, Port St Charles, in front of Republic Bank, Speightstown Playing field, the Gazebo, Fisherman’s Pub, The Lobster Pot, Island Pirates, The Camelot, Hugo’s Barbados and the Orange Street Grocery.
By nightfall, the crowd had grown and thousands lined the streets of Speightstown from the road near the police station in the north to Fisherman’s Pub by the bridge in the south. The portable floodlights were welcomed since in its natural state, the premier business hub in the North is not well lit at night.
The closing event, the Soca Jazz Concert held by the Gazebo, was the main attraction. Present were Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Minister of Labour and MP for St Peter Colin Jordan, Minister of Culture John King and Chief Executive Officer of the National Cultural Foundation Carol Roberts along with committee members from other We Gatherin’ committees.
DJ Peter Coppin did a great job keeping the We Gatherin’ focus present with a selection of local music from various artistes throughout the night. Hosts for the night, Cassandra Crawford and Antoine Williams, must be commended as well.
Peter Coppin’s efforts were supported by excellent live acts. Performing were Roger Gittens & BCC Jazz Ensemble, the lively James De Lovell and friends who made their way into the crowd after they left the stage; Black Banana Band which featured Carol George and Tamara Marshall; John Roett & The All Star Party Band featuring Betty B and Alix Cage; and the St Peter All Star Band with Adonijah, Black Pawn, Donella, Jamal Slocombe and Stiffy.
The huge crowd clearly enjoyed the offerings as they joined in, sang and danced with the artistes. It was heartening to see home-grown talent on stage.
St Peter’s own former calypso monarch Black Pawn, who was born and raised in Station Hill, treated the crowd to a blast from the past. Admitting that it had “been a while” since he was on stage, the veteran kaisonian sang the classic Vision and the popular Lip Service.
Young artiste Jamal Slocombe, who hails from Diamond Corner, continues to make a name for himself. He gave two energetic and exciting performances of his 2019 song Alive and John King’s 1994 hit Jump And Wave.
Two-time Bashment Soca King Stiffy of Rose Hill fittingly closed the show. And while some may believe that bashment soca only attracts a younger audience, what took place in Speightstown Saturday night dispels that notion. It was the more mature and experienced females who enjoyed Stiffy the most. From his first song to the last which included, Tek Off Something, Tip and Ben Ova, Mavis, Garden and Carr my Sheep in Town, they were gyrating and having a grand time. (IMC)