Crowds at the St. Kitts Music Festival
Crowds at the St. Kitts Music Festival

Basseterre, St. Kitts – With the 21st St. Kitts Music Festival now in the books, two officials who formed part of the organization of the festival have hailed it a success.

Ambassador Jonel Powell, who chaired the festival’s Artistes Selection Committee, stated that he was of the belief that this year’s edition was a wonderful spectacle

“If you were there (on the nights)… you would have known it has been a tremendous success,” he said. “The crowds have been spectacular, [especially] when you [saw] at the band clash on Thursday the number of people who stayed back.”

He added that success was also achieved beyond the size of the crowds as it relates to the artists selected for the festival.

“It is not just about the crowds, [though],” he said. “This year, we stepped out of the box a bit in terms of the types of artists we brought in. The Goo Goo Dolls … was a bit of a wild card and it paid off last night,”

The head of the marketing committee, Val Henry, explained how success is measurable beyond the gate receipts and how the festival fulfilled its actual purpose.

“We have to turn back to the purpose of the music festival,” Henry said. “In June 1995, hotels were low in occupancy; hotels had to send home staff in what they called the ‘low season.’ Hotels looking to send home staff meant that the restaurants would have to look for other business and they had to send home staff. Try getting a room in this hotel today, try getting a room in a hotel down the road today, try getting a rental car to rent today: Yes, in terms of the returns back to the government in taxes, that is also a great revenue.”

He noted that determining success for the festival is looking beyond just a three-night concert, but a look at all the other elements “definitely [makes it] a tremendous success this year.”

“Look at all the small business operators that we have that have been doing excellently the last 21 years,” he said, “and the increased revenue that we have been generating [and] at all those fringe activities.”

The 2017 St. Kitts Music Festival saw the organizing committee take on many changes, including the establishment of an artist selection committee that identified and announced the acts earlier than accustomed. It also took the step to reorganise the Thursday evening by planning a band clash to close down what is commonly known as the soca night. It proved to be a success, with the last two road march champions going head to head on the same stage. At the end of the evening, the clash ended in a split decision. Square One, featuring Alisson Hinds, and Ricardo Drue also received rave reviews for their performances.

The following night saw dancehall superstars Movado and Shabba Ranks headline the performances. The night, however, belonged to the Third World Band, who had captured the imagination of each demographic of the audience for the entire performance.

On the final night, K Michelle and Jah Cure brought the house down and wrapped up the 2017 edition of the festival.