Journalists covering the 11th St Kitts Music Festival took time off on Saturday afternoon to relax and have lunch at the Oualie Beach Resort in Nevis. The tour organised by the St. Kitts Tourism Authority was rated as a ‘lively one’ as the journalists enjoyed the delicacies and drinks at the Resort.

The press team was received by Tourism Advisor Alastar Yearwood and sailed on a Scuba Safari boat for more than 2 hours. Some also had the opportunity to swim off the coast of Oualie Beach.

Yearwood said Nevis, though small, had a lot to offer. “Nevis is small but intimate.” He added that holidaymakers who chose to come to Nevis receive very special treatment.

The journalists, drawn from USA, England and several Caribbean countries, evaluated the festival in a relaxed and interactive lunch session.

St. Kitts Tourism Authority staff members accompanied the team.

Michael Mattus, a Black Heritage Today journalist based in London said the organisers had done their best to make the festival diverse. Mattus who specialises on writing Diaspora’s historical articles expressed his disappointment that this year’s festival did not include an African artist.

“An African dimension is lost,” he said. “I was chatting with Hon. Dwyer Astaphan and he told me that in the past African artistes were featured. The organisers have assured me that this will be looked into,” Mattus added.

He said he was intrigued by a pan pipe player and was amazed that Trinidadians of African descent had been able to convert old oil drums into music instruments.

“People should search for their identity, they would have better feelings.  We have been in the Western world for 500 years. Metaphorically, five hundred years is an afternoon journey.  We are Africans,” Mattus said.

First timer Johann Dawes, managing director of Hype TV, Jamaica (Channel 65) said he was impressed with the level of organization.

“When something goes wrong, organisers are quick to fix hitches. The level of organisation is impressive,” he said.

“The music festival enables Caribbean nationals to pool resources.  I noticed that different companies from the Caribbean region were involved.  The PA system was from Trinidad and the production team came from Jamaica.  This is a very good mix,” Dawes added in an interview.

Michael Roberts, a journalist with Carib News in New York, who has covered the music festival for many years, said the annual event is breaking boundaries each year.  “The event has outgrown its original venue.  It would have been difficult to accommodate this year’s audience at the Carnival Village.”

Roberts however called on the organisers to distinguish between popular recording artists who may not necessarily be good entertainers and the really ‘crowd pulling’ entertainers.  He added that the music festival had made it possible for local talent to grow and concluded that organisers must consciously allow local artistes to play just before international artistes perform.

USA-based Vinette Pryca, a freelance journalist said she was impressed by the performance of a youthful calypsonian that she said has a degree in engineering. “He should be encouraged,” Pryca said.

Pryca called on tourism authorities to also promote St. Kitts-Nevis’ cultural heritage. “I have always thought that it was only the big islands that had sugar plantations.” She was greatly impressed by the local steel pan band and the sensitivity of the organisers for keeping to time.