FREDDIE MCGREGOR HEADLINES AT 2002 BVI MUSIC FESTIVAL
Grammy award winning reggae group from the U.K Steel Pulse, Grammy award winning American R&B artist Regina Belle, world renowned reggae artist Freddie McGregor of Jamaica and renowned South African jazz superstar Jonathon Butler.
These are some of the well-known and popular artists who will be appearing at the 2nd annual BVI Music Festival to be held on Cane Garden Bay Beach May 24th-26th. Plans for the festival by the sea were unveiled during a press conference Wednesday afternoon at The Moorings.
Other performers will include native talents Naomi Smith, who lives in Maryland USA and Ashburn Harrigan’s Sensation and from the region - the Starlites and Imaginations Brass of St. Thomas and AXA from Anguilla.
“The success of last year’s event not only launched the BVI into the cultural music festival segment of the tourism market, but allowed our entire community to interact with our tourists in a fun-filled, enjoyable setting,” said Chairman Frank Mahoney. He said they gauged the success of the event based on reports from hotels in the area stating they were overbooked with guests spilling into hotels elsewhere, car rental agencies running out of vehicles and ferry companies reporting an increase in travellers between the islands of St. Thomas, St. John and Tortola.
The music festival is receiving sponsoring from the Cane Garden Bay business community and Gold sponsors Cable and Wireless, the Ministry of Education, Culture and Youth Affairs, American Airlines/American Eagle and Caribbean Star Airlines. Other supporting sponsors include LIAT, Shell Antilles Gas, Insinger de Beaufort, CCT Boatphone, the BVI Tourist Board, TOLA Car Rentals, Ocean Conversion and JP Morgan Chase.
The BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association is also lending its support. In addition, ZROD FM is sponsoring airtime to promote the festival, while CPMD is responsible for setting up the website for the event at
According to Mr. Mahoney, the airlines have offered discounted fares to the BVI during the period of the festival and some local hotels have arranged special weekend packages.
“It is our hope this year’s event would far exceed last year’s event and it is our intention to set up a grant fund from any net proceeds which will enable us to help the music departments in our local schools by donating instruments and or material,” he stated.
It is estimated that over the two day period, about 15,000 people attended last year’s BVI Music Festival, which featured Maxi Priest and Jon Lucien. It cost the organizers about $200,000 to host that event.
The organizers reported a financial loss but maintain that the festival is not a profit-making venture. “It’s a great thing for BVI tourism and we feel it can grow and become a viable entity for the BVI,” Mr. Mahoney told the Island Sun. The 2002 festival is expected to cost $250,000 to produce.
This year, they’re hoping to attract up to 30,000 people, more than the population of the BVI. Organizers said when the hotel rooms in the territory are filled, guests would likely ferry from St. Thomas and there would be a lot of guests who are expected to come from the boating industry.
In terms of parking, Mr. Mahoney indicated that they would be trying to improve on the shuttle service instituted last year. He also said they would be working closely with the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force to control parking and provide adequate security during the festival.
Other support essential services that would be on standby include the BVI Red Cross, Peebles Hospital, VISAR and Customs.
Other members of the BVI Music Festival committee include Neville Smith, Maurice Donovan, Cherlin Armstrong, Dave Smith, Ghana Skelton Smith and Dave Thomas.
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