Thursday, March 29, 2018

Bequia 2018 - Music Fest

Local Bequia band
January 2018

We have been to the Bequia Music Fest twice before.  We find it to be one of the best here in the Caribbean and we enjoy it.  "Hey, do you want to go to the Bequia Music Fest again?"  "Sure.  Let's go."  And just like that we had a plan and a direction to sail.  *We went despite getting jacked two years ago on the dinghy dock coming back late at night after the music.  We still wanted to come back.  Crime of opportunity happens everywhere.
Barracuda - famous Caribbean musician - actually Italian

Jan and Barracuda - His biggest fan

The venue changed slightly.  This time Bequia Plantation Hotel was the site of the Music Fest for Friday and Saturday afternoon.  This was great as it is right along the Belmont Walkway which borders the anchorage, meaning close and easy for us to get to.  Even easier than the other location - DeReef in Lower Bay.
Cruisers dancing the night away
We didn't know any of the acts this year.  But that doesn't matter.  The Caribbean has some talented musicians.
Toby Armstrong and Band - so good
Friday night was a little mellow getting started and then picked up.  Then a power outage killed the vibe.  Many went home early.  Not us. We hung in there until they got things up and running again.  Our reward was an all out by Toby Armstrong and Band - Music Fest regulars.  They gave it their all and it was fantastic.
The Gang on Saturday afternoon
Saturday afternoon had the normal Caribbean afternoon lime feel like years before.  We were not allowed to bring in coolers like in the past but we found a good spot on the lawn for our base camp, taking turns getting food, drink, wandering around closer to stage, chatting, laughing and dancing.  A lovely afternoon.  And the talent of the musicians really shined through that afternoon.
Talented guy from Trinidad

Talented guy from USA
Saturday night we took a taxi from the main town dock to Lower Bay and DeReef.  We had our tickets but still had to go through the ticket booth to get our wristbands - a bit of confusion but nothing too bad.  The place was packed as usual.  However, we were able to snake our way up towards the stage fairly close.   Local reggae band ???? got everyone going and it didn't stop.
Mikie and Nicola
When we finally left Saturday night, it was sometime after 00:30.  The taxi driver asked if we could wait a few more minutes while he got his daughter and friends.  "Sure."  Three very nicely dressed teens got in.  They looked like they were dressed more for church than a Music Fest.  Despite just coming from a high energy, dancing, music gig, they chatted very quietly among themselves.  After dropping off two of her friends, the taxi driver's daughter asked if we enjoyed the Music Fest and we chatted a bit more.  It turns out she is playing in the youth steel pan band the next day.  She also plays with the adult steel pan, having earned her way into it.  She practices mainly on weekends as she goes to high school which is over on the main island of St Vincent.  This means she is on the 6:30AM ferry and does not return to Bequia until the 7pm ferry.  Now think about that for a minute.  WOW!
Lovely, yet focused young woman.
Young woman we shared a taxi with (on the right)

Youth Steel Pan
Sunday was back down in Lower Bay at DeReef.  We went to the Sunday afternoon Music Fest early because of the above young woman.  I wanted to be sure to catch the Youth Steel Pan Band.  They did well.  Later I saw that young woman.  She had changed out of the band uniform and was enjoying the music fest as she should.  Cruisers we were with found a table in the back to use as a base.  We spent most of our time up front to enjoy the show.  Sunday is sort of a wrap up day.  The musicians from the previous two days often come back and play.  They are more chill and really seem to enjoy themselves.  There wasn't an all out musicians jam like in the past but a few did play together.  Later the music moved more towards current day, youth DJ music.  We stayed for a bit but not really our favorite.
Electric violin player - modern, kewl stuff and slick, whoa
Feeling full of music, we wandered out and along the street looking for food.  Street food.  There were several tents to choose from.  We ended up with take away chicken and all the sides which we shoveled into our mouths back on sv Honey Ryder and then promptly fell asleep trying to catch up on sleep from the previous late nights.
Talented, Sean Harkness from USA
But lack of sleep was a small price to pay for another good time at the Bequia Music Fest.  I you are ever around Bequia the third week of January, I would highly encourage you to go to the Music Fest.  The anchorage is huge so no worry there.  If you don't have a boat, perhaps schedule your holiday for the Music Fest.

Elvis showed up to dance - he lives in Mystique by the way

*To those running the 2018 Music Fest - Never, ever hire the sound people you had this year.  Feedback screeches at a professional music event are not acceptable.  Having them throughout the entire weekend, unforgivable.   Besides killing the crowds ears, the sound issues frustrated the talented musicians worst of all.  NOT kewl!!  Fix it!
Local ex-pat and Swedish cruiser we see every year at this Music Fest

One of the fun things of the Bequia Music Fest is seeing the same ex-pats attending each year.  This year we finally had a chance to meet and visit a bit with Cheeky, an English chick that comes each year.  I only wish we had more time to get to know her better.  Oh well.  Next year? 

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