By Jáedee S.K. Caines
Now synonymous with the line “An Experience Like no Other,” the highly acclaimed St. Kitts Music Festival is the big buzz around the region.
With months to go before the 23rd staging, the local organizing committee has already announced its 26 acts which comprise soloists, bands, international recording artistes and regional singers. Perhaps this year’s buzz can be attributed to the early announcement of artistes or the caliber of acts identified, with the venerable Buju Banton listed as a headliner.
Other big acts that have been announced are legendary singer and song-writer Smokey Robinson, international rapper French Montana, dancehall and reggae superstars Popcaan and Cocoa Tea and soca sensations Edwin Yearwood and Krosfyah, Farmer Nappy, Skinny Fabulous and Nadia Batson.
British-American rising star Ella Mai, who has been known to tap into the Rhythm and Blues genre, is also billed to entertain a predicted mammoth crowd in St. Kitts’ capital, Basseterre.
But the St. Kitts Music Festival is not just another weekend festival with ‘wining’ and drinking. It is actually a major economic injector for the island’s economy, particularly the tourism sector.
Recently, Tourism Minister Hon. Lindsay Grant, in an interview with the local Observer Newspaper, called on residents to consider renting their “spare rooms, apartments, condos, villas or houses” to ease the predicted accommodation shortage on the island in late June.
Grant reportedly said that despite an additional 300 hotel rooms – which should become available during the second quarter of this year – there is still need for additional forms of accommodation for festival goers.
“Last year, we had a full house. All the hotels were generally full and if they were full last year, I believe with Buju Banton’s announcement coming to the St. Kitts Music Festival, we are going to have a little issue,” Minister Grant told the Observer.
The three-night event is expected to have “a major positive impact” on the island’s economy by creating revenue streams for small, medium-sized and big businesses. From the ferry operators, taxi drivers and airlines to the clothing store owners and beauticians, a wide cross-section of the local community benefits.
This year’s St. Kitts Music Festival is scheduled to be held June 27 -29 at the Kim Collins Athletic Stadium.
And the local Tourism Authority – which is ultimately responsible for the festival – wants persons to follow their hearts to St. Kitts to witness “an experience like no other”.