St. Kitts music fest ‘a rousing success’

Tourism officials in St. Kitts have described as “a rousing success” the 22nd Annual St. Kitts Music Festival.

The festival, which took place from June 27 – July 1, drew “record numbers of attendees and an amazing response to all the performers.

In addition, for the first time in the event’s history, its hashtag #SKMF2018 was trending on Twitter.

“I was extremely pleased to see such a positive reaction to our diverse range of performers this year, both in person and on social media,” said Lindsay F.P. Grant, Minister of Tourism, International Trade, Industry and Commerce.

“We had a record number of nightly attendees, including visitors from all of our key source markets, who came to see both the local artists and acclaimed international acts on the roster,” he added.

“Now having completed 22 consecutive years and maintaining our position as one of the largest and longest running music festivals in the Caribbean, we look forward to continuing to raise the bar as we approach our milestone 25th anniversary in 2021,” Grant continued.

Chief executive officer of the St. Kitts Tourism Authority, Racquel Brown, said it was “gratifying to see our planes arriving at full capacity and our hotels sold out.

“Further, with the earlier nightly conclusions to performances, local establishments had the benefit of additional business from after-parties,” she said. “The St. Kitts Music Festival continues to have a positive impact on our tourism sector year after year.”

The festival kicked off with the Grammy-nominated Nailah Blackman giving a “soulful and energetic performance that set the tone for the remainder of the event,” Brown said.

“None other than the Queen of Bacchanal herself followed, wowing the crowd with many of her well-known and much beloved songs, including her top hit ‘Lucy’”, she added.

Brown said KES the band “had attendees singing along to his songs, especially his most recent top hit that’s climbing the music charts, ‘Hello’”.

She said Spice brought everyone to an “enraptured stand-still during her performance while local bands Nu Vybes International and Small Axe Band closed the show with a bang.”

Friday night was reggae night, with industry greats such as opening act Chakademus & Pliers and the evening’s closing act, Sizzla Kalongi, keeping the crowd on its feet throughout the evening, Brown said

She said the second performer of the event, Isahwna, brought her unique talent to the stage that had fans cheering her along.

“Wayne Wonder and August Alsina kept the energy going, while upcoming local talents Byron Messia and Dejour had everyone singing along to their music,” Brown said.

On Saturday, she said Rhythm of the Beat started the action off with a mix of original songs and cover hits that drew an early attendance.

The incredible Grammy Hall of Fame, Hollywood Walk of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame artist Patti LaBelle was next up, performing many of her top hits, including “Lady Marmalade,” “Right Kind of Lover,” “When You Talk About Love” and more “to the absolute delight of the audience,” Brown said.

She said Lauryn Hill “miseducated” everyone with her talent and hit songs, including “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” and “That Thing”, “while Grammy-nominated rap artist Fetty Wap left the audience begging for more to conclude the event.”

Following the three nights of performances, Brown said the event closed with the Africa-themed White Sands white party at Carambola Beach Club on Jul. 1.

Now entering its 23rd year in 2019, the St. Kitts Music Festival attracts both locals and visitors alike.

It features a wide range of musical styles on the popular market, including R&B, jazz, Hip-Hop, reggae, soca, calypso, gospel and contemporary music.

Brown said past artists have included such prominent acts as John Legend, Lionel Richie, Jason Derulo, Patti LaBelle, The Goo Goo Dolls, Trey Songz, Ms. Lauryn Hill, T-Pain, Michael Bolton, R. City, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, Wyclef Jean, Ne-Yo, Air Supply, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Shaggy, Kelly Rowland, KES the Band, Tarrus Riley, Tessanne Chin, Toni Braxton, Sean Paul, Boyz II Men, King Konris, Stephen Marley, Maxi Priest, Beres Hammond and Biggie Irie.

More from Around NYC