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Many locals in reggae festival line-up

Yvette Best

Many locals in reggae festival line-up

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More than 70 acts are on the cards for the newest event on the Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival roster.
Speaking at a Press launch for the eighth edition of the festival at the Mount Gay Visitors’ Centre on Wednesday night, director of FAS Entertainment, Al Gilkes said Bajan Reggae Night on April 28 at the 3Ws Theatre at Kensington Oval would feature the largest collection of Bajan talent on any show here.
And in keeping with the cricketing tradition at The Oval, Gilkes announced that former West Indies player Sulieman Benn would be giving his maiden performance as a reggae star.
The festival kicks off on April 22 with the Reggae Beach Party at Brandons, featuring Popcaan, Mr Vegas, Baby Cham and a line-up of local acts including Crimeson, Mr Levi and Fantom Dundeal.
Vintage Reggae Night, which continues to grow in popularity, follows on April 27. It features two of the legends in local entertainment in the form of Mike Grovesnor and Queen Of Song Wendy Alleyne. They will share the stage with Freddie McGregor, Glen Washington, Admiral Tibet, Ernie Smith, Super Rueben and others.
The popular picnic affair Reggae On The Hill winds up this year’s festival on April 29. On stage will be Jah Cure, Third World, Capleton, Chris Martin, Konshens, Tanya Stephens, Everton Blender and a local cast featuring Buggy Nakhente, Simon Pipe, LRG, Daniel and others.
Gilkes noted that the Digicel Reggae Festival had become more than just a Barbadian festival, but had moved to the international stage.
Citing figures from an online ticket agent, which FAS used for the first time last year, Gilkes said that in the two weeks leading up to last year’s festival they got 2 121 visits from 45 countries, including Russia, Sweden, Serbia, India and North Korea.
He said bookings were already “flooding” in from the Caribbean in particular.
During his remarks, Minister of Tourism Richard Sealy said the Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival was making a contribution to regional tourism, and that the festival had emerged to be among the elite in the Caribbean.
Sealy noted that the country was seeing “significant” returns from the partnership and that the festival was adding value to the Barbadian economy.
Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley also added his voice to the importance of the festival to the country. Lashley said the Reggae Festival would propel culture in Barbados.
Gilkes announced that there would be shuttles leaving the Bridgetown and Speightstown bus terminal every half hour for Farley Hill and those opting to drive have 35 acres of land at the nearby Welchtown Plantation at their disposal.