“I know that the music’s fine like sparkling wine, go and have your fun.”
–  The Drifters “Save the Last Dance”

My dimly lit, carpeted office in Road Reef Plaza is not exactly the best place for grooving, but, to the amusement of my coworkers, I can’t stop chair-dancing with my headphones on as I listen to the lineup for this year’s BVI Music Fest.

Music, Food, Friends and Fun
When I asked BVI Tourist Board Marketing Manager Lynette Harrigan and David Archer, Public Relations Officer for BVI Music Fest Cane Garden Bay Limited, which artists they were particularly looking forward to for this year’s event, they said in unison, “All of them.” Mr. Archer followed with, “I just try to maintain my composure when talking about the lineup; I’m so excited.”

I complimented the committee on the inclusion of strong female voices such as Queen Ifrica, Tanya Stephens and Zoelah. “We wanted to ensure we had a cross-section of artists, of course,” Mr. Archer said. “And we’ve made a strong effort to reach out to our diverse community. We’re especially excited about Daddy Yankee, who has never performed in this part of the Caribbean,” Ms. Harrigan said.


They stressed the fact that each night has something for everyone, instead of being completely separated by genres. For example, reggae sensation Tanya Stephens is closing out the night on Sunday, a night that previously featured mostly R&B acts.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if the BVI Music Fest became a destination festival, similar to ones in the States and Europe like Bonnaroo or Glastonbury Festival? A place where people come to BVI specifically for the music?” I asked.

“We already have that,” Ms. Harrigan said. “People who come to Cane Garden Bay for the Music Fest rebook their rooms for the next year before they leave. All the rooms in Cane Garden are already filled up.” Ms. Harrigan also indicated that word of mouth is spreading fast, especially in Puerto Rico because of Daddy Yankee. “It gives you a good buzz to come down the hill into Cane Garden Bay and see all the boats from Puerto Rico grouped together. That is another way that our festival is unique, because of the boating aspect, and that is the reason why it is staying in Cane Garden Bay.”

For the three days of the festival, Cane Garden Bay will be an official port of entry for visitors from St John, St Thomas and Virgin Gorda, with a special ferry schedule between the islands. “Customs and immigration has always been helpful,” Mr. Archer added.


Ms. Harrigan mentioned that Music Fest is another vehicle to promote not only the BVI’s topographical beauty but also the culture of the BVI by showcasing more than just music—local visual artists, dancers and poets will share their work as well.

Along with artists, the established restaurants and vendors of Cane Garden Bay will continue doing what they do best—making their customers happy. All the restaurants, stands and shops will be open during the BVI Music Festival. In addition, twenty booths featuring local foods, island drinks and souvenirs will be set up to serve attendees’ desires to eat, drink, shop and keep their energy up. They’ll need it, especially if my chair-dancing is any indication of the irrepressible urge to move while listening to these artists. As Ms. Harrigan said, “It’s one of the events that everyone in the BVI looks forward to.”

Advance Tickets
Three-day passes, at a reduced price of $45, will be available for sale on Sunday, May 3 at Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park (formerly Palm Grove Park) at an event cosponsored by LIME and on May 15 and 16 at the box office of the Multi-Purpose Sports Complex.  




2009 Artist Schedule and Bios

Friday, May 22

Zoelah, from St Vincent, is a soca artist with flavour. Her most popular hit, “Go Down Low,” is a favorite with the ladies. “Fly Away” cleverly uses the melody from the chorus of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.”

Ricky T
brings the St Lucian brand of soca to Cane Garden Bay. His high-energy hit “Pressure Boom,” with its mix of drum and digital beats, is sure to get the crowd moving.

Jamesy P’s biggest hit, 2005’s “Nookie,” features the Oscar-nominated artist M.I.A. Born in St Vincent, he has lived in the BVI since 1991.

Also known as Mr. Freestyle, Peter Ram started out as a DJ in Barbados. After making history in the nineties with his AIDS-themed dub song “Dangerous Test,” he branched into soca and has recently had two huge hits: “Woman by My Side” and “Pumpin’.”

Dancehall superstar Busy Signal gained wide recognition with his 2005 hit “Step Out.” His music also has sensitive side with tracks like “I Love Yuh.”

Saturday, May 23

Cane Garden Bay’s own Quito Rymer, whose track “Mix Up World” is on Putumayo’s Islands compilation, kicks off Saturday with his Caribbean-themed music.

Jamaica’s Queen Ifrica got her start in the music business in 1995 the same way her father, reggae legend Derrick Morgan got his start in 1957, by winning a talent contest. Since then, Queen has performed her socially conscious music, most notably the controversial reggae megahits “Mi Nah Rub” and “Daddy,” all over the world.

Another Music Fest artist from Jamaica, Serani’s most famous work has been as a producer for Sean Paul and others, but he scored his own recording contract in 2008. “No Games,” his biggest hit, features his producing talents as well as his charming, infectious voice.

Daddy Yankee
was named, alongside such performers as Will Smith and Ellen DeGeneres, in 2006’s TIME 100, a list of “100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is changing our world.”  His reggaeton smash “Gasolina” won a Latin Grammy in 2005 and fired up the international music charts.

Jamaica’s Sizzla has performed with such artists as Wyclef Jean, Talib Kweli and Shaggy, and is also known for his timeless reggae recordings “Just One of Those Days” and “Give Me a Try.”

Sunday, May 24

The BVI’s Lashing Dogs, from Sea Cow’s Bay, play a mix of fungi, reggae and American rock music. Fungi music is made for dancing and celebrating, especially barefoot in the sand.

The Imaginations Brass band are a calypso band from St. Thomas famous for their stellar brass section.

A calypso crooner, Baron performs everything from Jazz standards like “Summertime” and “Fools Rush In” to Caribbean hits like “Pom Pom Shorts” and “Sweet Soca Man.”

Rock & Roll Hall of Famers The Drifters have recorded classic doo wop hits since 1953. Locals and tourists alike will be swaying and singing along to “Under the Boardwalk,” “This Magic Moment,” “Some Kind of Wonderful,” and “Up on the Roof.”

Tanya Stephens
is poised for international superstardom. Her artful and accessible compositions have enabled her to conquer the often male-dominated reggae scene in Jamaica. While her lyrics tackle all aspects of the female experience, from sexism to sexuality, her songs speak to all genders and cultures.