The 17 edition of the annual Dominica world creole music festival was launched right here in Saint Lucia on Monday, September 23, 2013. According to the Director of Tourism for Dominica Colin Piper, who met with the media here on Monday at the Bay Gardens hotel, his presence was two fold. “Not only are we here to invite Saint Lucians to join us once again for another year of this great festival, but to lure them into experiencing some of the attractions as well that Dominica has to offer,” Piper said. He then went on to list a number of tourist attractions that the nature isle offered, including the unique champagne reef dive site, the boiling lake, the emerald pool and the Indian River, which featured in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. “I mean Dominica is still truly unspoiled and we offer a bit of history, archeology, culture and great cuisine and we are also the whale watching capital, the natural spa capital and the diving capital. So we just want to encourage Saint Lucians to bring a friend and come over when they want to explore or even just relax,” Piper says.
In terms of the creole music festival, Colin Piper told the Star that the event over the years has been heavily supported by Saint Lucians as he recalled the first Saint Lucian group to perform at the event, Apex (now defunct) featuring Derek Yarde. “So this is why we are here for this special launch because we know Saint Lucians love good music and festivals and each year they come to Dominica with their huge flags which always gets into our videos,” Piper joked.
“For the past sixteen years this festival has stood the test of time with support from the Caribbean mainly the French Antilles, Saint Lucia and Antigua. But we do get patrons from all over the world, the UK, Canada, the US and particularly from the Diaspora,” the tourism Director noted.
Like many festivals in the region the event serves as a marketing tool for Dominica and an added attraction to draw Tourist to the nature isle. The festival also coincides each year with the islands independence anniversary and will be held this year from Friday October 25 to Sunday October 27 at the Windsor Park sports stadium, Roseau Dominica.
Joining Piper to announce the line-up Monday was Nikima Royer, head of Marketing at the Discover Dominica Authority. Piper says a lot of thinking and planning goes into the line-up starting with consulting local DJs as to which artistes they are getting the most buzz about. “We then take that information and start looking at who is available from that list, where they are coming from, travel size and so on before arriving at a final lineup,” Piper says.
According to Nikima Royer, “this years event features ten genres of music over three nights with fifteen different acts offering more than thirty hours of music.” Despite the various genres, organizers insist that creole music is still at the core of the festival and makes up the highest percentage.
Night one of the Dominica world creole music festival will feature Trinidadian Soca king Machel Montano and the HD family. There will also be performances from Dominica’s Triple K going back to their Zouk and Compas roots as well as Asa Banton, Nigel Jn Baptiste (originally of WCK and Triple K), Nu Look- a Compas group of Haiti by way of Miami and Kwaxikolor.
The second night of the festival will feature Jamaican dancehall reggae star Busy Signal. Bracket of Nigeria with their hit Yuri Yuri will also be on show as well as Dominica’s Cadence all-stars with Fitzroy Williams and the French Zouk all-stars featuring Patrice Hulman, Orlane, Alex Alexis and Jean Marc Ferdinand. WCK, the kings of Bouyon music will also be on that night and already we hear of rumblings of a reunion of the original group members.
The event will close off on Sunday Night, October 27 and will feature the legendary KASSAV. The finale will also feature Carimi, Latin star Tito Puente Jr. and Dominica’s Swinging stars backing an all star calypso cast Hunter, Daddy Chess, De Bobb, Tasha P and monarch King Dice as well as a number of rising stars in Dominica.
Ahead of the main-stage, events organizers are also partnering with LIME for the annual Creole in the park, October 21-24 and the NCCU Cadence Lypso inc for the Cadence-lypso competition on October 19.
Having attracted a peak of just over four thousand visitors for the festival in 2012, organizers are hoping that with increase airlift by LIAT and sea access by Express de ‘isle persons wishing to come for the festival will have access. “We have had discussions with LIAT and we are not expecting the delays and cancellations that occurred this summer to reoccur,” Piper says. According to him LIAT will have flights coming in via San Juan, St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbados into Dominica on a daily basis. Additionally BVI airways will also be flying out of St. Maarten with Express de ‘isle bringing in a number of passengers by boat from Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Lucia.
The ‘three nights of pulsating music’ according to organizers is being held under the umbrella of presenting sponsors the Government of Dominica with Digicel as the Gold sponsor.