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Bajans abuzz in Bequia

… thrill receptive audience at annual music festival

Barbados made its presence felt in Bequia last weekend for the 10th anniversary Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest.

With Spice & Co., NexCyx and Ziggy Walcott on the cards appearing to record crowds, this year’s event began on Thursday, January 24, with performances at the open-air waterfront bar by a 13-piece Elite Steel Orchestra from St. Vincent.

This was just the beginning of what proved to be an extraordinary weekend of musical entertainment. The tiny Grenadine island of Bequia began filling up with visitors in the days before the event with a record 200 or more yachts crowding the harbour in Admiralty Bay.

Many were heard to remark on the fact that Bajan band Spice & Co. was slated to appear for the first time, along with the award-winning young and vibrant NexCyx billed as the headliners.

Saturday might have well been the Bajans’ day, because that night, a crow of 1,100-plus gathered Down at De Reef for an evening lime outside under the stars. Music Fest favourite Toby Armstrong, along with his band from Barbados, won even more fans with his extraordinary guitar performance, as did award-winning pan virtuoso Ziggy Walcott, saxophonist Joseph Callender, drummer Dwight Callender Jr., and bassist Marius Charlemagne. Joining them on stage for a 10th anniversary Mount Gay Blues Band re-union was Garvie Griffith on vocals and acoustic guitar, vocalist Jomo Lord, guitarist Scott Zimmerman and Kirk Redman on drums.

Then it was the turn of Spice & Co. The venue was packed, the atmosphere was hot, and what a show it was! “I’ve waited 20 years for this!” said one ecstatic visitor. “I never thought I’d see them again, and when I heard they were playing in Bequia I couldn’t believe it!” “I sailed all the way up from Grenada just to be here – and man, they were sensational!” said another.

Alan Sheppard, Dean Straker and Roger Foster had the crowd on their feet “bumping and wining” from the opening bars of Rasta Man, De Congaline and more.

But there was yet more to come with the last act of the night. Bequia took NexCyx to their hearts three years ago, and have followed their fortunes ever since so it’s not surprising the house went wild with their electrifying performance of numbers old and new, bringing the excitement to fever pitch till after 2am. Lead singer Mahalia Phillips had fans screaming for more from both her and co-vocalist Rochelle Griffith, with Kris Clarke, Russell Padmore, Andr? Clarke and Chadd Ifill pumping up the pressure on bass, lead guitar, keyboard and drums, and Andre Forde guesting on pan.

“These brilliant young stars are no longer rising – they are firmly up there with the very best!” the statement said

Even more acts took to the stage on Sunday and it was a festival many would not forget.

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