Beach Bar, Beach Shop and Destination Wedding Studio on Stocking Island ~ Exuma, Bahamas

Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival

2012 will be the 7th Annual Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival, and the dates are March 15-17, 2012.

Excerpts from a press release from The Commonwealth of The Bahamas’ Information Services department…

“This festival is important if only because we need to be sure we can find quality ways to showcase things Bahamian – our food, our music, our arts and our craft,” said Tourism’s Director General, Ms. Vernice Walkine.

Thousands of Bahamians, winter residents, hotel guests and visiting yachts persons packed Regatta Park for a celebration of the Bahamian experience. A flotilla of fans came from nearby Long Island and the Exuma Cays, a special flight came in from Inagua, and charters and private planes flew in patrons virtually non-stop.

They were treated to a spectacle of arts and crafts from colourful straw work to shell craft to jewellery to woodcarvings to paintings all on various Bahamian themes. The artifact booth with relics like the goose iron, kerosene lamp, wooden scrubbing board, grater, iron pots was a favourite, especially with the younger crowd who saw how chores deemed simple today use to be much more complicated. Exuma’s cooks and bakers were on their game with a wide variety of Bahamian presentations from delicious whelk soup and stews to barbeques, from crabs to conchs; pastries, duffs, tarts, puddings, cakes.

“This festival is on the right track where we need to be going,” said musician Fred Ferguson, the Ministry of Tourism’s entertainment consultant. “This festival has set the tune for what the other festivals’ standards should be. “We have been able to continue the warm relationship between the visitors and the locals and that’s excellent. This year the visiting boaters even put together a band to be a part of the festival. “The draw for the festival, besides the heritage, is the entertainment and we have been able to keep that at a level everyone is comfortable with.”

This festival is a natural extension of the George Town cruising regatta festivities for visiting yachtspersons. Last year the chairman of the cruising regatta worked closely with the organizers of the festival in making it a success.Bob Cronin, a resident of Stocking Island, across Elizabeth Harbour from Regatta Park, said he brought the idea of a festival to then cruising regatta chief John Gilchrist of the yacht Freebird. “I said, no matter where you go, there is one thing that brings everybody together, and that is music,” said Cronin. “And Bahamian music has a very unique sound. It has its own qualities and its own characteristics. “I said, no matter where you go, there is one thing that brings everybody together, and that is music,” said Cronin. “And Bahamian music has a very unique sound. It has its own qualities and its own characteristics.

“When you travel around the Caribbean there are areas known for their music. Think of reggae and you think of Jamaica. Jamaica has a sound which it has capitalized on and people who like reggae will travel to music festivals in Jamaica.
“There is soca from Trinidad and that’s a very unique sound. That island has capitalized on this sound and helped to further its identity with tourism. “Well, the Bahamas has a sound. Bahamian music is unique in its own way. But, it’s not really being promoted, here anyway. You hear it, maybe with a couple of local bands and its fun to dance to. But what about a music festival?”The Ministry of Tourism responded favourably to the idea and agreed to promote it, he said.

Source: Bahamas Government Website