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Arts & Culture Last Updated: Mar 17, 2017 - 1:00:16 PM


Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival Closes Out Successful 13th Year
By Kendea Smith, Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
Mar 17, 2017 - 10:45:10 AM

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A large crowd of locals and visitors dance that night away. Photo: Kemuel Stubbs

Hundreds of visitors and locals packed Regatta Park in Georgetown, Exuma for the thrilling13th Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival.

The festival, under the theme “ Celebrating Our Bahamian Roots” brought together the best in Bahamian food, games, music and culture on March 9-12.

The event is especially important for the island as many tourists from all over the world look forward to participating in the festival.

Britt Almroth has been coming to Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival for the past 12 years.

She fell in love with the festival and Exuma and decided to purchase a home there.

Ms. Almoth, who is from Cleveland, said each year the festival gets better.

“The music festival is my favourite time in Exuma,” she said. “I love rake n’ scrape. I love the music, I love to dance and in Exuma, there is always someone ready to dance with you,” she said.

“I will be returning every year.”

Maddie Slovogan from New York also spoke about her love for the festival.

“This has been fantastic,” said Maddie. “It’s really alive so it has just been a very exciting festival. It’s my first time coming but it won’t be my last.”

Each day of the event delivered mouthwatering food, exciting games and informative demonstrations.

Daytime demonstrations included Bahamian dancing, a display of artifacts, Bahamian bush teas, coconut crafts, woodcarving and Bahamian baking and cooking.

Additionally for children, there were “playtime way back when,” ring play, kite flying, sack races, hopscotch, egg and spoon races and marbles.

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Fire dancer performs at Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival In Exuma. Photo: Kemuel Stubbs

By night, the park became a musical center starting with Thursday night, which was dedicated to Bahamian gospel music.

Artists such as Lyrically Blessed, Voices of Thunder, Anglican Choir Baptist Choir; Irwin Clarke; Natasha Lewis; Al Gibson; Washington Williams; Gospel Boys; Cooling Waters and Prophet took the stage.

Friday and Saturday nights were dedicated to secular music.

Bahamian music artists like Long Island Rake n’ Scrape; Just Us; Sweet Love; Tingum Dem Band; Ira Storr and the Spank Band; Stevie S; Puzzle; Geno D; Veronica Bishop and D’MAC got the crowd dancing.

Artist Vernoica Bishop is a veteran at annual festival. She said that she enjoys performing.

“I love performing here because it’s different from being in Nassau,” Ms. Bishop said. “When I come it’s always different. The food is good and I just love to come down to Exuma because it is so beautiful.”

Dillion D’ Mac McKenzie is also a crowd favourite as he is originally from Exuma. He encouraged other Bahamian artists to be a part of the festival.

“This year was bigger and better,” he said. “This is all about the industry. When you hit the stage at Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival, you have arrived at a certain point. Any Bahamian musician, I would encourage to be a part of the festival because this sets the bar.

Director of Events Charity Armbrister said the event concluded well.

“I think it went very well this year,” she said. “We went way back and brought Ting Em’ Dem band, which was the first band that performed when the Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival was formed. We also had limbo dances, fire dancers and the Obeah Man. I think that it is important for us to show those kinds of things because we are keeping the Bahamian culture alive.”



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