ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Following what they consider a successful Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari, organisers said it is “very clear” that the festival will be returning to Antigua, hopefully as a permanent part of the entertainment calendar.
“You should not be surprised if before the year ends you hear the safari has touched down in Antigua again,” said Tom Hinds, festival executive producer.
“The kind of support that we have been getting is really overwhelming.”
The festival organiser said he is “definitely” considering the Minister of Tourism John Maginley’s proposal that the festival be hosted during the September/October lull in the tourism season.
For two consecutive nights, the smooth sounds of jazz filled the Dean William Lake Cultural Centre and the Shirley Heights Lookout.
Archie Alleyne and his band Kollage, and the Danny Mixon Quartet, featuring vocalist Denise Thimes, performed at the Cultural Centre on Friday evening.
“I am completely energised. This has been fantastic,” Hinds said. “It was really something to behold. The audience seems to be so knowledgeable about the music.”
Night two of the festival on Saturday, attracted a sizeable crowd who turned out at historic Shirley Heights. Scores of patrons lounged on blankets and lawn chairs in front of the stage at Shirley Heights, enjoying the famous barbeque and drinks in-between acts.
A very spirited Derek McKeith opened the second night. A true entertainer, he ventured off the stage to serenade the audience directly. He entertained the crowd with his interpretation of Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You,” complete with MJ-esque dance moves and high-pitched vocals.
Naniki, which gets its name from an Arawak word meaning “full of life”, travels from country to country in keeping with a safari experience. The first leg was held in Barbados in January and will continue on to St Vincent at the end of March and Grenada in April.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)