Date: Saturday April 11th, 2009
Location: James Bond Beach. St. Mary, Jamaica
Promotions: Bacchanal Jamaica
Click on thumbnails to see the big picture/entire gallery
Soca Lovers Dream Fete!
Touching down in Kingston early Friday morning thanks to Air Jamaica, we linked up with DJ Private Ryan (who happened to be on the same flight) to kill a few hours in the airport before Machel Montano and the HD band arrived. Our mission was Bacchanal Jamaica's annual "Beach J'Ouvert" event at James Bond Beach in Ocho Rios on Saturday April 11th.
The HD crew arrived a little late (which was expected), minus Patrice Roberts and Kernal Roberts. Word is, Patrice ruptured her appendix earlier in the week, and Kernal got into an accident and injured both hands. No worries, Michelle Xavier (Imij & Co.) and Gregory "Animal" Pegus (the drummer for Bunji Garlin & The Asylum band) joined the HD family to fill both spots. Well I cannot get into all of the details that transpired on the bus ride over to Ocho Rios, but as Machel rightfully put it ... we could have filmed an episode of Pon D Corner easily on the trip with all the ole talk that went down.
Fast forward to Saturday. With the fete was scheduled from 1-10pm, the Bacchanal Jamaica crew (big up Sam, Neil, Maxine and crew) picked us up at the resort around 2:30pm, so we arrived at James Bond Beach about thirty minutes to an hour later. The weather was perfect ... almost clear skies and HOT sun (photo)! Now the party itself took place in a large park like area seaside (photo) ... yes, seaside - it's not litterly on the beach ... but partygoers were more than welcomed to take a dip in the sea if they wanted (photo).
The venue was well spaced, with various sponsor tents and vendors circling the perimeter. There was also a "No Paint Zone" (photo) for those that didn't want to get down and dirty in the paint. Facing everything was the main stage, where DJ Private Ryan and DJ Smoke (Renaissance Disco) kept the music pumping with a nice blend of both old and new Soca.
While partygoers anxiously waited on the jouvert paint to be distributed, most grabbed straw hats and Hawaiian leis provided by the good folks of Bacchanal Jamaica. Face/Body painting was also a big hit. With the drinks flowing freely at this Drinks Inclusive fete, the vibes kept building nicely. Something about free alcohol always adds a plus to any party! But if you did walk with your belly in hand, there was plenty of food on sale. Mr. Franklin ... thank you for the festival, jerk chicken & pig tail (photo) ... it hit d spot!
With the sun starting to set around 5pm, as promised, this one of a kind event brought J'ouvert to the seashore. Folks that were immaculately clean 10 minutes ago, were now immersed in paint, and the fete slipped into another gear. More bacchanal, more wining! I didn't get more than 2 steps from backstage before a wicked J'Ouvert reveller got the best of me. The obsessive wining continued until the sun had fully set with the massive bonfire blazing in the background (photos 191-198) ... absolutely beautiful.
The Machel Montano HD show, armed with Farmer Nappy, Zan and Michelle X and three HD dancers, started promptly at 7pm. And after performing a good 30 songs (such as "Higher Than High", "Wining Season", "One More Time", "Floor On Fire", "Big Truck", "Carnival", "Won't Stop" and "Jumbie") within 1 hour and 45 minutes, partygoers chanted for more HD. And Machel gave the Beach J'Ouvert crowd another 30 minutes of the band's glory, starting the encore off with the energetic "Toro Toro". The feedback from the crowd was quite positive, and the general consensus was that this was definitely one of Machel's best performances in JA to date. Zan, a new comer to Jamaica, received lots of love for both his 2009 hits "Slip Away" and "Hold You Down", as well as, 2008 groovy favourite "Out On De Road". Also, we must commend Michelle on a job well done in filling in Patrice's sets (get well soon Patrice).
As Montano conducted interviews with the various media houses following his performance, Private Ryan kept the vibes pumping (with sweet Soca music of course) all the way to very end. So if we're asked, "Is Beach J'Ouvert a good fete?" We can confidently say that this fete surely brings J'ouvert to the seashore, and with FREE drinks, a sexy crowd and the likes of some of the biggest names on the Soca scene including Machel Montano HD, Destra Garcia & Shurwayne Winchester providing the live entertainment, it's definitely every Soca Lover dream fete!
I'll see you guys at the next Bacchanal Jamaica event - Soca @ De Sand Bar on Wed April 15th.
ah piece of hardo bread with relish, and still running from JA Overproof Rum!!