Virgin Atlantic Music Festival Barbados
In 2007 Virgin Atlantic sponsored a music festival in Barbados, where bands from the UK flew in to perform at various locations across the island.
This musical treat gave locals and tourists the opportunity to hear folk, blues, rock and alternative music from up and coming artists, and was a welcome change from the usual calypso, reggae and soca, which is heard often on the island.
The festival ran over four days, with two bands playing each night at venues on the south, west and east coasts and then culminated with a grand finale of all acts performing at one event.
The overall festival was a huge success and paved the way for it to become a regular fixture on the Barbados musical calendar.
The event was first held in November 2007, and opened with a jamming session of all musicians at Surfer’s Bay, Silver Sands, Christ Church on the south coast.
Then later on that evening Anna Hall, lead singer with the UK punk rock outfit Hey Gravity! performed solo at Pablo Donte’s, on Maxwell Main Road in Christ Church again on the south coast of Barbados.
The following evening hundreds of people went to Mojos bar to hear the headline act for the festival, which was The Martin Harley Band. They play a mixture of blues, rock and folk.
This three-man band comprises of Martin Harley on lead vocals and who plays slide guitar. Then there is Graeme Ross on double bass and Pete Swatton on drums. Their sound is so unique yet the audience was singing along even though they had never heard the song before.
When the set was finished at Mojos, festival goers moved on to McBride’s to hear The Muscle Shoal perform their own brand of alternative and rock music, this was a double bill with Roadhouse, Barbados’ own leading rock band.
The following evening was a tripe bill of festival activity with Irish musicians Ricky Barr, Nick Timothy and Caroline O’Neil who all performed at the Reef Surfing Competition in Bathsheba. They gave a great performance at the Roundhouse and were enjoyed by all.
The Irish musicians then nipped across the island to perform a second set at The Mews on the west coast and then next door to the Mews in The Elbow Room, an up and coming band from Devon in the UK called Diverted Traffic performed their own original rock songs.
The final day was an all-evening event back at Surfer’s Bay, where the grounds had been transformed to create a stage with the crashing Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. All musicians performed and were joined by Trinidadian rock band Lanyap, who closed the show and literally brought the house down.
All who attended were well pleased and the Barbados Virgin Atlantic Music Festival is now a permanent fixture on the events calendar of Barbados.