Virgin Atlantic Music Festival 2008 – Friday, October 31st, 2008
The Hellraiser’s Ball at Surfer’s Bay Beach Bar in Silver Sands Christ Church Barbados.
The first public night of The Virgin Atlantic Music Festival opened at Surfer’s Bay Beach Bar in Silver Sands. This was the opening night of the big weekend, where all 25 bands would perform over the next three days.
The stage was built out over the sea, providing a theatrical backdrop as the Atlantic Ocean crashed behind. The Hellraiser’s Ball was held on Halloween, so the audience dressed in full costume with the promise of great prizes from Virgin Atlantic.
The festival-goers were not disappointed as Virgin Atlantic gave away a free return ticket to the UK to the best-dressed male and female.
The first band to hit the stage was Nexcyx, from Barbados who gave a high-energy performance and used this as a showcase for their new original material, they got the crowd raring to go and got the party started.
Surfer’s Bay had some bars laid out around the grounds with local bars such as McBride’s, Mojos, Surfer’s Cafe and Bert’s Bar on tour.
Next to hit the stage was Roadhouse, again from Barbados with lead vocals from singer/songwriter Gar-v, who used this event to launch two new singles ‘Trying to get by‘ and ‘Hoping for Rain‘,’which sounded fantastic on the big stage with a full band backing him.
On drums was the talented Kirk Redman, on bass the up and coming bassist Marius Charlemagne, and the ever-versatile Toby Armstrong on lead guitar. Roadhouse is well known in Barbados as a party band and they didn’t disappoint the audience as everyone was up dancing on the grass.
With the crowd now enjoying the sound of a Mount Gay party in true Barbadian style, the next band to perform were Threads of Scarlet. Joint lead singers Jesse Foster and Nick Ward originally from Barbados had a huge following with all their fans wearing brightly colored wigs and Threads of Scarlet tee shirts.
Jesse and Nick have spent the last five years in New York working with fellow band members Stuart Damm (from New York) on drums and Marc Glinka (from Ohio) on bass. They tailored their set specifically for Halloween with weird and wonderful sound effects to create an eerie vibe!
After Threads of Scarlet was Trinidadian band Lanyap, who had performed in the 2007 Virgin Atlantic Music Festival. Lanyap performed their original fusion of Caribbean rock to great applause from the audience. Many Trinidadians based in Barbados turned out to support their boys from home and they received a warm welcome from people who had never seem them perform before.
Next up on the bill was Chamber Games from Dublin, Ireland. This energetic band is fronted by Willow, who also performed in the 2007 Virgin Atlantic Music Festival. Willow aka Caroline O’Neil is a 23-year-old singer songwriter with the voice of an angel. Her style has changed dramatically since her last performance, and the range of her voice developed to now front this hard-core rock band. This was a new experience for the Barbadian audience who welcomed them with open arms.
The headline act of the evening was Hip Slinky from the UK, a three piece all original Indie band. Lead vocals from Walter Heale demonstrated the diversity of this talented group of musicians as Walter pelted out song after song each very different from the previous in a different vocal range. On drums and keyboards was Jon Baxter also demonstrating his diversity as a musician. On bass was Raphael Chesterman who wooed the crowd with his guitar skills.
The audience were able to purchase CD’s from musicians who had played that evening.