For the eleventh consecutive summer, St. Kitts will welcome some of the world’s biggest musical acts for a three-day festival. Though the small island of St. Kitts might seem a strange destination for an internationally renowned music festival, this exotic local has consistently lured top talents. Representing a wide variety of musical styles, past performers at the St. Kitts Music Festival include The Temptations, Chaka Khan, Wyclef Jean, Eve, Busta Rhymes, Hugh Masekala and Kenny Rogers.
This year’s festival – scheduled for June 21-23 – will feature plenty of award-winning artists, but a unique focus sets the event apart from stateside festivals. Since the beginning, the St. Kitts Music Festival has been committed to showcasing the finest talent from not only the island, but throughout the Caribbean. Hence, you’ll be exposed to exotic sounds that can’t be found at home.
An example of this Caribbean flavor is the Small Axe Band, a native St. Kittian reggae collective performing on Thursday. Besides being recognized as the “best local reggae band” since 1980, Small Axe Band has been a longtime most treasured of festival-goers. In fact, these St. Kittian legends performed at the first St. Kitts Music Festival in 1996. Led by the energetic Livingstone Samuel, Small Axe Band consistently wows the crowd despite being virtually unknown outside the Caribbean. Also on Thursday, one should catch Machel Montano HD – one of the world’s most desired soca performers.
Even some of the headlining acts are native to the Caribbean, despite selling millions of records throughout the world. On Friday, the lineup features three incredibly popular acts – all of which produce unique takes on the Caribbean sound. Lady Saw, recognized as “the queen of dance hall,” has long been committed to the traditions of Jamaican music. However, she has also won a Grammy for a triple-platinum collaboration with Gwen Stefani, worked with Missy Elliot and performed extensively across the globe.
Following Lady Saw on Friday’s lineup will be Steel Pulse – one of the world’s most desired reggae bands – and Sean Paul – the chart-topping dance hall artist. Though the members of Steel Pulse and Sean Paul are all residents of Jamaica, the lineup represents a unique contrast of styles – a meeting of traditional reggae and the cutting edge of today’s popular music scene.
During times when Friday’s program provides a star-studded list of Caribbean-based artists, Saturday boasts a lineup that would make many stateside festivals jealous. The final day of the festival opens with two artists rooted in Caribbean musical tradition. Much like Friday’s lineup, a pair of unique Caribbean styles will be on display. Jazzique, an incredibly gifted Caribbean jazz musician, will open Saturday’s festivities on a smooth note. Following Jazzique is Maxi Priest, the world’s most desired solo reggae artist behind the legendary Bob Marley.
Later in the day, the festival will feature a trio of Grammy-recognized solo artists. First among these headliners is Ne-Yo – a platinum selling R&B artist currently signed to Def Jam Records. Next to take the stage is Michael Bolton, a name and voice known
throughout the world. Having won numerous awards and sold out arenas across the globe, Bolton brings his soothing sound to the relaxed environment of St. Kitts for the first time. Big Boi – one half of superstar rap duo Outkast – will end the festival on an energetic note.
The St. Kitts Music Festival is centrally located in Basseterre, the capital of the island. With many of the most desired resorts and restaurants located in walking distance – and many more just a short shuttle ride away – a night at the St. Kitts Music Festival is the wonderful addition to a Caribbean vacation.
Including the popular performers mentioned above and many others, here’s the complete schedule for the festival.
Thursday, June 21
King Konris and Queen Anastasia
Crazy – with the band Lejah
Small Axe Band
Machel Montano HD
Friday, June 22
Pan Tribute to Boots
Saturday, June 23
Big Boi of Outkast