How long does it take to organize and execute a charity concert packed with the best of the best in Caribbean music?
The answer is 28 days.
Spearheaded by soca artist Machel Montano, Tony Chow Lin On and his team, the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium on Antigua was packed Sunday night with music lovers of all nationalities who wanted to enjoy great music while making a contribution to the hurricane relief.
The Caribbean Strong concert was the latest in a series of shows to raise funds and to highlight the tragedies created by the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the month of September. Funds raised from the concert, which was streamed live on local television ABS and via Facebook, will benefit Barbuda which was destroyed and resulted in all residents evacuated to Antigua. Dominica is also to benefit from the fundraiser. (Click here to donate.)
Dominica’s Hon. Minister of Tourism and Urban Renewal, Robert Tonge was present and brought greetings from Hon. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerritt. He extended thanks to the people of Antigua for working to execute the show in such a short period.
Several of the artists had been scheduled to perform at Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival which would have happened this past weekend were it not for the destruction of the island.
Hon. Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who was in attendance celebrated the people who had made the event. He paid tribute to the people of Barbuda and also the Dominicans who have relocated to Antigua to live. He called on the leaders of the First World to step up and fix the problem created by their continued use of fossil fuels on a scale beyond what the Caribbean islands can protect themselves from. The prime minister said it was imperative that helped with rebuilding the islands. Barbuda, he said has a US$250 million price tag to rebuild, while Dominica will need at least one billion to recover.
For more than seven hours, music lovers and those streaming the event on radio, television and the internet enjoyed reggae, dancehall, alternative rock, and lots of soca. Artists in the line up were Antiguan acts The Strays, Soca artist Janine, Menace, Asher Otto and Itchy Feet, Dell Richardson, Ricardo Dru, Tizzy and Tian Winter, Marvay (Barbados), Farmer Nappy (T&T) Shaggy (JA, USA), Angela Hunte (NY), Tessanne Chin (JA), Mr. Vegas (JA), Konshens (JA), Kes (T&T) Destra (T&T), Machel Montano (T&T), Triple K and Asa Banton (Dominica).
Hip Hop legend Doug E Fresh was one of the night’s MCs. Every artist brought their A Game. They were also doing the concert for free and several, including Ricardo Dru had performed the previous night at the Trinidad edition of #CaribbeanStrong.
The diversity of the acts and the audience made for a musical journey across the region. Tessanne’s Chin rendition of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song brought the natural response of everyone singing along. She also sang her classic Hideaway and songs from her appearances on The Voice. Machel Montano, who performed with a live band and dancers, included samples of Antigua & Barbuda’s most popular soca band Burning Flames. Destra, who broke her right foot earlier this year while on tour, said she could not miss the event and did not disappoint with samples of old and new hits. She also dropped her new single Family, a tribute to her fans who gave her love after hearing of her injury. The appearances were on average fifteen minutes long. Machel did give a full hour of music.
Outstanding and performances I wished were longer: Kes, Mr Vegas, and Tian Winter.
Enjoy the photos. Also find more images and videos from the concert by searching the #CaribbeanStrong on Instagram.