A colourful parade closed out the 2024 St. Patrick's Festival parade. (Dwight Sampson photo)

2024 St. Patrick’s Festival a Success, Improvements Needed in Event Start Times, Says Arts Council Director

With almost 3000 people recorded as travelling into Montserrat during the St. Patrick’s Festival, the 2024 event has been deemed a success by the Montserrat Arts Council (MAC), which organises the event along with private promoters.

The Access Division reported last week that 2,941 people travelled between March 1 and 18th, 2024 via ferry, planes and helicopters.

Director of the MAC Kenneth “Rabo” Silcott told Discover Montserrat “The St Patrick’s Day Festival in my humble opinion was a great success. We saw bumper crowds at all of the events, both MAC organised, and Private promoter organised events.”

The MAC director said there was always room for improvement and more funds are needed to deliver a festival of high standard.

“I would like to see greater attention given to the start time of events. Time is very important in the planning and streaming of events. When you pay your hard-earned money to see an event you need to know it will start on time,” the director said.

Late start times have been an issue for some time, and it is customary for ticket holders to not show up to an event until three or four hours after the expected start time. This, however, impacts daytime events and other service providers who have bookings left unfilled when customers are too tired to keep their appointments. There was also a noted increase in traffic accidents during the festival.

“Budgets are never adequate,” Silcott said. “We can always use more funds to adequately produce and execute these events. This year we were working with budget allocations of $150K. One of the things we as an organisation need to do effectively is to raise funds and seek sponsorship for all events to supplement the Government of Montserrat’s subventions.”

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Lionel Baker of Immortal Promoters, which hosts All White, said this year’s event was very successful with more attendees than in 2023. The numbers were closer to 2020, he shared, which had been on its way to being the largest festival to date but had to be aborted after All White due to the COVID crisis.

Baker said his team plans to continue hosting, which is notably one of the St. Patrick’s Festival’s premier outdoor parties, where patrons all dress in white. This year’s theme was Dubai Style. “The highlights for me this year was the selection of music from the both the local and international DJs.” He also loved that everyone made use of the photo areas created by the Decor Lab for taking videos and photos.

Other standout events were the Olde School Ball which raises funds for Meals on Wheels, the Montserrat National Trust Flower Show & Tea Party, and The Art Show which featured resident and visiting artists exhibiting new work which was also for sale.

The director acknowledged the efforts of Jermaine Wade and Jayesh “Sakawinki” Sadhwani, who were on temporary contracts with the council to market and coordinate both the December Carnival and March festival. “The future of these two positions will be discussed in detail at the next board meeting. It was a pleasure working with these two young and upcoming cultural gentlemen. Decisions will be made as to the status and filling of these vacancies whether they are better served as permanent or temporary positions.”