ROSEAU, Dominica -- AGAINST the backdrop of lush green hills and waterfalls, the 2022 World Creole Festival (WCF) came to an end, drawing the curtains on months of planning for the return of the mega event.
The 2022 Festival was the first since the start of the pandemic, and the organizers and the Government went to all lengths to ensure the event was staged to much fanfare, pageantry and a large influx of tourists to the island.
They brought a number of top local artistes and bands to compliment the international and best regional performers who belted out their lyrics - from Kes the Band to Sizzla, to Patrice Roberts and Shenseea.
Despite some of the inclement weather, patrons were glad to party in the rain, and local artiste Asa ‘King of the Wet Fete’ Banta belted his lyrics to the enjoyment of the fans.
Day one of the Festival kicked everything off with the hype pageantry, pomp, ceremony and the lively stage presence of all those artistes who graced the stage.
And they were also entertained by the lovely sounds of homegrown creole music which was followed by dancehall queen Shenseea, who brought her raunchy style that is more appreciative by the younger generation.
But controversy erupted on day two when the Festival’s headliner, Nigerian Afrobeat artiste Burna Boy did not show up for his performance though the Government of Dominica made regional connections for the him to fly to the island.
However, the Director of Tourism, Colin Piper made the announcement early in the evening on Saturday (Oct. 30) that because of challenges beyond the artiste’s control he was unable to travel to perform that evening.
That was despite his band members and others from his nearly 40 contingent arriving earlier in the day.
Dominica Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that all provisions were made for the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados to leave their airports open for him to connect for the Festival.
The show however proceeded without him and the local and regional artistes entertained the thousands in attendance.
It was homegrown Asa Banta who partied with the crowd in the heavy downpour, renewing his title as the King of the WetFfete. He gave an hour and a half performance of pure entertainment, lifting the spirits of the crowd that stayed until dayclean and forgot their tiredness to see him perform.
Asa Banta told SKNVibes Entertainment that he would be in the Federation for Carnival where the party would continue.
As if the party could not be further spoiled, Burna Boy struck again on the final evening making demands to the organizers after sitting in his vehicle for approximately 20 minutes.
His actions had prompted the crowd to boo and jeer in creole for him to get on the stage
One of his demands was for media representative to remove from the front of the stage after he sang three songs.
His performance lasted for approximately 75 minutes, which was a big disappointment for the crowd because of his constant use of expletives while calling on them to show the vibes.
In an apparent attempt to fit him in a packed lineup for the final evening, the organizers struck an agreement with Trindadian songstress Patrice Roberts to switch her time slot with him, as he reportedly requested that he perform in the same period as he was slated for the previous morning.
Despite agreeing to that, the Soca artiste made her displeasure known as she began her performance sometime after 4:00 a.m. when many patrons were leaving the show.
But she brought down the curtains with an electrifying performance that only she can bring.
The organizers believed the Festival achieved its main goal of drawing people from across the region and internationally to the island.
The island is known for its unique waterfalls, untapped rain forest, lush green landscape and its creole.
The activities for the World Creole Festival have come and gone, but the celebrations will continue as this week the island will see beauties from across the OECS member states gracing the shores for the Sub-regional Pageant.
Now plans are afoot for staging of activities for National Carnival Celebrations and the Creole Festival in 2023.