Island Entertainment

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PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten – “Come, Experience Life” is the perfect way to describe St. Maarten’s main cultural festival – Carnival, and have an experience of a lifetime is what United People’s (UP) party Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard wants all revelers to have this Carnival season.

“Carnival on St. Maarten is sweet! St. Maarten knows how to jam. Carnival is a time of unity, fun and enjoyment. We embrace each other and welcome especially our Carnival brothers and sisters to join in and feel the sweetness of the music and the friendliness of our hospitality,” says MP Leonard.

Leonard encourages all Carnival lovers to head to Festival Village throughout the season and to make a special effort to attend the locally focused events. “Carnival is a time for our talent to take centre stage. I encourage everyone to support our own and cheer all of our talent on,” she said.

Amidst the excitement and revelry, Leonard encouraged all Carnival lovers to experience life through responsible fun. “Let’s jam together, have fun together and create great memories to last a lifetime. At the end of the season, let us make plans for next year’s fete,” she said.

St. Maarten has been doing Carnival nice and sweet for 47 years, said Leonard. “Every year St. Maarten Carnival gets better and better and this in thanks in no small part to the team of loyal volunteers connected to St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation who often give their time to make sure all revelers experience life and have incredible and responsible fun,” she said.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - For the first time in Carnival’s history, organized tours will take place for both cruise and overnight passengers to enjoy the Carnival Village.

There will be daytime tours for lunch in the village from 1pm to 3pm as well as nighttime tours of some of the local events including Soca Rumble, Calypso Finals and One Love Reggae Concert.

Some of the tour companies involved are Nexus Tours, Sunwing, Xaro Tours and various Taxi Drivers. Gift bags and some support for entertainment of the guests were provided by the Port of St. Maarten.

“This is an initiative we have envisioned as part of the long-term marketing plan of Carnival, and it is finally happening,” said Rolando Brison, Marketing Director to SCDF, “While we’ve wanted to do this for a long time, the priority was to ensure the product of Carnival was ready to welcome hundreds of tourists to the village every afternoon on organized tours.

Now that we have refined the product and business model, and have the resources in place, we are ready to have organized tours into the Carnival Village with our tourists.

While for many years tourists have visited the village on their own or on the advice of Taxi Drivers, this is the first time that organized tours will be making a stop at the village and provided guided tours of Carnival to them.

The daytime tours will begin with a welcome by an official SCDF member as well as a member of the SCDF Marketing Team. The visitors will be handed over to one of the “Village Tour Guides”.

They will be given a brief history of Carnival and the Village, including the way the village concept started and its various locations over the years on the island, until ultimately its permanent home was built in 2005.

The Harbor has come on board with providing over 2000 gift bags to the tourists as well as entertainment on some days. Island Revelers troupe will be letting tourist dress in headpieces and back-pieces for pictures, and ILTT will be offering Duty Free liquor to the sponsors.

It is expected that anywhere between 25 to 400 tourists will be a part of the organized tours each day, depending on the number of cruise ships in port.

The tourists will then be split into groups and visit various of the booth holders who are open for lunch. The booth holders can tell their story of being a booth holder and present them with some of the signature dishes and drink samples offered to the guests. The last half hour of their tour the tourists will be free to roam the village and have lunch or a drink.

For the night tours, the guests will get to experience some of the key cultural events, including Soca Rumble, Calypso and the One Love Reggae Concert. These will also be in the form of guided tours including dinner and a brief look at backstage. Other promoters can also contact Nexus Tours to have their night events a part of the lineup.

“Involving cruise visitors have always been an initiative we wanted to start. Many visitors have told us that they really didn’t know about Carnival they just happen to be in port at the time. With that in mind we started thinking about what steps we can take to not only market to them but involve them. The tours are just the first step.

We have a much larger goal in mind that we will be working on moving forward. On behalf of the board of the SCDF I extend our deepest gratitude to the tour operators and the Port of St. Maarten for working with us on this initiative which only benefits the destination and the Carnival product,” SCDF Director Mike Granger said.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - This past weekend was packed with Carnival activities as the island prepares for the official opening of Carnival 2016 on the 14 of April.

On Saturday evening Rio Productions presented their yearly event called the "lighted parade" while on Sunday the big bad XP Band won the clash of the bands on Pond Island.

Saturday's "lighted parade" was a huge success stated organizer and brain child of the event Brenda Wathey.

She told our news room that she is very thankful for all the people and entities that participated and made the event another huge success.

More now via PodCast.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - One of Carnival’s premier shows, “the Power and Groovy Soca Rumble” is just around the corner and as a result, all is being put in place for a remarkable show this year, which will see the participation of 21 competitors, 10 in the Groovy category and 11 in the Power segment of the show.

The event, which promises to be competed at a high level is scheduled to take place at the Festival Village on Friday, April 15th and will start promptly at 8 pm.

Speaking to our news department, Geisha Heyliger of Promotions Montage NV told our news department that the night will be filled with lots of entertainment as well as excitement.

She is equally excited about the 2nd edition of the show.

Meanwhile, one of the persons that will be competing for the first time in the Soca Rumble event is the Mighty Dow.

He made clear that he is in it to avenge his son, Young Dow, who unsuccessfully participated in the 1st edition of the show last year.

The veteran entertainer is also sending a clear message to the younger generation.

The ultimate vision of the Nature Island Food & Drink Festival scheduled for April 23rd, 28th & 29th this year is ‘to present and promote culinary excellence and passion in Dominica. Stimulating Industry practitioners to utilize culturally rich techniques and recipes with contemporary skill and ingredients and up-to-date trends to consistently provide distinctly Dominican world class culinary experiences’.  This years’ Festival takes major strides in that direction through a number of key developments and support from prestigious institutions and industry colleagues.

Island Chef Culinary Competitions and headline Cook-Off & Mix-Off event will take place on Friday 29th April at the Anchorage Hotel where International and regional chefs will serve as judges. South African Melissa Van Assen, a Super Yacht Chef for over 15 years and co-owner/Chef at her Banana Lama Eco Villa near Rosalie in Dominica will be head of the judging panel. The panel will be made up of the esteemed Symposium Chef Lecturers whose attendance has been made possible by sponsorship from our Caribbean regional airline LIAT.

This year competitors can expect to win life-changing prizes. The Festival has secured support from the multiple Award winning CuisineArt Golf Resort & Spa in Anguilla through a prize of a 2 week internship in November during the 2nd annual Epicurea Golf Event. Another 2-week internship has been secured from one of the Caribbean’s Top 5 Luxury Lifestyle resorts, the Curtain Bluff in Antigua while The renowned Coco Palms Resort & Spa in St. Lucia has not only sponsored this year’s Mixologist Lecturer and Judge but has also committed a one week internship for the Island Mixologist 2016 Champ. As a special Category this year the Judges will select the most promising Chef who will win a Culinary Course at Chef Edey’s Caribbean Cuisine Culinary Institute in Barbados. Very generous prizes to be awarded with others from local media partner Digicel on the afternoon of 30th April, at the DHTA’s most prestigious Annual National Tourism Trade Show & Cocktail.

With the invaluable partnership of Discover Dominica Authority, further regional support has come via print promotion in LIAT’s ZING Magazine April to June 2016 edition and the Festival’s inclusion in the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Caribbean Culinary Events Calendar 2016 which is distributed globally to the Travel & Leisure Industry and online as well as Travel & Trade Show presence.

As with Last year the Festival Schedule is full of interesting activites for people of all ages and includes; the Kids Farm to Table Experience on Saturday 23rd April to the Kalinago Territory with 2 time Island Chef Champ Nikki Esprit of Café Desiderata; NIF&DF Symposium of a full day of interactive hands-on workshops by top chefs. Barbadian Celebrity Television Chef and Lecturer Peter Edey of Caribbean Cuisine and Nutritionist, Dominican born Personal Trainer, Nutritionist and Chef Irma Douglas of Fiber & Spice who honed her Culinary and Coaching skills in New York over 2 decades.

The workshops will cover a broad range of topics from kitchen operations to menu planning on your feet with available ingredients; the proverbial ‘Mystery Basket’, International trends for presentation to considerations of Nutrition and caloric values. Four important workshops that will assist the food enthusiasts and importantly the industry workers in ensuring they strike a balance on variety, technique, nutrition and value, making for profitable businesses.

Two workshops for Mixologists by St. Lucian Demitrius Octave from Coco Palms Resort & Spa will deliver a Belfast Estate Rums sponsored Rumology course and a Mixology workshop on infusing local essences and flavours with International trends, spirits and brews. These will precede the Nature Island Ital Food & Bush Rum Fest featuring a Belfast Estates Rumology Mix -Off & Anchorage Ital Buffet.

Producer of the event Carla Armour, extends gratitude to the local partners and sponsors who have come forward or stood with the Festival this year in spite of the economic downturn exacerbated by the effects of TS Erika namely; The Anchorage, Digicel, Portsmouth Beach Hotel, Discover Dominica Authority, Sukies Blue Flame Gas and PDG Restaurant and Kitchen Suppliers for 5 years of sponsorship; Fine Foods Inc. agents for Roberts & Angostura, Smirnoff Vodka (agents HHV Whitchurch), Neo Expression, First Domestic Insurance Co. ltd., Dominica News Online and our newest sponsors Belfast Estates Ltd. and S-Mart. A Festival of this magnitude cannot go on without the support and patronage of the public so all are encouraged to come out and enjoy the aspects that are most attractive to them, invite friends from the diaspora to come to Dominica for the Festival and during the month of May when the highlight on National Tourism Month promotes experiencing Dominica like a local. They way Dominica knows how to do Tourism best! The Real deal!

Call for Chefs and Mixologists and activity programs have been posted to facebook and circulated to the Industry. Registrations are open to all interested persons at a very low competition and workshop fees.

For more information on sponsorship, participation and to register for competitions please download your forms and contact event producer Carla Armour via email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call via whats app to +447470466502 or call the Anchorage on +1767 448-2638 & +1767 245 4166. Or in person, tickets and registration forms will be available from the Anchorage Hotel in Castle Comfort.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - This weekend will be another carnival packed weekend with numerous activities and parties.

The events will start on Friday evening with the road to carnival parties and culminating on Sunday afternoon with the band clash.

The Walter Plantz Pier will also be a location that will be featured this weekend with carnival after parties.

Director of the SCDF Michael Granger spoke to our news room via PodCast.

GREAT BAY, St. Maarten Bracket, the Nigerian duo who will be performing for the first time at the St. Maarten Carnival on April 26th has been nominated in two categories including the Best African Group at the 2016 Kora All African Music Awards, which is largely considered the African equivalent of the Grammy Awards.

The other category for which the group has been nominated is the Best Collaboration of the Year for the track “MayDay SOS” with JJK.

The awards ceremony was scheduled to have been held last month at the Windhoek Country Club in Namibia, however, the organizers announced its postponement due to some “technical” issues.

Winners from each category will receive the coveted Kora trophy and cash prizes ranging from US$20,000 to US$50,000, and one million dollars for the Best Artist of the Continent, the nominees for which have not yet been revealed.bracket alive

Both Rihanna and Chris Brown have won the Best Artist of the Diaspora respectively in past editions.

Bracket, the multiple award-winning duo of Yori Yori fame, are well-known in the Caribbean for their infectious beat which is similar to Zouk, laced with R&B and African rhythms.

“We are coming to rock St. Maarten Carnival,” Bracket told organizers of the African Flavour Concert who are also offering the opportunity for everyone who purchases a ticket to win two return airline tickets to Nigeria.

“You have to be inside the Festival Village when the raffle is held to win, otherwise another number will be chosen,” said Melissa Webster, president of the African Flavor Entertainment Foundation, which is in charge of the concert.

The line-up also includes Benjai (Mr. Phenomenal) from Trinidad who will also be making his debut on St. Maarten and Roxxy from Anguilla. Oswald, (“Baby Yolo”; “Girls that like girls”) who is now plying his talent in France, will be back home just for this concert while reigning Groovy Soca Rumble Monarch, King Timo will also be delighting the audience with his unique sound.

“Fred York and his Musicologists, who have backed such legendary stars like the late Percy Sledge, will be on stage too,” added Ms. Webster who said that the Nirvana Dancers will add a special flavor to the concert, while some of the island’s most outstanding DJs will demonstrate their skills.

MC for the evening will be the King of them all, Fernando Clark.

“We promise an experience that you will never forget,” concluded Ms. Webster.

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - The St. Maarten Carnival Development Foundation (SCDF) is gearing up for a busy weekend which will be headlined by the first band clash to be held in well over a decade.

Band Clash 2016 will be held on Sunday, April 10 on the parking lot next to the new Government Administration Building. Showtime is 5:00pm and admission is free.

The three bands that will “clash” are No Limit Band, XP Band and 4M HD. The Band Clash is part of SCDF’s approach to give local bands extra exposure for the Carnival season.

Historically, the clash has always drawn a passionate crowd of supporters for their favorite bands. This year is expected to be no different.

Criteria for Band Clash 2016:

  • Bands must play a 30 minute set. This set must consist of the SCDF Classic Pick and other local songs.
  • The SCDF Classic Pick will be a local song chosen by SCDF. The classic song chosen is “We goin on mad” by Youth Waves.
  • Each band must start their set with The Classic Pick, played as it should be in its original recording. Bands must perform the intro, first verse and 1 chorus of the song as the original, after which the song can be played in the band’s own style and rendition.
  • After the Classic Pick the Band can continue its set with any set of local and original songs. Bands may play songs from other bands once the songs are considered local.
  • There is a maximum of 100 points to be allotted towards Band of the Year totals by participating in Band Clash.
  • It will be judged by a three-member panel of judges.

“The bands are excited and ready for Sunday and we are expecting a nice turnout in support of local bands. St. Maarten’s Carnival lovers can’t get enough of the bands going against each other.

This has been a great tradition of the past and every year we are asked to bring it back.

We are encouraging everyone to come out and support their favorite band and to have a good time as we continue to build towards Carnival 2016,” the SCDF said.

SAINT LUCIA – The 2016 official festival opening show at the Mindoo Philip Mark on April 29th is set to offer patrons a high energy party experience consistent with the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival’s “Best Party in the Caribbean” brand.

Twelve artistes from Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Saint Lucia will raise the curtains on the 25th edition of the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival in a show designed to bring the most prolific Soca hits over the last two years, old school reggae and dancehall to the Opening Show. They comprise Saint Lucians Nerdy, Sirlancealot, Michael Robinson, Sedale & Wildfire, Mysterio, Arthur Allain, Ezra ‘The Fun Machine’, Tropixx Band, and The Derek Yarde Project (DYP) in an old school reggae tribute with Lovindeer, plus Lyrikal and Mavado

An interesting and fun segment of the Festival’s Opening Show promises to be a collaboration between Saint Lucia’s DYP and Jamaica’s Lovindeer, whose several hits remain old time favorites across the Caribbean. These include “Babylon Boops", "Don't Bend Down", "Pocomonia Day", "Man Shortage", and what is perhaps the biggest hit of his career with "Wild Gilbert".

In disclosing the line-up, Saint Lucia Tourist Board Special Events, Manager Dahlia Guard, disclosed that the heavy emphasis on Saint Lucia chart topping Soca acts was deliberate in view of the appeal of the Opening of Jazz as a jam and party night, vis a vis the comparative quality of Saint Lucian party music in the last five years.

“Saint Lucia’s Soca artistes are on par with the international Soca artistes of the region. There is hardly any need to look elsewhere for the Opening of Jazz given the type of event it is; but also, with the rebranding of the Festival, we are keeping to the mandate of exposing what we have that is great,” Guard said.

The US based International recording artiste Lyrikal of Trinidad & Tobago has more than 40 releases in his repertoire, including “Conquer Meh”, “Dip and Roll”, “Cloud 9” and “Loner”, as well as countless collaborations with leading Caribbean artistes.

Headlining the Opening of the Jazz & Arts Festival will be Mavado who has been racking up a string of hits from 2005. “On The Rock”, remixed by Jay Z, was a smash hit that went on to enjoy Billboard success.  Mavado’s popularity also stems from the acclaim associated with his many musical collaborations with some of the industry’s top urban artistes such as Busta Rhymes, Birdman, Akon, Snoop Dogg, Ludacris, JAY Z and Wyclef.

Patrons at the April 29th Opening will also receive a musical treat when two of the island’s most famed and prolific deejays Hyper D and Hollywood HP face-off.   

The venue is the Mindoo Phillip Park in the capital Castries and ShowTime is 8pm promptly. Tickets are priced at EC$60/US$24 in advance and are available at The Cell -Baywalk Mall, Vieux Fort and Soufriere, Splendor Gifts & More -Gablewoods Mall, and Steve’s Barber Shop. Cash, credit cards, bank/ATM cards will be accepted at some outlets.

For more information on the full lineup for the Saint Lucia Jazz & Arts Festival 2016 along with show dates, venues and ticket sales, log onto

PHILIPSBURG, St. Maarten - ENNIA manager Soraida America gives a gift certificate to one of the winners at the Manrique Capriles Beauty Expo.

The certificate is for a massage, manicure, pedicure and facial at the Indulgence by the Sea Spa.

All visitors to ENNIA's stand who made an appointment for a financial planning consultation were eligible to win a gift certificate.

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