A music lover attending the recent Ultimate Release Party of the St.Kitts Music Festival reacts with excitement during the announcement of artistes while in the company of a friend as they capture the moment using their cellphones (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 21st February 2020) – At the recent Ultimate Release Party for the final wave of acts slated to perform at the upcoming 24th  annual St.Kitts Music Festival in June 2020, a partnership with UberSoca Cruise was announced also for the Thursday night festivity.

The newly announced acts are Gladys Knight, Shenseea, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons, Mr Killa, Patrice Roberts, Asa Banton, Lyrikal, Nailah Blackman, Voice, Future, Beres Hammond, Anthony B, Jhené Aiko along with two national acts 313 and Venelle Powell.

Jimmy Cliff, Koffee, WizKid and Chronixx as well as local jam band Kollision Band were announced in December 2019.

Head the Artistes Selection Committee of the St.Kitts Music Festival Jonel Powell in speaking with media workers following the entertainment news at the Splash Bar venue located at the Royal St. Kitts Hotel in Frigate Bay, gave more details about the first time collaboration with UberSoca Cruise

“This year we’re partnering with the UberSoca Cruise team. Thursday night is going to be St.Kitts Music Festival Thursday night powered by UberSoca and what that means is they’re going to be bringing that UberSoca experience and combine it with our St.Kitts Music Festival experience. Persons who’ve been on UberSoca Cruise would understand exactly what that means and those who have not are going to be in for a treat, something new; we just see all the synergies in the two groups in terms of the target demographic in particular young professional people are more likely to spend on travelling and partying to carnivals and these kinds of things as well as music festivals and so we think it’s a fantastic partnership. Like we said, this year’s St.Kitts and Nevis will be the title sponsor for the fifth anniversary UberSoca Cruise down in November so it’s more than just Music Festival, it’s long term and we think it’s going to be something that would enhance both (experiences).”
Information gleaned from ubersocacruise.com says: “Ubersoca cruise is the largest soca festival at sea!”

According to a summed up description of the event: “The 6 day, 5-night cruise experience fuses the energy and excitement of a Caribbean carnival with the feel of a luxury cruise. ubersoca cruise features non-stop soca fetes and the best soca entertainers in the world: an ‘experience beyond the music’! with over 50 events including a pre-party, live concerts, themed-parties, midnight mas, a J’ouvert, sports competitions, comedy shows, pool parties and panel discussions, USC is the ultimate carnival experience!”

Asked by this reporter how easy it was to announce the full line-up early, Powell commented: “Not easy at all. We literally started booking some of these artistes before last year’s Music Festival. It’s been a long process, a lot of research, a lot of negotiating but at the end of the day the reaction from the crowd shows that we are on the right track and we’re feeling confident for the success of this Music Festival.”

Organisers had publicly told that the full line-up would have been released in January.

Questioned about the budget for the 2020 roster, Powell also stated: “The budget is good. I think we’re actually spending less than we did last year but that’s why it’s all about the negotiations and starting early; the earlier we start, the better it is. We were able to announce Koffee in December before she was nominated for a Grammy. If we had to negotiate with her now, I don’t know how much she would cost us so that’s why we start early and do our thing.”

Jamaican Reggae sensation Koffee, who celebrated her 20th birth on the 16th February, captured the award for Best Reggae Album at the recent 62nd Grammy Awards in the US held in January 2020, and is the only female and youngest solo artiste to do so.

Speaking about the line-up, the St.Kitts Music Festival official told: “We tried our best to make sure we have something for everybody and I think that’s evident today. We have locals, we have regional and international. We have for the young people, for the not so young, the mature; we have somebody for everybody.”

Furthermore, he is optimistic that the nighty 8PM-start concerts would keep within the desired cut off time frame after patrons would have gotten their money’s worth of performances.

“One of the things we focus on is production  and one of the reasons we have less is  that we try to cut off about 1:30-2:00 AM because we encourage other activities in other area such as The [Frigate Bay] Strip and other people who have fringe events and other after parties but it’s all about the production and we have a fantastic local production team who runs the show like nobody’s business and barring unforeseen circumstances, we’re positive that we’re going to  run through the artistes for them to express themselves fully for people to get their monies worth and still end at the time that we want to.”