Photo: Music Festival Chairman Damion Hobson (far right), and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Stanley Knight (far left), Director of Sports Anthony Wiltshire (immediate right) and Venue Manager Anthony Heyliger in discussion during this week’s onsite review at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium (Spokesman Snap)

By: Precious Mills

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Wednesday 18th April 2018)- For the upcoming 22nd annual St.Kitts Music Festival in June, grass mats to protect the field at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium along with other new changes like the direction of the stage are expected for the redesigned layout.

Information about such was collectively revealed when Music Festival Chairman Damion Hobson, Chairman of the Logistics Committee Robert ‘Bobby’ Morris and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Sports Stanley Knight addressed members of the media during a press briefing held  yesterday (17th April) relating to an onsite review of the event venue.

Hobson highlighted the reason for the visit saying:

“This morning we’ve come to Warner Park to look at the venue because we feel that the new ideas behind the Music Festival to get crowd participation, to get spectator participation is to have a better venue.”

He added: “There were a number of challenges last year with the venue and we feel that by coming together early with our partners…this is a way for us to get it right for 2018 or certainly put us on the right foot for 2018. We have redesigned the layout. We’ve redesigned the entire park – from entrance bars located stage is turned and so we expect a much better feel for the patrons for the St.Kitts Music Festival.”

Hobson said that day’s outing was the first in a series of media briefings noting that the idea is to keep the media and general public updated leading up to the festival.

PS Knight touched on the usefulness of the grass mats which been acquired for about quarter of a million dollars.

“I think that this is going to be an opportunity for us to see the full potential of the grass mats because unlike Carnival where the mats were down for two, three weeks, this is now a case where we expect basically about a one week turn around because when the grass mats go down, the facilities go up, the facilities go down and grass mats go back up.”

As understood, the stage, the VIP areas and other facilities would be set up on the grass mat flooring.

Morris, in talking the logistics language concerning the event venue, shared: “Based on a lot of feedback from last year, we did modify the orientation. In this new orientation, you would see the stage would be oriented slightly southwest and that gives us an opportunity to better enhance the visitor arrival of the patrons; a lot of this activity now would be based around the patrons having a good time.”

He informed that the main entrance has been relocated coming down the western gate that separates the football from the cricket area.

In referring to concerns expressed by bar operators, he explained that the main entrance will also enhance the experience of their patrons saying that they can “stay at the bar and look down at the grounds and the idea also is to wrap the VIP areas around the stage.”

“We have gone through some lengths in making sure that we protect the cricket pitch so we would have barricades on the eastern side as well as the access …a more controlled access,” he added.

Morris also mentioned last year’s access issues onto the grounds where there was need for remedial work after the demobilisation whilst adding “but this year with the strategic partners we will ensure, there is less impact on the cricket grounds…but most of all it is a much workable area, the layout and hopefully we will do what we intend to achieve.”

More details in this week’s newspaper.