Around midnight on Saturday, a rain shower sent hundreds of partygoers scampering for shelter at the Tortola Pier Park, but Trinidadian jazz trumpeter Etienne Charles and his band didn’t stop their performance.
After a few minutes, the rain had stopped and the attendees once again gathered in front of the stage for the last night of Tortola Pier Park’s Rock the Fashion event, which began on May 24 and ended early Sunday morning.
“It’s been fantastic and refreshing. All the acts have been very professional,” said Richard Sykes, who stood close to the stage. “The local acts have done us very proud, and Etienne Charles was absolutely wonderful.”
Organisers were also happy with the event, which included fashion shows and a musical lineup that focused heavily on jazz, along with a bit of calypso, reggae and other genres.
“We are pleased with the overall event and excitingly look forward to planning this signature event for next year, ensuring that we build on the feedback and experiences of the first year creating an even better second-year event,” TPP’s Leasing and Marketing Manager Meslyn Allan said in a press release.
On Friday there were fewer attendees than Saturday, with two featured performers — Jamaican artists Dean Frazer and Alaine — both no-shows due to flight scheduling issues, organisers explained.
However, the two were bumped to the next day, and patrons who had purchased tickets to see them Friday were admitted Saturday with no charge.
The VI could use more such concerts, said Dianne Modeste, who hadn’t attended a similar event in years.
“It’s been very good,” she said Saturday. “I’ve enjoyed the music and the open atmosphere.”
Apart from drawing residents to the TPP, the event helps to showcase local talent, said Andre Braithwaite, who led the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College Jazz Band in a performance at the start of the night.
“When they told me about what they had in mind, I jumped on it because I thought this would be a lovely avenue for our jazz band and jazz groups on the island to come out and showcase their talent,” he said.
The jazz band is always open to performing outside the regular HLSCC Performing Arts Series, according to the director.
“I think this does a whole lot for jazz here. I think it brings a different caliber of folks out — people who are really into jazz,” Mr. Braithwaite said. “I think the people enjoyed the variety of performance here, because jazz is such a broad area.”
And jazz goes hand in hand with dance, said Che Pemberton. As the HLSCC Jazz Band performed, Mr. Pemberton tap-danced on a wooden board he placed near the stage, even though it wasn’t part of the show.
“The art of tap dancing and jazz were born together, and for some reason you see jazz, but you don’t see tap dancing as much,” he said as he danced. “I really want to work on bringing tap dancing up to join jazz in the BVI.”
In the future, Mr. Pemberton plans on collaborating with the HLSCC jazz band.
“Dancing alongside them today has been good practice for me,” he said.
After the jazz band’s performances, several others followed, including the HLSCC Stingray Singers, Calden James, Kamau Georges and Dalan Vanterpool.
Later in the night, Etienne Charles from Trinidad performed, followed by Jamaican trumpet player Dean Frazer, Jamaican singer Alaine, and Jamaican reggae family Morgan Heritage.