Because of the August Emancipation Festival holiday, the Beacon will not print next Thursday. Printing will resume Aug. 17, and advertising and editorial deadlines will return to normal for that edition. In the meantime, go to bvibeacon.com and the Beacon’s social media channels for ongoing coverage of the events in the coming days. Beaconites wish readers and advertisers a joyous August Emancipation Festival.
Beaconites were disappointed in the high cost of tickets for some of the August Emancipation Festival shows this year. They believe that $40 is simply too much — especially for events that are heavily subsidised by taxpayer dollars. Some organisers have justified the cost by pointing out that tickets are also costly for other music festivals in the region. This is true, but the territory’s August Emancipation Festival is not just a music fest: It is a publicly funded community celebration that should be easily accessible to everyone. Many residents simply cannot afford to splurge $40 on a single ticket during these difficult times, and they will not be able to attend. This will mean a lower turnout, less business for vendors, a more subdued celebration in general, and disappointment for those left behind. That sounds like a lose-lose-lose-lose situation. The Virgin Islands Festivals and Fairs Committee should reconsider the ticket prices in the future.
Bopping to the beat
It’s a sign that festival season is off to a good start when a Beaconite’s biggest struggle is not tapping her feet long enough to get clear shots of the musicians gracing the stage at the Irene Penn-O’Neal Festival Village. Last year was remarkable for the reporter because it was her first opportunity to experience a full festival given the impact of the pandemic, and it was a joyous time. Now, she is eagerly looking forward to some of her favourite events. The Gospel Explosion was particularly enjoyable as she celebrated with a few of her Guyanese friends who looked forward to Samuel Medas’ performance. The reporter got to try a delicious Guyanese white sausage for the first time and anticipates many more tasty dishes from throughout the region will be on her plate this season.
A Beaconite was astounded over the weekend when she went to check out with a six-pack of mini soda waters and was smacked in the face with a nearly $11 charge at the grocery store checkout. It was a vivid reminder that far too many laws, like consumer protection regulations, have passed through the House of Assembly but failed to get the proper support to ensure they are enforced. The reporter sees no reason for stores to still neglect listing item prices on the shelves, among other protections meant to help out consumers at a time when a dollar doesn’t go far.
A Beaconite has an update on her trip to the tropical island of Sri Lanka. While there may be some sightings of deer in the Virgin Islands, the island of Sri Lanka has a vast variety of wild animals. The reporter was lucky enough to see elephants up close at the Udawalawe National Park. The park is home to nearly 250 Sri Lankan elephants. Since it isn’t the rainy season yet, the park was very dry and most of the elephants were hiding from the heat. Some even went to the outer fence of the park in search of food from tourists and locals. This reporter threw a bunch of bananas to a hungry elephant. She also stayed at a campsite and took a dawn game ride to spot leopards. She was lucky enough to see three of them atop a big rock at Yala National Park. While in Sri Lanka, she also spotted kingfishers, bee-eaters, hawk eagles, peacocks, hornbills, black-naped hares, flycatchers, crocodiles, water buffalo, mourning doves, pelicans, painted storks, black ibis, grey langur, red face macaques, orange-breasted green pigeons, pied kingfishers, Indian cormorants, grey-headed fish eagles, golden jackals, parrots, wild boar, great blue herons and more. She’s only touched the tip of the iceberg, however. She was told by some Dutch tourists-turned-residents that the northern and eastern-most parts of the island have great snorkelling as well. Still, she doubts it is as good as the snorkelling in the Virgin Islands.