FAULT Magazine Attend Pure Grenada Music Festival

(TAKEN FROM THE FULL ARTICLE PUBLISHED WITHIN FAULT ISSUE #24)

Despite being the home of many great musicians, Grenada has yet to hold an event to rival its neighbouring islands. St. Lucia has its Jazz and Arts Festival and Barbados has its Crop Over celebration but while Grenada has their own carnival each year, this is their chance to invite a larger number of music lovers to the island. FAULT attended the debut of The Pure Grenada Music Festival to see how one small island known for its spices could soon be the festival destination for music tourists worldwide.

Our first night was spent on the very exclusive Calivigny Island island on the south coast. Accessible by boat (although helicopter wouldn’t feel out of place) we sailed from the mainland for a night of exquisite jazz performances on the luxurious private island. Despite this being Pure Grenada Music Festival’s very first event, the organisers have filled the bill with internationally recognised musicians. Eddie Bullen took to the stage with an impressive set, later bringing his son Quincy on stage for a duet which truly electrified the crowd. Also on the bill was the legend that is, Andy Narell. If you’re not too familiar with steel pan etiquette, just know that the instrument is normally kept well away from jazz; until Andy Narell that is. His set was unique and I hadn’t expected the organisers to take the risk of including a non-purest jazz performer but I’m thankful they took the chance and included Andy in the night’s line-up because it added another layer of original musicality to the whole evening.

Moving on from there we were treated to UK’s own Zara McFarlane. The young vocalist and her band brought the house down. Her vocal lights and shades were rich with texture and her full chest and head voice prowess left me and the crowd blown away. As a big shoot-out to her bassist Max Luthert who really stood out as a legend in the making, I expect to hear great things to come from this group of young British jazz talent. Calivigny island is truly stunning and it was a wonderful exclusive night to ease us into the festival. While it was a wonderful night of music and without question an impressive show of budding and recognised talents, it didn’t convey the local charm of the Caribbean. This night was definitely suited for those looking to experience Grenada with a VIP edge and many people travel to the island in search of. For those who prefer a more down to earth and casual experience, don’t worry because there’s something for everyone at the Pure Grenada Music Festival.

Day two of the Pure Grenada Music Festival and it was time for their ‘Rock De Boat’ night and as you might have guessed, we were in store for a boat party. Sailing to the centre of The Carenage in St. George’s, we were stationed opposite a floating stage under the starry night sky. This was a million miles away from the boat parties you’d expect on European islands, this party was a far more “elegantly casual” affair with cocktails, dancing below deck and wonderful live performances; it was all rather romantic.The Rock De Boat line-up again boasted international talent and every performer had their own individual music style. From the local four-piece band, ‘The Phoenix’ to the folk/pop stylings of duo ‘Madison Violet’ and Erik Pédurand’s soulful jazzy performance, there was definitely something for everyone this night.

The Pheonix opened the show with a mixture of their own original music and a number of covers to really get the crowd ready for the party. The young four-piece showed great potential and we’re glad to see that local talent was included in the show. While we might not have heard of them prior, it’s great to have been introduced to their music on this night and their cover of Bon Jovi’s ‘Living On A Prayer’ really got the crowd in the mood to party the night away.Next up was Erik Pédurand who hails from Guadeloupe. If you’ve not listened to Erik before, he is definitely worth checking out, especially for tracks ‘Elle Donne’ and ‘Paris Chérie’. While many of Erik’s songs are in French, his smooth vocal tones and stage presence transcend the language barrier much like the french singing artist, Stromae. Again, this is another artist who we weren’t familiar with and are now listening to non-stop. This is the magic of an international festival such as this, the chance to discover unheard artists and to have bragging rights of introducing them to new audiences back home after the trip.Next came Canadian duo Madison Violet who were arguably the most established performer of the night. As mentioned on the previous page, the organisers truly excelled at filling the festival with both up-and-coming talent and established performers. Madison Violet certainly qualify for the latter with seven albums and a Juno nomination under their belt. Their set was certainly new to many listeners and locals in the crowd but it was clear that they all enjoyed the set and enjoyed discovering new music as much as we did with the performances prior.

Watching the performers in the cool Grenadian evening with locals and tourists enjoying the performances from smaller boats below, it really allowed us to see the true beauty of St. George’s at nighttime. While again, this wasn’t your typical festival experience and it was certainly tamer than what some might be used, it was truly a magical evening in an amazing setting. For honeymooners and mature travellers looking for a classy night in the centre of St.George’s, we would highly recommend heading to the Rock De Boat party of The Pure Grenada Festival.

For those that prefer more of a wild “mosh-pit” festival experience, keep reading! As we said, there’s something for everyone in Grenada and the remaining nights will provide exactly what you’re looking for…

Night three, and it’s on this night we finally felt that we had ditched the tour guides, VIP handlers and champagne flutes and were ready to experience life outside of the PR approved bubble. Of course, we hadn’t and the PR was with us at every step but surrounded by locals, tourists and students, we were ready to experience Pure Grenada Music Festival unfiltered and from the mosh pit. It’s important to mention that while the music was loud and the atmosphere buzzing, this wasn’t the same crowd you find at Glastonbury, Leeds and the like. Festival goers were excited about the music and danced into the early hours each night but Pure Grenada Music Festival felt far more family friendly and safe compared to many other European festivals. Of course, all festivals at home and abroad can be daunting and you have to always keep your wits about you; we didn’t experience or witness a single incident which caused for concern. Throughout the final three days, we saw children, adults and elderly music-lovers all enjoying the festival together and that’s what other festivals should find a way of adopting.

On our first night at the performance space in Port Louis, we were delighted to find out it was the much anticipated Reggae Night presented by Westerhall Rum. With it being Grenada and reggae having a rich history on the island, as you might expect, we were extremely excited for this night. Taking to the stage this night was Steel Pulse, Etana, Jesse Royal, Spice Rock and Dj Ezzy B and despite being a Reggae themes night, all performers brought something different to the stage. Of course, we cheered loudest for the Birmingham’s own legendary Steel Pulse who killed their set and really and truly brought the house down. Again, this night also highlighted new artists Jesse Royal and Etana who put on a hell of a show well beyond their years.

The following evening was Rhythm and Soul Night which we spent away from the press tent and in the main spectator’s area.  Joss Stone, The British Collective, Andy Narell & Pan Allstars, Jomo & Gylfi were all on hand to deliver the sounds of soul. The atmosphere this night was much calmer than the previous and many spectators brought blankets and opted to sit and enjoy the music rather than dance the night away – like I’ve said before, there is something for everybody at Pure Grenada  Music Festival!

The chilled atmosphere gave us a chance to taste some of the great food on offer from the various vendors and chat to some fellow festival goers. I joined a group of young Grenadians relaxing on the grass and they explained to me how proud they were of the event. While Pure Grenada Music Festival caught the eye of many international travellers, the locals were just as excited to see what their island could achieve – the general consensus from both groups was that the festival had been a great success. Locals also spoke of excitement for next year and how they appreciated that Pure Grenada Music Festival was boosting the economy and encouraging attendance of locals by offering discounted tickets for Grenada residents.

Despite two very exclusive and high grandeur nights at the festival, it was wonderful to sit on the grass and join the locals in discussion and see the festival from their perspective. Both experiences have their place at Pure Grenada Music Festival and while I’m aware that our readers are more inclined to the exclusive, I’d highly recommend spending a few hours outside of the VIP lounge for a more humbling experience with the locals.

Our final night and it was time for ‘Pure Grenada Vibz and my favourite night at Pure Grenada Music Festival. The mood was electric as festival goers listened to some of the greatest talents Grenada has to offer.

After strong performances from Tammy Baldo, Tallpree, Scholar, Rootsman Kelly, Black Wizard and other island favourites, it was time for Mr. Killa to show all of us foreign travellers that Grenadian’s know how to throw one hell of a party. Leaping from the stage and into the crowd, Mr. Killa danced with a number of audience members without missing a single beat. His set was filled with pure energy, passion and fun, which are all the characteristics of Grenada that tourists love to see.

All in all, the Pure Grenada Music Festival was mightily impressive, especially for their debut. If Grenada can hold to this high standard of quality, it could very well grow to be the most popular festival in the Carribean. It’s not often that we visit a festival knowing so few names on the lineup and still enjoy it to the fullest but Pure Genada Music Festival proves that sometimes the fun is in the discovery. As long as Grenada can continue to highlight their great up-and-comers and established acts, I see no reason for people not to contiue flocking to the island year after year.

Pure Grenada Music Festival returns 5-7th May 2017

Tickets Available at www.Grenadamusicfestival.com

For further information on planning your own trip to Grenada, head to www.PureGrenada.com

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