St. John will host its 15th Annual Arts Festival from Feb. 14-18 in Franklin Powell Sr. Park, Cruz Bay.
Many different events have been sponsored in the past — Puerto Rican mariachi bands, arts and crafts from Ghana, Kakuta of the Maasai from Kenya, and Argentinian folk song guitarists and singers, to name just a few — bringing a variety of other cultures to St. John, widening its vista while providing a platform for displaying the special music, arts and crafts of the people of St. John and the U. S. Virgin Islands.
Although staffed entirely by unpaid volunteers, the consistent sponsorship of the Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, the Department of Tourism and local businesses has been crucial to providing a high standard of professional artists and performers.
This year’s program, centered in the park, will kick-off at noon on Saturday, Feb. 14 – “Children’s Day,” – with the Love City Pan Dragons, a children’s steel pan band. It will be followed by a Children’s Choral Concert and Children’s Dancing and finish with a performance by the Love City Leapers, a lively children’s jump-rope team.
On Sunday, at 2 p.m. there will be a gospel concert with choruses from local churches, followed by traditional island quadrille dancers. In the evening, at 7.30 p.m., at the St. John School of the Arts, there will be a spiritually moving and uplifting film entitled: “States of Grace,” which will be introduced by the filmmakers Mark Lipman and Helen Cohen.
On Monday (President’s Day) at 10 a.m. there will be a varied program of music and dance: early percussion and dance by The Echo People, the old scratch band music and songs of Koko and the Sunshine Band, the very colorful and talented Caribbean Ritual Dancers, who will revive old dances, such as the Bamboula with children dressed up as towering mocko jumbies.
On Tuesday afternoon, there will be Latin-American music and dancing in Franklin Powell Sr. Park with the Samba Combo Band.
As part of the West Indies, St. Thomas and St. John have a Cricket Association and many enthusiasts will be demonstrating the game at Sprauve and Gifft Hill schools later in the afternoon. This will be followed by a film entitled: “Fire in Babylon” at 7:30 p.m. in the Gifft Hill School auditorium. It is a terrific film documenting the outstanding success of the West Indies Cricket Team.
On Wednesday afternoon in the park there will be a concert by St. John’s reggae band “Inner Visions.”
All the while, there will be a select exhibition of handmade island crafts in both the Department of Tourism’s little park and the main park.
A show of children’s art will be presented on the 2nd floor of the Market Place, as in past years.
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