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2006-02-28 07:57:17

Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival

Promoters say Exuma Festival will provide the very best in Bahamian entertainment.

After an extremely successful debut last year, The Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival will be making a second appearance next month. Set for March 16 - 18, 2006, organizers for this year's festival are predicting an even more spectacular show than in 2005.

"We are very excited about the second annual Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival," said Charity Armbrister, organizer and director of the Exuma Tourist Office. "We really knocked it out of the ballpark last year and I know that most people would think that what we did last year will be hard to top. But when they see what we have planned for them in 2006, I think everyone will agree that this year's is even more spectacular."

For the second rendition, festival organizers have added a gospel night, stretching the festival from two to three days. Plans are under way to bring in the biggest gospel acts from throughout The Bahamas. This includes all the favourites on Exuma.

Friday, March 17, will see the best in secular Bahamian music: "We will have all the big guns. You name them and they will be here," Ms. Armbrister said.

In addition to the music, organizers say there are also plans to expand the heritage aspect. "We had a lot last year but this year we will have even more examples of Bahamian heritage," Ms. Armbrister said. "We want to immerse our visitors and residents in the knowledge of the way things were back in the day. Some of these things our kids have never seen and we will have it all here to educate and entertain."

In addition to a fantastic collection of cultural and heritage expressions, for this year's festival, organizers also plan to intertwine the nationally renowned Exuma sweet onions.

During the chef contests, participants will make the onions the centre of whatever dishes they prepare.

Incorporating the Exuma sweet onions is expected to jumpstart a thrust by the Exuma Chamber of Commerce to highlight the uniqueness of this island's cuisine.

Last year, March 18, 2005, saw the opening of the first ever Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival in Georgetown, Exuma, which boasted a fantastic turnout by residents of Exuma and neigbouring islands most notably New Providence. It was also especially welcomed by visitors to the island chain.

The festival was organised as an extension of the Georgetown Cruising Regatta celebrations with the main thrust being to promote Bahamian heritage and culture. The 2005 festival saw unique heritage demonstrations like boat building, straw weaving, bush medicines and story telling. There were also spectacular musical performances by the best in Bahamian music from across the Islands Of The Bahamas.

The 2005 Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival was officially opened by Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Agatha Marcelle who described it as an excellent opportunity for visitors to "get a taste of The Bahamas."

Held on Regatta Park, the festival was also an excellent stage for presenting the best in Authentically Bahamian craft items which ranged from unique jewellery pieces to handbags, Bahamian art and souvenirs.

The success of the 2005 festival has elevated The Bahamian Music and Heritage Festival to the status of being the signature tourism event for the Exumas.

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