SummerFest 2006 off to early start

Saturday March 4, 2006

PHILIPSBURG - St. Maarten Festival Foundation (organizers of the annual St. Maarten Summerfest) aren't wasting any time in promoting this annual musical event, aimed at hyping up the traditional low tourist season.
Large billboards are being erected throughout the island. The first one was unveiled next to Air Lekkerbek on W.J.A. Nisbeth Road Friday. President of the Foundation, Clarence Derby is excited about this year's festival and expects more growth in attendance.

Summerfest starts on July 21 with a combined Latin/Kompa night and July 22 is the Soca/Comedy night. Both concerts, as in previous years, will be held at Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facilities.

The Wine & Jazz night, which was started last year, is slated for the Marigot waterfront on the request of Office du Tourisme (French side), an event partner, he added.
The Reggae and Hip-Hop/R&B nights follow at the cruise and cargo facilities on July 28 and 29 respectively.

The Gospel night, which has been gaining popularity, is set for July 30. This year, the artists will be chosen in conjunction with Dr. Bobby Jones, internationally known gospel entertainer. Jones was recently in Anguilla and Summerfest organizers met with him to seek his involvement. He will promote the gospel evening via his television and radio shows, as well as on his Website.

Derby shied away from giving names of artists expected to perform for Summerfest, as negotiations are ongoing. He said the artistes would be more mature this time and would cater more to the target audience - tourists and visitors from the other islands - instead of specifically to the local youngsters.

Aside from music, Summerfest aims to capitalize on St. Maarten's reputation as the shopping Mecca of the caribbean, by organizing 10 days themed "St. Maarten on Sale." During this period, shoppers can get special discounts at participating stores.

This "Shopping Spree," as Derby calls it, will be promoted in the first ever Summerfest Shopping Spree magazine that will be distributed throughout the Caribbean with the help of American Airlines, LIAT, BWIA and Winair. Some 20,000 copies will be printed.
The festival will also be promoted at trade-shows in Germany and France by the Dutch and French tourist bureaus.

Reprinted from The Daily Herald Newspaper

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