Fashion, fête, frolic satisfy Best Weekend Ever crowd
For its inaugural staging in Jamaica, Best Weekend Ever pulled a kaleidoscope of personalities from the United States, United Kingdom and across the Caribbean. The organisers of the event, which was staged at three different St Ann venues – Grizzly’s Plantation Cove, Puerto Seco Beach and Bay Beach – can be commended for an all-round smooth execution.
The hot summer temperature definitely had an impact on the number of persons seen in the night as opposed to those who were at the daytime events. As the sun stubbed out itself each day, it was as if a powerful, gravitational pull got the partygoers out. Kes received a warm welcome by I Love Soca patrons, and an unplanned appearance of dancehall entertainer Laa Lee, joined by sprinting legend Usain Bolt, also signalled the start of an eventful weekend.
Daybreak Breakfast Party secured the most scenic part of the large Grizzly’s property, as the rain which began during Kes’ appearance at I Love Soca continued throughout the early morning and left areas of the grassy venue saturated. However, organisers did a great job with the layout, and the mud was easily avoided as Dance Xpressionz talent socialised and did routines about the venue and on stage.
Milk & Honey, the ‘Chic En Blanc’ edition, was an idyllic way to spend the Saturday night. A section of the Grizzly’s Plantation Cove was transformed into a show of fashion and physique, with the entrance mimicking a runway for the event originally held on the international party circuit. For most of the partygoers, it was about sipping high-end alcoholic beverages, and slowly rocking the night away until it was time for dancehall entertainer Busy Signal to make an appearance. Busy Signal stepped out on the stage in black, and gave the audience a wide range of songs from his catalogue. It was more than fitting that he performed Jamaica, Jamaica as a tribute to the island’s diamond jubilee celebration.
Next up was Zimi Seh Beach, which was advertised for 9 a.m., but persons did not begin pouring in until three hours later. The dress code was a no-brainer, and both women and men outfitted themselves in appropriate and stylish beachwear. However, it was not all good times and tanned lines at Zimi Seh Beach, because not even the hottest and skimpiest of bikinis – in the unforgiving sun – could beat the heat. The bars quickly filled up with beach bods craving access to water and other means of hydration.
Before sunset, the various disc jockeys on the roster warmed up the controls and had the early birds moving to dancehall, hip-hop and R&B music from the early 2000s, taking the time to mix in crossover hits of Sean Paul to transition to new pop music. Richie Ras, who is always knowledgeable of the direction to take next after a colleague has played, started out with soca, house music and songs for the mature members of the crowd. Laing D, Coppershot and Chromatic also kept the musical temperature at a high.
Allure continued on the same trend as popular Miami DJ Don Hot had both locals and foreigners nodding their heads to the music, but it would appear that most persons were looking forward to Ding Dong and The Ravers. The Bay Beach venue was filled with drink tables reserved by bottle buyers and package holders before the main entertainment arrived. The up-for-anything crowd showed their moves, with popular dances such as ‘Stir Fry’ and ‘Bounce’, as Ding Dong performed his hit singles. He also invited Popeye Caution to perform his BET Jams-featured dancehall summer banger Ochi, which was appropriate based on the location.
Late Check-Out had an unusual spot on the roster being placed on a non-holiday Monday afternoon. Yet season band holders slowly made their way into the venue. It suffered for a short time from sporadic showers of rain and saw patrons walking in and out of the venue to seek shelter in their cars. As the skies cleared, those remaining had their fill of the delicious fare, as they swayed to the music and prepared to hit the road, saying farewell, until next time.