The glory days of Bahamian entertainment will be celebrated this year, during the Junkanoo Summer Festival (JSF) — with performances from the likes of Abigail Charlow, Duke Errol Strachan, Ray Munnings, Jim Duncombe, Lassie Doe Boys, Soulful Groovers, John Chipman and Peanuts Taylor in the mix with Chris Fox, Lady E., Bodine Johnson, Paul Hanna, Marvin Henfield, Pat Rolle, Funky D., B.D. McKenzie, Leon Taylor, Franklin Young, Nita Ellis and Sweet Emily, among others featured over the course of the summer as the festival highlights the glory days of Bahamian culture through themed nights.
This year the festival will celebrate nostalgia with a return to the 70s and 80s nightclub era in the country, as well as rake ‘n’ scrape, the Le Cabaret and jazz era of the 70s, Goombay and, of course, Junkanoo will be front and center, celebrating old and new traditions.
JSF will be held every Saturday from July 7 to August 4 at Arawak Cay featuring music, crafts, cultural games and competitions, as well as a diverse kiddie corner enhanced this year with a myriad of Bahamian games like hop scotch, hula hoop, rounders, hand ball, golf ladder, skipping, sack races, marbles, stick fingers, stilt walking and box cart races, kite flying and a magic show among the activities.
Mixology and culinary demonstrations, as well as Bahamian food and drinks and Junkanoo performances will be the order of the day. The event will begin at 1 p.m. each Saturday.
Daytime competitions will include favorites like watermelon, pineapple, roasted corn and pie eating contests along with crab catching and conch cracking.
On July 7 there will be a Goombay celebration with Goombay dancers, fire dancers, limbo dancers and the Obeah Man.
On July 14 Le Cabaret and jazz will celebrate the period when the Las Vegas-style review headlined entertainment in the country in the 70s.
On July 21 the festival will celebrate nostalgia with a return to the 70s and 80s nightclub era.
On July 28 there will be a celebration of rake ‘n’ scrape with Quadrille dancers performing to hits like “Island Woman”, “Lizzy Carry Basket”, “Brown Skin Gal Go Home and Mind Baby”, “Kill the Roach”, “Better Woman Than You” and “Shot Gun Wedding”.
On August 4, Junkanoo will be front and center, celebrating old and new Junkanoo traditions.
To ensure visitors are able to enjoy the festival, free transportation to Junkanoo Summer Festival will be provided via specially marked buses and taxis from every major hotel in New Providence.
Joy Jibrilu, tourism ministry director general, expects this year’s festival will attract scores of tourists.
“When tourists arrive to our shores they are always looking for something to do. This particular festival immerses visitors into the Bahamian summer experience. This bodes well for us because once they have a great time at the festival, they will look to return again and again,” she said.
Director of Events in BMOTA Charity Armbrister said the festival would be even more exciting this year.
“I’m very excited about the revamped Junkanoo Summer Festival this year. A new vision for this major signature event will explore a different theme every Saturday in July and the first Saturday in August. This year’s JSF will highlight a myriad of Bahamian culture and genres of concert series and other entertainment from the 60s to the present. And, of course, no JSF is complete without the participation of all of the A and B Junkanoo groups that will be performing in a rush out style instead of a competition this summer. We will also be focusing on more visitor participation this year,” said Armbrister.
Junkanoo Summer Festival is sponsored by Kalik, Bristol/Bacardi, Rev Go, Swift Enterprises and A Sure Win.