Will The Bermuda Music Festival Rock in 2012?

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Beyonce Performs at Bermuda Music Festival A Few Years Ago

The Bermuda Music Festival, formerly known as the Bermuda Jazz Festival was unfortunately cancelled in 2011 by the Tourism Minister due to “too low a return on its investment”. It is possible that it returns in 2012, but details are sketchy at this point.

The Bermuda Music Festival usually takes place during four days between the end of September and the beginning of October. It is a great success with local music lovers and it features local music talents as well as renowned international artists. The festival is so loved by Bermudians that it is hard for everyone to work all day while waiting for the next evening performances.

But the Bermuda Music Festival was first created to attract tourism, but, for numerous reasons, has failed to bring in the crowds in the last few years. Indeed, the 2008 and 2009 editions are said to have seen less than 1,900 visitors in total.

There have however been many big names taking the stage in the last four years. These include the likes of Smokey Robinson, Lionel Richie, UB40, Alicia Keys, Beyonce, Quincy Jones, or Ne Yo. With the outstanding décor of The Fairmont Southampton Hotel for the opening night and the great outdoor venue of the National Sports Centre, the Bermuda Music Festival has everything you would want from a music event. It boasts the perfect location, perfect weather, perfect atmosphere and a perfect crowd, the ever-enthusiastic Bermudian people. Since 2009, when the festival celebrated 14 years being staged on the island since its creation in 1995, the Keep Yard at the National Museum of Bermuda has been another official venue.

The cancellation of the 2011 edition of the Bermuda Music Festival came as a surprise to the music lovers of the island; especially following a great 2010 edition. Last year, the island welcomed many stars such as Bob Marley’s son and Grammy Award winner Ziggy Marley, talented soul singer Angie Stone, the hip-hop and R&B international star Estelle, as well as award winning singer songwriter Toni Braxton. Local talent was represented by Homegrown, Mc Cartney K and Friends, and the Chewstick Collective.

But it appears that the Bermuda Music Festival cost the government over $3 million per year to run. It is because only $2.5 million of the $5.7 million spent on the event was recouped from ticket sales. However, it has not been said that the Bermuda Music Festival was forever axed. Providing that the right proposal is made, the festival will be reinstated, although probably under a different format.

The people from Bermuda are great music lovers and music is part of the island’s life blood and tradition. It would be then expected by Bermudians for the island to have a music festival; perhaps not aimed squarely at attracting the tourists but suitable for locals too. The Bermuda Tourism Minister Mrs Minors has said $500,000 were set aside “to create opportunities and small events directly answering the demand for local entertainment throughout the year in our hotel establishments through a hotel entertainment programme” for 2011-2012.

So make sure you keep an eye on the next year’s music events, for the chance to experience one of the best places to celebrate music, our beautiful island of Bermuda! We’ll keep you updated!


The Bermuda Music Festival 2012.

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