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Cruz Bay
Thursday, September 28, 2023


June 15, 2002 – The mood was bubbly around the Tourism Department Friday afternoon as locals and visitors popped in to the Cruz Bay hospitality cottage to greet members of the Third World band and other stars of the calypso/reggae musical mix. Thousands of music fans from St. Thomas, St. John and the British Virgin Islands are expected to converge on the Winston Wells Ballpark Saturday night.
Members of the St. John Festival and Cultural Organization and promoters from Westline Productions say it is the biggest show of its kind.
"We contacted Westline. For two years we've been looking at this kind of production and it finally became reality, so it's going to go with our 'Stromoo' carnival mix of calypso and reggae," festival chairwoman Leona Smith said.
To set the mood for this event, members of Third World signed autographs and posed for photos in the Tourism office. Foot traffic through the garden spot moved briskly during the hour-long appearance, while promoters pumped some of the band's best known songs through an outdoor speaker system. Some fans simply came to the door and offered words of welcome.
"Quite a few people came. A lot of children came too. I'm very surprised … and I'm sure [Saturday] will be a very good performance," band leader William Clark, better known as Bunny Rugs, said.
Rugs said his Love City hail-up left him with "an excellent vibe," with many well-wishers thanking the band for the work and socially conscious lyrics. One fan brought along a collection of Third World CD's dating back to the 1980's, which Rugs cheerfully autographed.
Outside the cottage well-wishers congregated at Tourism's garden wall to soak in the tunes. Businessman David Cooper said Saturday will be his second experience with the band, which has been touring the world as reggae ambassadors for 30 years.
"I saw them in D.C. I can't remember what year it was, I know it was in the '80s. I love them; they're excellent," he said.
Fans were equally happy to greet another artist scheduled to appear in the mighty musical mix. Dominica's handsome soca monarch Hunter smiled shyly as a bevy of females eased alongside for their close-ups and giggling friends snapped away. A few months ago at a fund-raiser for the Love City Pan Dragons youth steel band, Hunter played the stage at the St. John Westin Resort and sent the crowd — many of them women from his native Dominica — into a frenzy.
"It's cool, very cool. I'm excited. I just can't wait to get on stage," he said. Hunter – whose real name is Derrick St. Rose – also called the idea of playing as one of the opening acts for Third World a "great opportunity." He said he is a fan of their music and has some in his personal collection.
Appearing along with the reggae superstars are local calypso celebrities, including St. Thomas Calypso King Whadablee, former King Louis Ible Jr., St. John artists Super T and the Mighty Groover, and soca stars Imaginations Brass.
Calypso shows have been part of the St John Festival for the past four or five years. They began modestly, with a handful of performers and one or two headliners. But over the year the shows attracted a host of international stars from several Eastern Caribbean countries and calypso's home in Trinidad. Crowds grew around the grander productions. Hundreds of fans from St. Thomas started making the annual trek up to Wells Park as the St. John Calypso show earned its reputation as an annual event.
Smith and her co-organizers at Westline said the festival committee plans to feature major performers as part of their calypso shows. "This is the biggest show St. John has ever had," said promoter Tony Rosario.

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