St John Arts Festival - Children's Day
The St. John Arts Festival is celebrating its 20th Anniversary, continuing to bring to the fore the history, tradition and culture of the indigenous people of St. John in its many forms, including music, dance, arts and crafts. Thanks to the continued support of Virgin Islands Council on the Arts, the USVI Department of Tourism and our many other sponsors.
There has been no better place to show both visitors and residents alike what the culture and tradition of St. Johnians is all about than the “little park” straight off the ferry terminal, forming the first impression that newcomers experience – leaving no doubt that they have “arrived in the Caribbean,” with all of its color and warmth – as advertised.
Festival programs retain the successful format of previous years, starting with a Children’s Day on Saturday, February 15th, when all the energy and exuberance of youth is displayed – including traditional steel pan band music; an “All-Island Children’s Choir”; and children Quadrille dancing. There is also a Children’s Art Show in the storefronts of various empty offices on the second floor of the Market Place which continues throughout the following week.
Sunday, February 16th is a lazy day in the shade of the huge mahogany trees, with church choirs and a new “St. John Recovery Choir” echoing the indomitable spirit of the islanders, followed by colorful adult Quadrille dancing with its romantic links to days gone by.
Monday, February 17th – President’s Day – is the highlight of the week-long event, commencing with the music of the island’s number one traditional “scratch band,” originating with hand-made instruments and jaunty songs, as a prelude to a show of colorful dancers and a towering Moko Jumbie, reviving old dances such as the Bamboula from way back in the past and the superstitions of chasing away evil spirits in the trees.
Tuesday, February 18th reaches out to the music and dance from the neighboring Latin-American Caribbean islands. In the evening, in association with the St. John Film Society, there will be a screening of the award-winning documentary film: “Sea of Shadows” at the St. John School of the Arts, which highlights the continued fishing of whales and the threat to their future existence.
Wednesday, February 19th – We round-off musical concerts in the park with relatively modern, but definitely Caribbean, reggae music.
Thursday February 20th at the St. John School of Arts, in the evening, will be the screening of a wide-variety of films by Virgin Island film-makers - the 3rd VIP Film Festival.
Throughout the Festival, adding to and completing the exclusively Caribbean atmosphere in the park is the ongoing exhibition of hand-made Caribbean arts and crafts, plus food and local-grown fruits and vegetables, with the exhibitors in colorful Caribbean traditional dress.
It’s a little jewel of a show – uniquely St. John! Visitors can’t miss it as they depart the ferry, and they will be left with the memory of the colorful traditions and culture of the people of this island.