Rhythm in the rain: WCMF 2023 triumphs against all odds


The crowd at WCMF

The age-old adage, ‘the only thing that rain stops is cricket,’ was unquestionably validated during the 23rd edition of Dominica’s World Creole Music Festival (WCMF). Throughout the three-night event, not even the inclement weather could dampen the unwavering enthusiasm of music enthusiasts who united to experience a spectacular line-up of artists.

A first-time festival attendee from Trinidad and Tobago told Dominica News Online (DNO), “I’ve been to a lot of music festivals, but this one takes the cake. The VIP setup and experience was simply amazing and what is most remarkable is that rainy weather did not stop the people from enjoying the show.

A dedicated festival-goer commented, “The rain was relentless, but the music was even more so. I’ve never felt more connected to complete strangers than I did dancing in the downpour with fellow music lovers.”

“The WCMF organisers [owe] me nothing,” a festival attendee wrote via social media. “This year was certainly among my top five [festivals] with a lot of unforgettable [moments].”

“The commitment of the artist[es] and the patrons [is] commendable. The performers all did well despite the weather, and it made the experience all the more memorable”, Chris, a music enthusiast who travelled to Dominica from the USA stated.

From the moment the first note was played to the final encore, the festival provided an unforgettable experience that defied the elements and showcased the resilience and passion of attendees.

On the opening night, October 27, Dominica’s beloved Princess of Song, Michele Henderson, took to the stage and set Windsor Park Sports Stadium (WPSS) ablaze despite the rain. Her performance was a testament to her exceptional talent as a singer and songwriter. During her set, she paid tribute to the pioneering bands of cadence-lypso music from Dominica. With her soulful and powerful vocals, she brought to life the vibrant rhythms and melodies that have shaped the musical heritage of the island. Her heartfelt tribute and performance left the crowd in awe and set the stage for the incredible performances that would follow.

Making a comeback to the WCMF stage, Haitian sensation, VAYB, once again brought their unique blend of music and culture to the WCMF. As they took the stage at the festival, the crowd was treated to an unforgettable performance that celebrated the rich musical heritage of Kompa.

VAYB’s lively beats, powerful vocals, and mesmerizing dance moves had the audience on their feet, swaying to the rhythm of their Creole melodies, a performance that will undoubtedly be remembered as a highlight of WCMF 2023.

Also making a triumphant return to the WCMF stage was the Soca queen from Trinidad and Tobago, Patrice Roberts. A crowd favourite, Roberts dazzled the audience with her high-energy performance and infectious tunes. Her presence at the festival brought an air of excitement and anticipation, and fans from near and far eagerly gathered to witness her electrifying show. As she graced the stage once again, the Soca queen proved why she holds such a revered status in the world of Caribbean music. Her powerful vocals, incredible stage presence, and an enthralling repertoire of soca hits had the crowd moving and grooving, creating an atmosphere of pure joy and revelry.

Another stellar performance of the night came from Jamaican dancehall sensation, Popcaan. With an abundance of energy, he graced the stage, enthralling the audience with his irresistible rhythms and magnetic stage charisma delivering hits like ‘Only Man She Want’ and ‘Party Shot,’ reaffirming his status as one of the genre’s most prominent luminaries.

In the world of Bouyon, Mr. Ridge along with Kenny G, Pudaz, and Nice brought the vibrant sounds of the genre to the forefront. The pulsating rhythms and catchy melodies ignited the crowd, infusing the evening with an undeniable energy and local flavor. The excitement of the performance reacdhed a crescendo with the unexpected guest appearances by Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit. Along with Mr. Ridge, they performed their song ‘From AM to PM,’ creating a memorable moment.

As WCMF night one drew to a close, the daybreak specialist, TK International, stepped into the spotlight to the sheer delight of the audience. TK International’s performance marked the perfect conclusion to the evening, leaving festival-goers with an unforgettable experience and setting the stage for the nights to come.

The second night of the WCMF was a true showcase of the indomitable spirit of festival-goers as they defied the relentless rain to bear witness to an outstanding lineup of both international and local artists. Despite the downpour, the devoted patrons arrived in impressive numbers, unwavering in their commitment to revel in the vibrant sounds that filled the air.

Nonetheless, the rain did lead to an unfortunate incident when a tent within the VIP area collapsed, resulting in minor injuries for just over a dozen attendees. Amidst this setback, the artists still managed to captivate the drenched yet resilient crowd with their incredible performances. As the curtains rose on the second night of the festival, the audience was greeted by the ethereal sounds of Zouk music, a genre with deep roots in the Creole-speaking world. The Zouk legends, including Joelle Ursull, Njie, Jean-Luc Guanel, and Medhy, through their enchanting melodies and heartwarming lyrics, not only entertained the crowd but also brought to life the nostalgia associated with this iconic genre.

The evening’s magic continued when Gordon Henderson, one of the pioneers of Cadence-lypso and founding members of the WCMF, graced the stage. Henderson, known for his profound contributions to Dominica’s music scene and his role in shaping the very essence of the festival, received a heartfelt welcome from the crowd.

His performance was more than just a musical journey; it was a tribute to the very spirit of the WCMF. His timeless classics and soul-stirring compositions resonated with the audience, reminding them of the festival’s humble beginnings and its mission to celebrate Creole music and culture.

Beres Hammond, the legendary Jamaican reggae artist, with a career spanning decades and a catalog of timeless hits that transcend generations, delivered a soulful and melodic performance creating a magical atmosphere that left a lasting impression on everyone fortunate enough to be part of the audience. Classics like ‘Rockaway’, ‘Can You Play Some More’, ‘I Feel Good’ and ‘Sweet Lies’ became the soundtrack to a rain-soaked evening, as the crowd swayed to the rhythm, undeterred by the weather. Hammond’s smooth vocals had a remarkable ability to bring warmth to the chilly night, as the reggae icon not only entertained but also provided solace and serenity, making it a highlight of
the festival.

From Nigeria, the talented Joeboy brought his Afrobeat flavor to the WCMF stage. His energetic performance included hits like ‘Baby’ and ‘Don’t Call Me Back’, drawing cheers and applause from the audience.

The anticipation reached a fever pitch when Kalash, the internationally acclaimed artist from France, took the stage. Despite the persistent rain, Kalash’s performance set the festival grounds ablaze with his infectious beats and charismatic stage presence. It was a sight to behold as fans danced fervently, wholly disregarding the weather.

Concluding the second night in grand style, the ” Bouyon Boss” himself, Asa Bantan, made a memorable entrance in a sleek limousine that set the perfect tone for his electrifying performance. With his reputation for high-energy and provocative lyrics, Asa Bantan had the entire crowd on their feet, enthusiastically dancing to the infectious bouyon beats. His dynamic stage presence and passionate delivery solidified his status as a beloved figure among the festival-goers.

The third night saw Extasy Band igniting the stage with a high-octane opening performance, setting the night on fire. Following them, the legendary Midnight Groovers, renowned for their signature Cadence-Lypso sound, graced the WCMF stage. With a storied history of enchanting audiences with their melodic tunes, Midnight Groovers once again showcased their timeless appeal. Their performance served as a heartfelt tribute to the Creole musical heritage that the festival holds dear.

However, the band’s set took an unfortunate turn. As their allotted time drew to a close, they requested to perform their final song, only to have their request denied. The crowd responded with boos, and a disheartened Chubby was seen departing the stage, leaving the audience in a state of bewilderment.

Despite this abrupt ending, the night’s memory endured, with the vibrant rhythms and eclectic performances leaving an indelible mark on the crowd’s collective experience.

In her first performance on the WCMF stage, Jada Kingdom, the Jamaican dancehall sensation, brought her vibrant and fearless energy with her enthralling lyrics and bold style. Also making their debut on the stage of the WCMF were St. Lucian duo Ezra & Iggy who delivered an exciting performance.

With what was unanimously hailed as one of the standout performances of the festival, the Signal Band made their grand entrance,  burning up the stage with an electrifying display of groovy bouyon rhythms. The sheer exuberance and
musical prowess of the band had the entire audience in raptures, and their performance was nothing short of spectacular.

As the bouyon rhythms reverberated through the venue, the crowd couldn’t help but move to the infectious beats. The atmosphere was charged with a sense of euphoria as Signal Band along with reigning calypso Monarch and bouyon artist, Trilla G, demonstrated their exceptional talent and delivered a performance that left an indelible mark on the festival.

The night crescendoed to its apex with the highly-anticipated performance by the Soca King, Machel Montano. With a boundless wellspring of energy from the moment he took the stage, the atmosphere was electric, and Montano wasted no time in launching into his classic hits. The crowd, immersed in the intoxicating rhythms, sang along with fervour and danced with unbridled enthusiasm, turning the venue into a jubilant sea of celebration.

When Montano’s over 1 hour and 15 minutes set reached its end, the demand for more was resounding and Montano, ever the showman, swiftly obliged.

As the curtains fall on another remarkable staging of WCMF, it’s evident that the spirit of this celebration is impervious to the elements. Rain may have been the only force that could halt a game of cricket that day, but it proved powerless against the harmonious symphonies and the unbreakable bonds that define the essence of the festival.

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  1. He is the True Vine
    November 3, 2023

    There’s plenty time to Carouse and party and get drenched in the process – But what time do you set aside for the Savior Jesus Christ? Life is short and what happens at the end of it? King Solomon says to, “Remember [Now] your creator in the days of your youth.” The older one gets the more stubborn and unwilling he/she will become in making a decision to Repent and accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Then, a Prophet asked this question: “How shall you escape; if you neglect so great Salvation.” Meaning, there isn’t any other possible way to God if now you refuse to receive Jesus Christ into your life for the saving of your soul. The scriptures says, “He who lives in pleasure is dead while he lives.” So then, you are a “Walking Dead” without God. Make a change before it’s too late ⏰. God loves you.

    • Gone Are The Days
      November 7, 2023

      The European Jesus Christ you refer to is fake hijacked by Romans in order to enslave people they invaded and conquered. All of those sayings attributed to King Solomon were written over one thousand years before he or Moses were born.

      Those sayings were copied, as usual, from Africans papyrus of the teachings of Pharoah AMEN-EM-EOPE word for word (still at the British museum). We have to reach out to our Ancestors, they have researched and revealed the truth for us; there is too much we do not know – beyond what we were taught. Read ‘Black Man Of The Nile’ by Dr. Ben Jochannan, all People of African descent must have that book to share with Family.

  2. Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
    November 1, 2023

    The wig-head Denies Charles boasted that Roosevelt paid eight ($8,000,000.00) dollars for the show to happen, and we know he gave free tickets to get his supporters to attend.
    In addition to that so as to make it appear as if lots of people attended, they decided to use a method of photography known as forced perspective that creates optical illusion.
    That technique can cause a full screen, making a crowd look larger, smaller whatever is chosen to suit the occasion.
    With that fact, I doubt as many people attend, it would appear that all of Dominica attended which is totally impossible!
    In Dominica it’s all about lying, stealing and the truth is not in the ruling politicians.
    Our system is like an cult, where one man collects resources and distributes it by giving free things from houses to motor vehicles, food and entertainment to his Culottes!
    Roosevelt is indeed a cult leader.

    • I am not Red I am not blue
      November 5, 2023

      Oh My what is in it for you. Can you give Praise? It was very successful. Why do you put Dominica down so much. Dont you have family there? Shame on you and IBO. You can apply for Gov’t job no one is stopping you. Allow us to enjoy our paradise and get the tourism industry booming.

  3. Mark
    November 1, 2023

    This here is testament that people are not broke and unable to meet their daily needs contrary to what some will have you believe. How else do you explain the massive crowds that showed up despite the inclement weather. I learnt a long time ago that people will spend their money on things that they deem important to them and not necessarily on what someone else might think is important. To me, that’s putting the cart before the horse but again, who am I to tell you how to spend your hard earned money.

    Citizens, do not allow the individuals who I refer to as all things “Doom and Gloom” on island to dampen your spirits at this time of national celebration for they only want you to believe that Dominica is the worst place on planet earth. PURE NONSENSE.

    Enjoy this week’s independence activities but remember to also focus on the deeper meaning of our independence, that is, am I doing all that I can to advance Dominica’s goals of true independence.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 16
    • Yzop
      November 2, 2023

      …very simple, the government (Skerrit) issued them with free tickets. Where have you been? That’s what happened in the last 15 years.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0
    • Pedros
      November 3, 2023

      Man shut up. You are delirious from that red koolaid you have been drinking over the last few days. For your information, government bought all unsold tickets and distributed them amongst their most loyal supporters incl. YOU. I just hope you were one of them that had a seat under the collapsed roof. Now mash!!!

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
      November 6, 2023

      Mark, are you pretending you do not know that half of the tickets were bought by Roosevelt, and distributed among the his red devils supporters. Guy I do not live in Dominica, nevertheless, I can name people who got free tickets, but because they could not afford to pay for their ride from the country to the show, they sold the tickets for less than the face value!
      And even in Roseau some people peddled the free ticket they got; all because they are broke, the purchasing some food was more important to them than using the free ticket to sit hungry.
      Mark, you accept the status quo, but unless you are a recipient of the sale of the passports money, or a regular recipient of a handout from Roosevelt Skerrit, you know for a fact; Dominica is all doom and gloom!

      Music allows some people to forget hunger, and suffering even for one day, but the doom moments quickly returns; and don’t forget there were not as many people there, optical illusion is what they use to mesmerize you.

      • Mark
        November 8, 2023

        Francisco, you were not on island so everything you’re saying is hearsay. I will believe you when you say I was there and that’s what took place. Come down sometime and enjoy the island, unpolluted air, fresh food, clean ocean and most importantly, SAFE. I’m, sure you’ll have a different feel about Dominica when you return to LA.

        • Martha
          November 9, 2023

          Safe? Man, you for sure live in a bright red fantasy world.

        • Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque
          November 12, 2023

          Mark, I born in Wesley; left as a kid; I had an aunt living on the island of Antigua, one of her daughters born in Antigua came to Dominica, for whatever reason to live with her aunt my grandmother.
          After two and a half years, she could not live the kind of life she saw and experience in Dominica, and decided to return home. About three days prior to her departure, she suddenly said to me I would hate to leave you here; and went on to advised me to go away with her. She pointed out if I remain in Dominica, I would be no different to the young people she saw, and be like the old ones too!
          I left with her, years passed, I returned, only to find both young and looking the same as I left them, wearing the same colors of cloth, looking all dried up, teeth knocked out unable to have dental work done. Each time I return over the years, I see the same thing; very little change; and so I am not eager to return. I have a cousin Emlord, is trying to tie me and drag me home!
          I doh going eh!

          • Mark
            November 13, 2023

            Francisco, I’m not saying relocate to Dominica but simply come down sometime and enjoy the peace and tranquility we have in DA. Things are nice and quiet on island just don’t get involved in the stupid politics while you’re home. You can return to your usual posts when you return to LA.

            You’ve been away so long in “first world” economies that I know it would be a a step down for you to come and live in a”third world” economy. Nevertheless, take up your cousin Emlord’s offer and come down and spend some of those “hard earned” Yankee dollars. Don’t wait until the international airport is complete. We would love to have you here sooner to witness all what’s taking place on Island. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

            Don’t listen to folks who tell you the island is not safe. You can walk around at any hour, day or night with no fear. No mugging, no carjacking, no looking over your shoulder every step you make. Noone can dispute that fact.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  4. Zandoli
    November 1, 2023

    DNO…..is it too much to ask you to assign names to the photos of the artists you posted? This is just basic professional journalism.
    I notice you take the lazy approach to naming people whose photos you publish.

    ADMIN: We have updated the article.

    We won’t hold back a story for lack of names for each individual in a photo but we will update the article once we can verify that information.

  5. Edward Brumant
    November 1, 2023

    DNO, Could you kindly point out the author of this piece? Although I wasn’t present, reading it made me feel as though I was. It’s exceptionally well-written!!!!!

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 5
  6. dissident
    November 1, 2023

    it’s a pity that this doesn’t represent de vibrancy of de real economy on the ground………de amount of free tickets that de dlp give away to get a picture like this to show de world to give an impression……de CBI issues still stand out…… regardless of de same overseas voters come right on de ground to dance with de devil himself!
    De devil can’t get enough attention!
    will chase and curse local journalist…… while hiding under nastibusiness skirt to maintain his popularity…….. how much lower can you go Skerrit!!!!
    these numbers mean nothing to me!
    dat show was sold out to the Dominica Labor Party…… early election campaign.
    our economy still underwater!
    as for all you VIP…… got what you deserve!
    not 1 word of apology….. will you pay your long money to take pic in VIP with de ministers and their girlfriends???
    VIP my foot…….so very important people does get treated by dlp?
    take dat in all you……….

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 11
    • Neither Red or Blue
      November 2, 2023

      All country have VIP America has VIP. All Islands. What are you on about? Why would you say such a thing that they get what they deserve. The bible says wish no one evil. The PM is already popular and well known he has no need to hide under any skirts. One of the best PM in the Caribbean. what are you thinking. The show was lovely and people had a good time. I hope you enjoyed it.

      • Yzop
        November 6, 2023

        The PM is popular? Come again! Where is he popular and with whom? There is nothing as mad as a dimples worshipper, trust me!

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