A two-day summer festival aims to catapult Bermuda’s music scene to a higher level by attracting enough tourists to “fill up hotels, restaurants and bars”.
British singer-songwriter Natasha Bedingfield is returning to the island to headline ‘SummerFest’ at the National Stadium on Saturday, August 15.
The gig is the night after R&B superstar Mary J. Blige and Grammy winner Robin Thicke perform at the same venue.
TOC Entertainment aim to bring locals and tourists together and make a ” huge festival weekend out of two shows”.
They insist the “top name acts doing full shows” will be just the ticket for the island’s struggling tourism industry.
Sheldon Posey of TOC Entertainment said: “There’s going to be a real festival atmosphere. The same people will come out for both nights.
“This is going to be a top-notch weekend-long event.
We could have stopped at Mary J. Blige but we want to give the island the best.
“It’s going to be like something you see in the States or Europe – it will bring international guests over here.
“People will want to travel here for these concerts – we’ll fill up hotels, restaurants and bars.”
TOC Entertainment’s summer line-up threatens to overshadow the Bermuda Music Festival, which remains under wraps even though it is just three months away.
The line-up announcement of the BMF, organized by the Department of Tourism, has been delayed.
It was due to be made on July 8 but the date has been changed to July 21.
Last year’s festival welcomed superstars Beyonce, Alicia Keys and UB40 at a cost of $3million to taxpayers.
The event came under fire for not attracting enough overseas visitors.
TOC Entertainment insist they are “definitely not” trying to compete with the BMF, due to take place from October 29-31.
Mr. Posey revealed he had spoken to key members of the Department of Tourism and both parties supported each other’s events.
He said: “We are not working against them, we all working together hand-in-hand to build up the local music scene.
“We both want to bring international visitors. I’m sure the Bermuda Music Festival is going to be awesome – it’s going to be just as good as ours.”
Bedingfield, who has sold more than seven million singles and albums worldwide, performed at the Bermuda Music Festival at the National Stadium in 2007. Mr. Posey said: “There have been quite a few people asking if she could come back to Bermuda.
“When she came before she wasn’t that famous but now she’s a big star.
“Natasha said she loved it here, it’s one of her favourite places.
“She’s really excited about coming back.”
Guns N’ Roses
Playing alongside Bedingfield on August 15 will be Darius Rucker from Hootie & The Blowfish, Dizzy Reed of Guns N’ Roses and reggae singer Tessanne Chin.
Aerosmith and The Eagles tribute bands will also play, as will local band Secret Po-Po.
Tickets for both the Blige and Bedingfield shows are on sale from www.bdatix.bm, priced from about $100.
The high price tag is said to reflect the fact that organizers aren’t “scrimping on headline artists or quality”.
TOC Entertainment is made up of Mr. Posey, who is based in Atlanta, and two business partners in Bermuda.
They are best known for bringing singer Jazmine Sullivan to the island earlier this year and comedian Rickey Smiley last week.
But the promotions firm promise to announce more events with “big-name artists” for the fall.
Mr. Posey said: “We are bringing in A-level quality acts to Bermuda on a consistent basis. We have great things on the horizon.”
The Department of Tourism would not comment about this year’s Bermuda Music Festival.
But American music promoter Rock Newman is currently on island, so more details are due to be announced soon.
Credits goes to Kita and Jessica O’Donoghue