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Anguilla’s Beloved Moonsplash Music Festival Returns This Month

THE VALLEY — Anguilla’s iconic Moonsplash Music Festival will once again take place under a full moon at the legendary Dune Preserve on Rendezvous Bay from March 21 to 24.

Music lovers and Anguilla fans were devastated last year, when for the first time in its 27 year history, Moonsplash producer and creator Bankie Banx suspended the event, as repairs to the venue were still underway.

Some of the biggest names in reggae music have graced the Moonsplash stage — Steel Pulse, Jah Cure, Gregory Isaacs, Sugar Minott, Marcia Griffiths, Bunny Wailer, Inner Circle – just to name a few.

So have popular music artists like Jimmy Buffet and John Mayer, and award winning rappers Nas and Q-Tip. It is a magical experience, on an extraordinary island.

This year’s Moonsplash returns to its roots as the Coolest Beach Party in the Caribbean.

Timed to coincide with the first full moon of the month, the magical evenings unfold at the rustic Dune Preserve, Bankie’s legendary retreat, that doubles as laid back beach bar by day and pulsating dance party each evening.

The newly renovated beach bar now accommodates 500 people on decks and another 500 under a temporary beach extension.

Highlights of this year’s Festival are two, not to be missed celebrations:

Sheriff Bob’s 80th Birthday Bash and Third World and Friends 40th Anniversary celebration.  Robert Saidenberg, The Sheriff of Goodtimes (aka Sheriff Bob) met Bankie Banx in the late 80s at a recording studio in New York City. Bankie invited Sheriff down to Anguilla and that summer they started planning the first Moonsplash. 

This is a very special year for The Sheriff of Goodtimes as he’ll be celebrating his 80th Birthday at Moonsplash 2019. He was also the subject of the 2018 award-winning short documentary film, The Sheriff of Goodtimes, which won Best Short Documentary at the Big Apple Film Festival.

Third World, the ‘Reggae Ambassadors’, is one of the longest lived Reggae bands of all time, and the world’s greatest reggae fusion band, mixing in elements of R&B, funk, pop, rock, dancehall and rap. With 10 Grammy nominations and catalogue of charted hits spanning four decades, Third World will be releasing a new studio album in Spring 2019, produced by 4-time Grammy winner, Damian “Jr Gong” Marley, the youngest son of the legendary Bob Marley, under the Ghetto Youth International imprint. The lead single “Loving You Is Easy” was released late 2018.

Moonsplash kicks off at 6:30PM on Friday, March 22nd with Funky Horns SXM on the Beach Stage, along with other supporting acts.  Headliners on the Main Stage later that evening are Anguilla’s own Omari Banks and the legendary Mighty Diamonds, with additional supporting acts to be announced. Omari’s international musical career has taken him on tour to North America, Europe and Asia, and his recently released single “Me and You” was produced by multi-platinum, multi-Grammy nominee Jason “J Vibes” Farmer. Tabby, Bunny and Judge have produced over forty albums in their long and storied career.

On Saturday, March 23rd, starting from 6:30PM on the Beach Stage, festival fans will be treated to the Sheriff’s 80th Birthday Bash featuring Orange Grove, the popular Sint Maarten band whose infectious sound echoes traces of rock, hip-hop and reggae, and Sheriff and the Deputy, featuring Kat Minogue and Captain Bob.

Sheriff and The Deputy play traditional Folk, Rock, and Country music – the band enjoyed 9 months of performances at Opry City Stage, the NYC branch of the world-famous Grand Ole Opry.

The Third World and Friends 40th Anniversary Celebration takes the Main Stage later that evening, along with the Festival’s own impresario, the incomparable Bankie Banx, and the versatile True intentions, a reggae band that originated in Anguilla with roots in Dominica, who has rocked the local and regional music scene. A surprise guest will complete Saturday’s fantastic line up.

On Sunday, March 24, the Moonsplash Beach party begins at 11:30 a.m. with spontaneous appearances by the Bankie Banx Moonsplash cast. A host of fun activities are planned for the day.

Cool vibes, great beaches, thrilling performances, amazing music — what more could you wish for? A Beyond Extraordinary experience awaits you when you join us at Moonsplash in Anguilla next month.

For information on Anguilla, please visit the official website of the Anguilla Tourist Board: www.IvisitAnguilla.com; follow us on Facebook: Facebook.com/AnguillaOfficial; Instagram: @Anguilla_Tourism; Twitter: @Anguilla_Trsm, Hashtag: #MyAnguilla.

Bankie Banx will be appearing.
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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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