Barefoot in Bahamas

Every year for over a half a decade, the Bahamas chain of islands, known as the Abacos, gets a taste of Cayman in the form of internationally known local musician the Barefoot man who performs at a yearly concert, held the first Sunday of March, a press release said.

Most people in Cayman know the Barefoot Man (aka George Nowak) from his days of playing at the old Holiday Inn site or more recently from playing every Tuesday and Thursday night to a packed crowd at the Reef Resort in East End.

But to the people in the Abaco islands he is known as a superstar performing artist, and they wait anxiously every year for his performance at Nippers Bar on Great Guana Cay.

‘The buzz of anticipation is in the air weeks before Barefoot Man even sinks his toes in the sand there. Just days before the event, everyone is talking about the concert. From the front desk clerk, the waiter, chef, shop clerks, even guests at the hotel are inquiring about tickets to the show. The concert is actually free, you just need to buy the ferry tickets to get to Great Guana Cay,’ the release said.

Barefoot man has been quoted as saying that it’s his favourite annual event, saying, ‘It’s a three hour performance and a four day vacation’.

On the day of the concert, Barefoot and band, Sea n’ B (Chuck and Barrie Quappe) are treated like rock stars. Signing autographs, posing for pictures, shaking hands with old friends that have travelled thousands of miles (some annually) just to be part of a Barefoot Man (and band) concert.

It is estimated that over a thousand people pack into the quaint beach front surrounds of Nippers Bar, some precariously perched atop the roof of pool house, just to hear and see the performance. Many get there early to claim a spot with a good view and a seat.

Bahamian performer “Stone’, warmed the crowd with great reggae and calypso music then the crowd went wild when Barefoot and Sea n’ B started with their combination of calypso, reggae and country he likes to call the ‘Barefoot Blend’.

Almost all of the people in attendance knew the words to the songs and added their own harmony. Many came prepared in specially made Barefoot Man hats and T-shirts and Nippers had already sold out of one colour of their T-Shirts the Friday before the concert.