2007 entertainment scene offered plenty

For those looking for entertainment, be it a night of culture, music, festivals or gourmet events, there’s been ample to keep all entertained throughout 2007.

Entertainment editor Joanna Lewis takes a look at the year’s events.

MUSIC

Those looking for musical entertainment found plenty to stay occupied over the past year. MOBO award winning musician Mr. Vegas, was one of the first international artists of 2007 to perform on Cayman soil. Organised by Young Blood Productions, the dancehall and reggae star performed in front of a near capacity audience at the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal.

April saw the annual Cayman Music Fest swing into action with a slew of international reggae artists taking to the stage, including legendary Grammy nominee Maxi Priest.

The concert was quickly followed up with the hugely popular Canadian rock band the Tragically Hip, performing in front of a near-capacity audience at SafeHaven. With almost every Canadian in Cayman packing into the open-air venue, the concert offered the thrill of a lifetime for Hip fans. Organised by Damien Dilbert of Big Daddy’s in celebration of the liquor store’s 25th anniversary, the show garnered positive reviews and a promise of more big name acts to come from the local entrepreneur.

One of reggae’s most internationally renowned stars, Shaggy touched down in Cayman for a concert shortly after at the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal, which was a huge success, judging from the terrific feedback from elated fans. The event demonstrated Cayman’s ability to attract big name stars.

Music fans did not have to wait long for their next fix of reggae music.

Shaggy was swiftly followed up by another big name reggae artist – multi-platinum and internationally acclaimed Beenie Man. Held 10 August at the Lions Centre, the concert didn’t fail to deliver.

October saw an all-female line-up perform at the Lions Centre for the much hyped Woman concert. Boasting international recording artists Destra and Alison Hinds, the soca event was a huge success.

Jazz aficionados were treated to three days of jazzy tunes at the annual Cayman Jazz Fest. Held November, the fourth annual festival featured top names such as Diane Reeves, Musiq Soulchild, Monty Alexander, Chaka Khan, BeBe Winans and Brian McKnight. The festival, not only a hit with Cayman’s local residents, is also garnering ample worldwide attention.

DRAMA

While music fans had ample to keep them busy, lovers of the stage were kept entertained throughout the year.

Cayman’s amateur dramatics scene kicked off in 2007 with the Judith Code, a play written by local theatre enthusiast Colin Wilson, and staged by the Cayman Drama Society at the Prospect Playhouse in February.

Next up on the Playhouse stage was the hugely popular musical, Irving Berling’s Annie Get Your Gun in April.

In the same month, the Harquail Theatre celebrated its re-opening -following a near three-year hiatus – with the annual arts festival Cayfest. Taking to the stage were numerous events, including a hugely popular fashion show, featuring clothes by local designers.

The annual comedic production Rundown swiftly followed, garnering ample laughs from audiences during its two-week run.

Unoriginal Sin followed in July at the playhouse, with Miriamy, staged September and Terry Pratchett’s Mort October.

ART

The burgeoning art scene has been flourishing over the past year, with more exhibitions and avenues for artists to exhibit their work.

At the hub of the art’s scene has been the Cayman Island’ National Gallery, which has offered up a series of exciting art exhibitions over the past year, including Arreckly, Faces and Places – the life and work of Joanne Sibley – and Screens, Greens and Washing Machines – the life and work of Margaret Barwick, on display now.

Local café Full of Beans has continued throughout 2007 with its popular monthly exhibitions, attracting a host of both established and emerging artists.

Continuing to flourish is The Gallery at the Ritz-Carlton with regular changing exhibitions, attracting a slew of local artists. With many shows having a Cayman Islands theme, the exhibitions have proved popular with both locals and tourists looking for artwork which captures the beauty of Cayman.

Emerging as a popular venue for artists to display their work, Sapphire Martini Bar & Lounge at Seven Mile Shops has recently joined the long list of venues for artists to exhibit.

Cayman’s art scene further developed in April, with the opening of local artist Aston Ebank’s The Maze at Pageant Beach. The Maze was reportedly the largest installation piece in Cayman to date.

In October, the Visual Arts Society found a new permanent home at the Watler House at Pedro St. James.

While also offering regular art workshops and classes, the venue serves as an additional exhibition space for local artists to display their work, including shows by Dora Williams and Avril Ward.

FESTIVALS

No review of Cayman’s past year’s entertainment would be complete without mentioning the island’s annual festivals, and there’s been plenty to keep everyone entertained.

Batabano, held May, once again saw Cayman washed in carnival colour, with street parades and dances featuring the ever popular Byron Lee and the Dragonaires.

In the same month, foodies were in for a treat when the Department of Tourism held its fourth annual Cayman Classic. The gastronomic event served up three-days of food and wine events, with industry experts and top international chefs.

Offering up a further gastronomic treat for food aficionados in October was the Ritz-Carlton, with the first ever Caribbean Rundown. Hosted by Blue’s chef Eric Ripert, the event offered an indulgent weekend of cooking classes, tastings and an extravagant five course gala dinner prepared by a host of award-winning chefs. A few weeks later, Taste of Cayman celebrated its 40th anniversary with an event at the Royal Watler Cruise Terminal showcasing a selection of gourmet treats from Cayman’s restaurants.

November saw the launch of Pirates Week, without a doubt one of the largest, and most eagerly awaited, events on the Cayman Islands entertainment calendar. The festival, celebrating its 30th anniversary, was one of the biggest to date, with street dances, parades, fireworks, teen discos and the first ever cardboard boat race.

The storytelling festival Gimistory swiftly followed. Featuring a line-up of international and local tellers, the week-long festival travelled to Cayman’s five districts telling a host of tales to entertain the entire family.