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55 Belizean Artists, DJs Make Line Up for BIMFF2.0

Jun 30, 2023

55 Belizean Artists, DJs Make Line Up for BIMFF2.0

The second annual Belize International Music and Food Festival takes place on July twenty-ninth and thirtieth at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex in Belize City. For some time now, you have been hearing of the international artists that have made the cut and will be a part of this year’s festivities, and on Wednesday, the line up of Belizean artists was announced. BIMFF serves as a platform for growth and development of the music industry in Belize.  But while the list of artists is up, there are still some grumblings. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Fifty-five Belizean artists and DJs have made the cut for this year’s international music and food festival. That’s almost double the amount selected last year at the inaugural festival which was held at the Saca Chispas Field in the island town of San Pedro.

John Marsden Jr.

John Marsden Jr., Music Consultant

“We have big names such as Gilharry 7, Punt Rebels, Sweet Pain, Chico Ramos. We have newcomers, but seasoned people like TLC Band, we have Yas Thalia, Stig Da Artist, Papa John, we have our folklore people such as Cocono Bwai, Harrison “Dawgy’ King. We have to me, one of the best people them that I am so happy for him, like Master G out of Punta Gorda. He is visually impaired, but the way you see him on stage, you would not know that he is that. We’re proud to say a host of fifty-five DJs and artists are going to be on this international festival along paired with international people such as Morgan Heritage, Spice, Rotimi, Byron Messia, Adam O, Lyrikal, Skinny Fabulous, Jadel, Busy Signal. So two day event, each day is twelve hours of nonstop music. Two times twelve, maths up, twenty-four hours of nonstop music, twenty-four hours of nonstop great food representing every district ina Belize.”

Earlier this week, the star-studded line-up of Belizean musicians, artists and disc jockeys signed their contracts at the House of Culture in Belize City.  Many were chosen via the pre-concert competitions held across the country, but there were also some who were handpicked. There are, however, a number of artists who feel slighted. One such artist is Ernestine Carballo, who was on the line-up last year, but is not this year. She took to social media to express her concerns about the selection process.

Ernestine Carballo

On the Phone: Ernestine Carballo, Belizean Soca Artist

“I can recall they told us go out there and do your best and once you perform and you do your best, look out for this year. So nothing was there about anything that has to do with competing. So myself along with majority of the artists reached out to the organizers and asked what’s happening; even Center Stage Band was asking what’s happening with this year; we noh di hear nothing. Tell me weh di happen. And that’s when we had a response stating that in order for all of us to be a part of this year, we all need to compete. And that’s when I was like but why all of a sudden? Where did this come from? Why we the ones that helped to open the first annual music and food festival have to compete? It is like your telling Lord Rhaburn that he have to go compete when he done past the test of time. I said I don’t mind coming to perform as an artist but to say compete with the young and upcoming that would raise conflict of interest because I know my Belizean people dehn very good. Dehn wah want know why unu have fuh we soca queen weh just open up for the festival last year come compete for a spot weh she done supposed to have. So that’s my thing. Who came up with that idea to do that and why that? Instead of just saying come out and be real about it.”

Music Consultant John Marsden Junior responded to the concerns earlier today.

John Marsden Jr.

“The criteria was based on something that we didn’t judge them based on their genre. We judged them based on how they perform, how they look, how they interact with the crowd. So they had to have some level of that to be selected. That is for more the newer artists. For artists that were pre-selected, they had to be…one of them I could take Hubee, for instance. Every weekend, you can look at that young man and he is booked.  Stig Da Artist, every weekend he is booked. Those are artists that I cannot expect them to say; I mean the pre-festival was a free event. If you won you got a stipend, if you won you got a recording session. So we try to encourage the music to continue. We try to encourage artists to keep making new music. I can’t say not because you are not making new music you’re not going to be selected.”

On the Phone: Ernestine Carballo

“I was very honest and very respectable about how I felt about the situation and I told the organizers that I don’t see the fairness in it. That you are asking me to compete and yet you have an artist that performed last year as a performer. It is like unu noh di be fair across the board.”

Duane Moody for News Five.