A dose of the blues may be just what the island of St. Croix needs to cheer up after a week of bad economic news, and there’s a boatload of it on the way.
The cruise ship Nieuw Amsterdam will dock in Frederiksted from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday, bringing with it an A list of blues performers and more than 2,000 music fans on "the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise." They’ll be sharing that music with Crucians.
The V.I. Department of Tourism has planned a lineup of local entertainment and educational programs to complement the visitors, and the Frederiksted Economic Development Association has arranged for local vendors to set up booths on Strand Street to sell crafts and local food specialties.
Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty said, “We are delighted to welcome the passengers and performers from the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise to St. Croix to enjoy the natural beauty of the island and experience the array of activities St. Croix has to offer.”
“By organizing entertainment throughout the island, we hope to create a festive and welcoming atmosphere for our visitors and spur economic opportunities for our local vendors and businesses,” she said.
Cruise passengers will be welcomed ashore Wednesday by traditional mocko jumbies and performances by the Native Rhythm Quelbe Band and the St. Croix Heritage Dancers. DOT greeters will distribute island information and Cruzan Rum samples.
Between 12:30 and 3:30 p.m., Eddie Russell will perform at Blue Moon Restaurant on Strand Street, Chris Klein will take the stage at Coconuts on the Beach, and The St. Croix Blues Society will be playing at Rhythms at Rainbow Beach.
The Blues Cruise Concert begins at 3 p.m. when Stanley & the Ten Sleepless Knights take the stage at the Verne I. Richards Memorial Park on Strand Street. The concert continues throughout the day into the evening hours with performances by R&B Connection at 4:05 p.m., Chris Klein & The Boulevards at 5:15 p.m., Coco Montoya at 6:25 p.m., Shemekia Copeland at 7:15 p.m., and the Lowrider Band rounding things off at 8:45 p.m.
The Department of Tourism and Blues Cruise organizers have also developed a “Blues in the Schools” program that brings musicians into the schools to talk to students and give a short performance. Homemade Jamz Blues Band will perform at Good Hope School at 12:30 p.m. and Joe Louis Walker will visit the Arthur A. Richards Jr. High School at 1 p.m.
Residents can get an early start on the fun Tuesday at the Blues Cruise kick-off party at Blue Moon Café in Frederiksted. Call 772-2222 for more information.
Further information about the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise is available online at www.bluescruise.com.