EXPLOSIVE NEW BEGINNING AT THE HISTORIC LEIMERT PARK!
The legendary Belizean musical and cultural festival, Belize Caye Fest, returned again this year at the historic Leimert Park in the popular Crenshaw District blazing out of the afternoon sun of sunny Los Angeles, California. Hotter than July, the 30-year-old Belizean music festival may have found another great place to call home nestled within a predominantly black community of Los Angeles where Belizeans are the largest black immigrant group.
Topping the large list of Belizean artists in the Los Angeles Belizean community were Belizean musical artists like Danki Man, Preachaman, Eljai Royal, Bella Carib, Michael Wagner, Little June and others. The large Belizean audience that has always embraced the culture and music of the Belizean community around it, appeared somewhat puzzled at first with the very familiar Leimerk Park they traversed daily on Crenshaw Boulevard. The festival had been held from the 1990s at the Rancho Cienega Park, not far from there as well as the popular Hollywood Park & Casino in the Inglewood District. The mass of the crowd began trickling in to Leimert at the last few remaining hours of the music and cultural show.
But it was the Belizean music that mattered the most as Danki Man electrified the crowd with his party time “Brukdong” style music, returning from a long sabbatical. He was one of those the Belizean audience was just waiting for and he didn’t disappoint them in the least. Before him, it was another Brukdong Belizean jammer, Preachaman, that quenched the thirst of the dancing feet of the Belizean crowd who came to party.
As the show moved on, pacing itself quite well after showcasing other artists like the Punta fabulous Garif, gospel reggae star Keith Barrett, Bootsy Rankin, the Smith Brothers, Dell Smart, and a drum beating performance by Belizean Garifuna performers since midday, the reggae music of Belize-based artist, Ras Indio, blessed the energetic audience of mixed cultural spice from Belizeans to African-Americans, to Africans and Latinos, to Jamaicans and other people of Caribbean heritage. The melting pot heritage of Los Angeles embracing all ethnic backgrounds and serenading within the mecca of protest and political resistance for the people of the African diaspora at Leimert Park, could have not been at a better place for Belizean culture to make its powerful cultural statement as one of the largest group of immigrants in Los Angeles.
Then Bella Carib, the pulsating Belizean female performing artist who has been no stranger to the Belize Caye Fest since its inception, pumped up the place with her flamboyant performance, flanked as usual with her fabulous female dancers. She was followed by the sensational Belizean reggae vocalist and balladeer, Eljai, who entertained his fans with his popular reggae hit tunes like “Belize” and many others. Eljai has become the rising Belizean reggae superstar today.
Springing out of it all was an amazing unity of spirit, all celebrating the Belizean immigrant experience. It was a kind of people-centered music and cultural festival in the best of moments.
Later it was the classy Belizean soca and reggae balladeer, Michael Wagner and the Punta Rock sensation, Little June, who closed the awesome Belizean festival, continuing to energize the predominantly Belizean audience on the dance floor with their jamming musical appeal. Little June was just outstanding, both as a performer and an electrifying musical artist who knows how to entertain an audience.
This year’s Belize Caye Fest was a smash after returning from out of the background to re-establish itself as one of the best Belizean music and cultural festivals in Los Angeles. It now seems that this is a new beginning for a historic Belizean festival that entertained Belizeans in the Los Angeles community since its humble beginnings at the first Belize Caye Fest in 1988.