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AFAWAC's Fund-Raiser a Success

Minister, Penelope Beckles, Machel Montano and Yannick Minister, Penelope Beckles, Machel Montano and Yannick Reporters
Event Date: May 20, 2007
Posted: May 22, 2007

The Arima Foundation for the Advancement of Women and Children (AFAWAC) held their 6th annual Calypso and Soca All Inclusive fund-raiser event on Sunday 20th May, 2007, at 39 Windsor Road, Valsayn North.

Although the event was scheduled to begin at 3p.m., the very popular York Inc. venue was still partially empty until around 5p.m., possibly due to the extreme heat of the sun. However, the huge tree under which the large stage was securely positioned provided much shade extending way beyond the parameter of the stage area. This allowed for the comfort of the patrons and also enhanced the ambience.

The fundraiser was nothing short of a well-organized production and patrons seemed satisfied that they could be entertained and lend financial support to the Rape Crisis Society simultaneously.

Tight police security was provided to ensure the safety of the patrons as well as their vehicles which were parked a good distance away from the venue. The large covered stage was impressively organized which allowed ample room for the artistes and musicians to comfortably perform. Within the vicinity, there were two well-stocked and conveniently positioned bars courtesy Angostura and Legacy Bar from Marketing and Distribution Ltd. The Angostura bar was close to the stage and the Legacy bar was on the right side at the entrance of the venue. On the left of the venue entrance were decorated tables with chairs nicely set under a couple of tents for those who wanted to engage a little tête-à-tête. At the far end of the compound was a cozy uncovered area under some trees where tables and chairs were placed for buffet-styled dining. On the opposite side were tents under which a variety of dishes and cutters were prepared and cooked. An efficient clean-up crew wearing bright yellow jerseys was also on hand to keep the premises tidy.

Roy Cape All Stars with its dynamic frontline trio, Dexter 'Blaxx' Stewart, Caryl 'Trini' Jacobs, and Olatunji Yearwood kicked off the live performances as patrons streamed into the venue. The front line trio showed their versatility by singing a mixture of Soca, Hip/Hop, Reggae and retro songs. Blaxx's 2007 song 'Dutty Crew' was especially well-received by the audience. Black Stalin also graced the stage, and backed by the Roy Cape Band had the audience singing along to his hits. He closed with his perennial favourite "Black Man Feeling to Party".

By the time Denise 'Saucy Wow' Belfon came to the stage at around 7 p.m., the crowd had increased considerably. The 'Wining Queen' thrilled the crowd with her wining skills particularly the popular 'bicycle wine'. After her performance, Iwer George stormed the stage and instantly the audience was transformed into a sea of waving hands and flags as Iwer performed several of his hit songs. Iwer George praised the organizers for having an all inclusive Soca event out of the Carnival seasons and emphasized his own commitment to the development of Soca music.

Minister Penelope Beckles thanked all the patrons and artistes who supported the event and briefly explained the reason for the fundraiser. She then switched hats, entertaining the audience by bravely singing two songs.

After Iwer George's performance, DJs Crosby Sounds and Kabuki had the crowd dancing to some of the most popular 'Back in Times' tunes while the stage was being prepared for Machel Montano HD. The front of the stage was soon packed to capacity as Machel Montano made his entrance. Montano held the audience captivated during his entire one and a half hour high energy performance. Patrons danced and waved as Machel, who is celebrating 20 years in the Soca arena this year, belted out a variety of hits from over the years. Backed by his HD (formerly Xtatic) band he was joined on stage by Patrice Roberts and Drupatee who both added their unique flavour to the proceedings. Saying that he did not like to talk much on stage, but preferred to let his music speak, Machel performed such songs as "Band Of The Year", "One More Time", "Higher than High", "Scandal" (Delirious), "We Not Giving Up", "Heart Of A Man", "Bubblenut", "You", "No War" and "Real Unity". Machel closed the show at around 10 p.m. in climatic fashion with his 2007 Road March winning hit "Jumbie", with the crowd in a frenzy, doing the 'jumbie dance'.

As a cool down after Montano's high energy performance, the crowd was treated to the sweet sounds of pan-round-de-neck music. The patrons chipped behind the small band making a couple of rounds on the compound.

The Arima Foundation for the Advancement of Women and Children (AFAWAC) was founded eight years ago by Minister of Public Utilities and the Environment, Penelope Beckles for the purpose of assisting under-privileged women and children in Arima and its environs. Some of the Foundation's activities have included awarding of scholarships to children, hosting of summer camps, assisting persons with job opportunities, providing academic and technical training to young persons and other educational and social activities. Considering the increasing number of senior citizens in the community and recognizing their special needs, the Foundation has agreed to the expansion of services to assist the elderly and socially disadvantaged persons in the community.

Some of the board members also include Grace Talma, Janice Wallace-Henry, Dr. Gwen Williams and Michelle Beckles.

The sixth annual AFAWAC Fundraising Calypso and Soca All-Inclusive was a success in terms of patronage from Soca artistes and members of the public. It is hoped that the funds raised would be enough to help the cause of the organization.

AFAWAC Calypso and Soca all-inclusive fund-raiser in pictures: