The new and improved BTL Park was rocking on Friday, February 12, for the 2nd anniversary of its opening. The upgraded social space opened on Valentines Day 2014 with a Duane Stephenson concert that was free to the public. The Council has since maintained a schedule of weekend events at the park and other public venues in an effort to encourage city residents to get out and access the facilities. This initiative has resulted in a revitalization of the city as families are once again establishing weekend traditions; community groups are going on outings right here in the city, and new friendships are being formed between individuals from various corners of the city. The BTL Park is now a central venue where the melting pot that is Belize is fully on display. It is for this reason, among many others, that the Belize City Council sees it fit to celebrate wholeheartedly the 2nd Anniversary of the New BTL Park.
The star attraction for the celebration on Friday was Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist “Gyptian”. Over three thousand residents made it out to the park for the concert. Most of them were dressed in red on the occasion of Valentine’s Day and many were with their significant other. The entertainment was perfectly selected for the theme of the night, an old fashion love fest at the BTL Park.
Early in the evening, around 6:30 p.m., the kids had their time to dance and play as young star Jael August graced the stage and put on a show. She was followed by crowd favorite Ozzy the Clown and Tikai Entertainment’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Little boys in attendance were most amazed by a special appearance from those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The smiles and grins on the faces of the children assured the City Councilors and staff in attendance that their efforts are well appreciated.
Mayor Darrell Bradley addressed the crowd after the children’s entertainment session was over. His address signaled a transition into a more serious fete. In the address, he thanked everyone for coming out to the concert and he expressed gratitude to the Councilors and City Council staffers who assisted to make the event a success. He then led a countdown from ten to one which ended with the start of a spectacular fireworks show. The explosions and jaw dropping flares lasted for just under 30 minutes. After the Fireworks, the Mayor and Councilors distributed cupcakes and ice-cream to all the children inside BTL Park. During this time music was provided by DJ Jago and the award winning Evolution Sounds.
The music from these top sound crews meant that the adult session was ready to roll. DJ Dalla and City Council’s Kenny Morgan were Masters of Ceremony for the concert. They introduced a star studded line up of Belizean artists: Consigo, Trecia Gabourel, Channelle Parks and the Center Stage Band, Ernest Meighan, Sam Hamilton, Supa Furia Band, the legendary Chico Ramos and the hit making machine called the Sweet Pain Band. These artists performed from 10 o’ clock to 1:15 a.m. After the Belizean artists, Jamaican mix master DJ Lion Face warmed up the stage with a reggae session of what’s currently hot on his island. After Lion Face, one of Gyptian’s protégé got a few minutes to introduce his song to Belizeans. By this time, the crowd’s patience was already thin. They had come to see Gyptian and no other artists would satisfy them at that point, it was already 2 in the morning. Their appetite was quickly attended to by Kenny Morgan. “With no further adieu, we introduce to you, Jamaican reggae and dancehall sensation, the man they call Gyptian!”
Gyptian did not disappoint the energetic crowd. He performed hits like “Nah Let Go”, “I Can Feel Your Pain”, “Beautiful Lady”, “Mama Don’t Cry” and closed with “Hold Yuh”. When the beat for “Hold Yuh” started another fireworks session erupted from above the stage. Gyptian graced the stage for 55 minutes and left an extremely satisfied audience.
There was one minor fight in front of the stage but no major incident reported by police. The City Council hopes to continue making the park an attractive place for residents to visit and form bonds. There will also be far less renting of the park due to the Council’s belief that the park should be free to the public for any event taking place.