Officially 21! Soul Beach Music Festivals rings in more than 2 decades in Aruba

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Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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ORANJESTAD, Aruba (WTVD) -- And that's a wrap! In its 21st year in existence, the Soul Beach Music Festival has officially completed another lap in entertaining music and comedy lovers from around the world.

Soul Beach CEO Mark Adkins said the island of Aruba saw some 8,000 attendees to this year's festival.

Beginning on May 24, guests were treated to daily and nightly parties on Aruba's famed Palm Beach to the sounds of bass-pumping, body-shaking, and feet-stomping music from artists such as DJ Outkast, DJ Trauma, DJ Envy, DJ E-Clazz, and DJ Diablo, to name a few.

"This is my eighth Soul Beach Festival," said one woman from New Jersey. "We always stay at the Holiday Inn Resort and have a great time."

Thursday evening's popular all-white party brought out hundreds of people to neighboring venues Baru and South Beach. DJ Outkast, DJ Envy, and DJ E-Clazz spun the night away to hip-hop classics like Crime Mob's "Knuck If You Buck", the ever-so-famous "Swag Surf", and many other hit songs.

"If you're with your best friend, point them out," shouted New York's DJ Envy over the sound system.

Come Friday night, many of the festival attendees were prime ready for the heavily-attended comedy concert featuring actor/comedian Tiffany Haddish, comedian and actor Deon Cole from Black-ish on ABC - hosted by actor and comedian Chase Anthony.

The evening concluded with an after-party at the adjacent convention center of the Wind Creek Aruba Casino.

"I was in my bag tonight," said DJ Trauma in an Instagram post.

Soul Beach is perhaps best known for the musical artists it brings each and every year. 2023 was no different with Saturday's concert at Harbour Arena featuring Watra, North Carolina native Anthony Hamilton, and hip-hop legends The Roots. The nearly hour-long set by Anthony Hamilton and hour-plus-long entertainment by The Roots perfectly complemented the backdrop of Caribbean Sea waves and cool breeze.

"I'm just a country boy from Wadesboro," said Hamilton as he effortlessly weaved between songs before gracing the audience with his hit song "Comin' From Where I'm From".

Marquita Jones and her husband, from Durham, returned again this year for the festival.

"My husband's (standing) in the back. I'm up here in the front because I'm vertically challenged," she laughed. "Friends of ours from Florida told us about it. They had been attending for four years until COVID shut down things."

The festival was dormant in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic.

"The island is beautiful. The weather tops it off. With that many people attending the festival, everyone is getting along with one another. One big happy family," Jones said.

Jones also said she randomly met a couple at the concert who attended Hillside High School with her nearly 40 years ago.

Midday Sunday, hundreds of folks drove south to the island's pristine and picture-perfect Baby Beach for a Carnival-style day party. The beach day party served as a precursor to the highly-anticipated evening performances by R&B artists Lucky Daye and Philadelphia native Jill Scott.

Daye's performance, however, was cut short after only a few songs due to what was explained as technical difficulties.

Concert host, comedian and actor Chris Spencer, filled the remaining time before Scott's performance.

One man from Wake Forest won a return trip to Aruba in a drawing from the Aruba Tourism Authority. "He looks exactly how I thought he would look," joked Spencer as the man went on stage to claim his prize and pose for photo opportunities.

The musical evening capped off with a stellar and memorable performance by Scott, who serenaded the crowd with her top hits such as "Golden", "The Way", "A Long Walk", "Hate On Me", "He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)", and many others. And to complement her sweetness, Scott returned to the stage for two encore songs.

"This could all not be done without the help of our partners," said Adkins in a Sunday evening press conference. "We look forward to many more years to come."

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