Sunday, April 16, 2017

4-15 to 4-16-2017 Hopkins International Parranda Fest

Parranda Fest is a huge music event for Hopkins, and we never miss it. This year we went over to the venue (Palmento Grove)
during the day to see about the cultural exhibitions that were advertised. There were many pieces of art featured inside the

On the right is a portrait of Aurelio Martinez, a Garifuna musician from Honduras who would be playing later in the evening.

A portrait of our friend, the late, great, Jess Flores, a famous Garifuna musican from Belize.

We headed over to a booth that demonstrated the making of cassava bread, a local specialty that Cara likes.

Sweet cassava (on the right) and bitter cassava (on the left) are both peeled and used in the
making of cassava bread. Cassava is a root.

After being peeled and rinsed, the cassava is grated on a special board.

The grated cassava is gathered up...

...then it is stuffed into one of these long yellow tubes to drain the water out. (The tube is
basically like one of those "Chinese finger cuff" deals that we all played with as kids. When
it is stretched out it compresses whatever is inside, and in the case of cassava, the compression
helps drain the liquid.)

The drained cassava comes out of the tube in cylinders like this.

The drained cassava cylinders are then sifted through a special woven device.

After sifting the cassava flour looks like this.

Here is some flat cassava bread being baked over an open fire.

Sabal's Food Products was selling several flavors of cassava bread, cassava flour, and a couple of drinks made from cassava.

We heard there was stuff going on nearby at Queen Bean Restaurant, so we went there to check it out.

There were several people chilling out, listening to the music, and enjoying a beautiful day on the beach.

There was a food booth set up, as well as booths for beer and mixed drinks.

We hung out for a little bit, then went home in hopes of taking naps to prepare for the all-night party that is Parranda Fest. Cara got a nap, but Eric did not.

Normally you don't even bother going to a concert before midnight, but this year they were starting earlier and trying to stay
on schedule, so we headed over at about 8:30 pm. This is Mayan Parrandero, one of the first bands to play.

Garifuna Collective, an awesome band - they have toured internationally and played at the New Orleans Jazz Fest last year.

Some people sat on the small stage at the back. (This stage is always there, the big one was set up just for the event.)

Zero Tolerance band with their tribute to Jess Flores. The two women at the front of the stage holding portraits of Jess are his
daughter and wife. The young boy in the middle playing the shakas is Jess' son, Pappy.

Mohobob Flores

The power went out around midnight. Eric tried to hold on, but he got tired and went home. Cara stayed, and after a little bit
someone set off some fireworks.

Not sure if the fireworks were planned for later, or just improvised to keep the crowd entertained.

At one point they got a generator to run some lights on the stage, but they couldn't run the microphone. Some acoustic music
(without the singer) came from the stage, but it didn't last long.

Our friend, Ant, the photobomber.

On the smaller stage other musicians drummed and sang for a while. It is not unusual for something like this to happen in
Belize, but Cara always finds it amazing. In the U.S., if the power went out at a concert people had paid a fair amount of
money for, the people would not sit and wait - a riot or something would erupt. No so in Belize. People here generally just try
to make the best of things. Thus, during the 3+ hours without power, there was still merriment and music-making, and only
about half the people left (disappointed, but not disruptive).

Finally around 3 am the power came back on and the concert started again with Aurelio Martinez.

Unfortunately, a lot of performances were cut short because of the power delay.

Lloyd Augustine

Cara and Emma, hanging on until morning...

Aurelio Martinez with the Garifuna Collective

Adrian Martinez

Aziatic backed by the Griga Boys

Cara caught a ride home with Emma around 6:30 am, just before the concert wrapped up. They stopped at the public pier to
see the sunrise.

Emma got a photo of Cara taking a picture of the sunrise.

Cara got a picture of Emma greeting the day.

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