Photo credit; Vania Andre
By Vania Andre
The annual Haitian Labor Day Fest returned to Long Island’s Eisenhower Park on Saturday with a line up boasting virtually every top act in the Haitian Music Industry (HMI). After a hiatus last year, festival organizer Urbain Richard, CEO of VenusInt’l Productions (VIP) vowed to bring the annual music showcase back “bigger than ever.”
Performers included former Haitian President Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, Kassav, T-Vice, Djakout #1, Kreyol La, Boukman Eksperyans, Tabou Combo, NuLook, Gabel, and Karizma.
“We have always been proud to host one of the biggest festivals in the New York area during Labor Day weekend,” said Richard. “We love bringing people together to enjoy Haitian culture at its finest.”
This year’s festival drew one of it’s largest crowds in years, with several thousand people attending the annual event. Kassav, T-Vice and Sweet Micky were some of the crowd favorites.
Kassav put on a high energy performance, serenading the crowd with their classic Zouk hits like “Zouk La Sé Sèl Médikaman” and “Siwo.” T-Vice invigorated the crowd with their 2016 carnival song “Dan Di Kite Grate.”
The former president riled the crowd up with his hit songs like “I Don’t Care,” and the controversial Carnival song “Ti Lili.” He stayed true to his “bad boy” persona, commenting on the political turmoil in Haiti that many blamed on him.
They said I was the problem and the reason why elections were not taking place, he said to the crowd. But now I’m gone, and elections still aren’t taking place.
In 2015 Haiti held elections after nearly 4 years of delays. Many spectated the delays were due to political maneuvering on the part of the former head of state. The results of the 2015 elections were ultimately thrown out following allegations of voter fraud at the polls, and an interim president was put in place. The latest round of elections is expected to take place Oct. 9.
“I intend to be a bad boy again,” Martelly said of his return to entertainment following his political career at a press conference before the festival. This is my opportunity to be “myself again, and to be back.”