For more on Moods of Pan 2006  click here


Scenes from the Jolly Beach Resort

Traveling to Antigua, Moods of Pan
and the
Jolly Beach Resort
A Look at Antigua's Premier Steelband Music Festival - Room and Board

click for slideshow

Jolly Beach Resort


View from Jolly Beach Resort


Antigua's V C Bird International Airport


Antigua from the Air


Jolly Beach Resort


Antiguan Beach at Resort


Jolly Beach Resort Pool


Hemispheres Restaurant


Jolly Harbour Marina

St. John's, Antigua - This month When Steel Talks (WST) traveled back to the Caribbean to cover the annual Moods of Pan (MOP)  music festival held in Antigua.  The event traditionally starts on the third Thursday in November and carries through the weekend with the grand closing performances held on Sunday.  Moods of Pan is one of the premiere music festivals in the region.  Now in its eighth year, beyond the obvious benefits of the great music the festival provides, there is the island of Antigua itself.  Antigua is a stunning island with highly capable, friendly and gifted people.

Coincidently, Moods of Pan overlaps the United States Thanksgiving holiday weekend which makes Antigua  an ideal place and time for a world steelband music summit.  Many of the music educators, and schools with steelband music programs are off that weekend.  It would be a great place for steelband music program directors to bring their students to interact and exchange ideas with other steelbands.

All the performers for this year's MOP event stayed at the Jolly Beach Resort, one of the major sponsors of the festival.  The festival's performances took place at the Deanery Grounds in St. John's, the capital of Antigua and Barbuda.  The festival's promoters have said that this will be the final year of the event being held at this venue.


Taking off from Antigua's V C Bird International Airport

The WST crew flew to Antigua out of New York's JFK International airport.  We caught the early 6:10 AM American Airlines flight (AA 769) to San Juan, Puerto Rico, and then transferred to the connecting 1:50 PM AA flight 891 to Antigua's V C Bird International Airport (ANU). 

It took three hours and fifty minutes from New York to San Juan.  The trip from San Juan to Antigua took about fifty minutes.  The drive from V C Bird International Airport (ANU) to the Jolly Beach Resort where WST  resided for this festival took about thirty-five minutes.

Ground transportation was readily available from the resort in the form of buses and taxis. The resort is about twenty-five minutes away from the Deanery Grounds which was the staging area for the Moods of Pan festival.


Two of Jolly Beach Resort's Hemispheres restaurant hosts Auburn, and colleague

Jolly Beach Resort's beach front access provides people flying into Antigua a good place to stay while attending the Moods of Pan events.  In addition to facilitating tours of Antigua, the resort provides attendees with a slew of activities.  Guests are provided with three buffet-style meals at the Hemispheres restaurant.  The food and choices are excellent.  But beware if you plan on attending the MOP events, and in the same time frame catch the resort's delicious dinner fare - there will be a scheduling conflict.  You will have to forfeit your evening meal as WST  experienced, because dinner is available from 6:30 to 10 PM.  Two MOP shows began at 7:30 PM and one at 6:30 PM.

Performers at Pan Festival

There is some sort of live musical entertainment almost every night.  In fact the Jolly Beach Resort residents were  treated to an exclusive  special private concert from the world-famous Trinidad All Stars who were also in Antigua to participate in MOP main attractions.

The resort is much more than a hotel; it is a community onto itself - exclusive and self-sufficient.  It has it's assortments of shops and stores, boutiques, swimming pool, sports facilities, computer.  It even has it's own supermarket and casino.  And of course there is the beach and all related beach activities.  The Jolly Beach Resort is adjacent to the Jolly Harbour Marina where When Steel Talks stayed on our previous visit to Antigua. The villas, situated practically 'on the water', have two bedrooms, a large living room, dining room and kitchen area.  The marina has an internet cafe, bank and an assortment of bars and restaurants.

The internet cafés located at both the Jolly Beach Resort and Jolly Harbour Marina are important because there is internet access in only a handful of  the high-end rooms at the resort itself, unlike the courtesy high-speed in-room facilities of the Garraway Hotel in Dominica where WST  stayed recently.  The bad news is that the cafés at Jolly Beach are only open from 9 to 5.  So if high speed internet access 24-7 is a must-have, as it is for WST  because of the hours we work, and our all-encompassing global presence, this can be a real bummer.  There is no direct wireless access provided by the hotel.  You can however connect your laptop to the internet in the cafés via an RJ45 internet cable, and only if the designated area is available, and other guests do not get there before you with their own laptops, as WST  also experienced.  Each café allows for only one laptop user at a time.  Regular desktops are available for general use.

The Jolly Beach staff is simply wonderful.

Since the annual Moods of Pan Festival takes place on the third weekend of November, for those pan lovers traveling from North America, this means you will be spending your Thanksgiving Holiday in Antigua, which every pan enthusiast should do at least once.  Fear not: turkey was available as part of the Jolly Beach dinner menu.

As we alluded to earlier: the MOP festival because of its date, the demonstrated ability of its promoters, and support of the Antiguan & Barbudan government with Antiguan backdrop - is an excellent time and place to conduct a world steelband music summit.  Again the Jolly Beach Resort would be a natural choice for this as the facility boasts four conference rooms and is used to major conventions being held at its location.  Moreover, the Jolly Beach Resort staff and management are 'pan friendly' having had years of experience with pan people and steelbands.


Scenes from the Jolly Beach Resort




Gemonites Steel Orchestra| |
Patrick Stone Johnson | email:   | 1-268-727-6633 (cell)
Robin Margetson | email: |1-268-773-3748 (cell)
Jolly Beach Resort |
Related Travel Experiences:  Garraway Hotel - Dominica, W.I.
                                          :  Exotica Cottages - Dominica, W.I.
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