Having just finished his Sunlight in the Sunshine State, soulful reggae, rock, blues singer had just made his way back home in Anguilla, when the news of the impending storm was announced.
As Hurricane Irma’s deadly fury carved a path of destruction after slamming into Anguilla, Barbuda, Saint-Barthelemy, St Martin and the British Virgin Islands, the Caribbean diaspora could only wait and pray for news of family, friends and loved ones.
Having just finished his Sunlight in the Sunshine State, soulful reggae, rock, blues singer had just made his way back home in Anguilla, when the news of the impending storm was announced. On September 5th, at last mobile contact, Omari and his family took shelter and all necessary precautions. Since Irma made landfall, music fraternity, fans and friends have expressed concerned.
Omari was able to release the following brief statement: “Hi Guys, I would like to say thanks to everyone for the well wishes to me, my family and all the folks in Anguilla. Hurricane Irma was definitely a challenging storm to cope with to say the least, but we came out with life, which in the end is the most important thing. We have all lost plenty in Anguilla, but as always we will come back stronger. Thanks again for the love and support in this time. Your good vibes are felt on this side. Nuff love and respect.”
Omari’s brother, attorney-at-law Olaide Banks who himself recently went through Tropical Storm Harvey, which has flooded thousands of Houston-area homes, was finally able to contact his family, and received both comforting and bleak news. Thankfully everyone is uninjured, but their legendary father’s Bankie Banx popular Dune Preserve (home of Moonsplash) has suffered severe damages as most of the island structures, such as Davida’s Restaurant and Spa who was completely destroyed (see pictures pre-hurricane).
John McKendrick, Anguilla’s attorney general, said Thursday that the island had suffered “huge devastation” from the hurricane. Up to 90 percent of the homes on the island had been damaged, fallen trees had blocked many roads, cell phone service was interrupted and electrical service was cut. The entire island was still without power on Thursday, he said.
“Our only update, sadly, is that the dune has been completely demolished. The dune villa is still standing but has suffered severe damage. For those of you who did not see our last post, Bankie is fine and appreciates all of your kind messages xxx“
Home of Moonsplash, the longest running independent music festival in the Eastern Caribbean, Dune Preserve was founded by Bankie Banx (Omari Banks father) and Sheriff Bob Saidenberg in 1991 as a roving music festival. The original concerts were staged on Sandy Island, Pinel Cay off St. Martin and in St. Barths.
Moonsplash found its permanent home in 1995 at The Dune Preserve at Rendezvous Bay on Anguilla. Since that time Moonsplash has become a top showcase for vintage reggae acts and emerging talent. Over the past few years, headline performers have included Tarrus Riley, Duane Stephenson, Queen Ifrica, Jah Cure, Omari Banks, Ce’Cile, Steel Pulse, Third World, Inner Circle, Buju Banton, Gregory Isaacs, Culture, Toots & The Maytals and many others. Other surprise guests have included Jimmy Buffett, John Mayer and the Bacon Brothers.