Here it is the Ides of August and it’s raining. After months of hardly any rain at all, it actually poured a few minutes yesterday. Normally the local residents would be smiling and thinking of all the good the rain does for their gardens and cisterns, while the summer tourists looks for foul-weather activities away from the beach. But in fact this rain was part of a pre-hurricane alert for the Lesser Antilles. But, so far no sign of a tropical storm other than some rumbling thunder in the distance, but to keep people from going out and doing something stupid in the face of a possible storm, the Prefect in Saint Martin cancelled all outdoor activities last night—and needless to day it was not too highly recommended to go fishing or take a midnight swim. But this meant canceling the first night of the second annual SB Jam music festival, which was scheduled for this week, and which met with rain last year as well. Fortunately festival organizer Jackson Questel was able to quickly negotiate moving part of the concert from the dock into Le Select, where those who were up on the news were able to enjoy music by Kali, the Rasta banjo player from Martinique. I have some experience with this kind of thing, as every year during our outdoor film festival in April I pray for no-rain. This year, naturally, in the middle of a dry spell it managed to rain right on the night we had a huge inflated movie screen on the beach in Flamands— just enough rain to keep a lot of people at home, but not enough to scare away the brave souls who came. In fact, we showed Pierre Brouwers film about Saint Barth, La Belle et L’Avion, and the wonderful photos of people sitting under their umbrellas watching the film on the beach are included in the booklet that comes with the official edition of his DVD. Bringing the screen and its keeper to Saint Barth: several hundred euros. Those photos on the beach: priceless. In the meantime hopefully the rain will ease off as the rest of August is chock full of local festivities from the music festival to the feast days of St. Barthélemy in Gustavia on August 24 and St Louis in Corossol on August 25. But it seems to me, if you ever need rain, forget the proverbial rain dance. Just spend a year planning for an outdoor festival—be it music or film—and it’s sure to rain on your parade. At least in Saint Barth that seems to be true. And while the festival organizers are shaking their heads, the gardens and cisterns are just soaking it up.
More to come,