Gibraltar International Song Festival a great hit with audience

The Bootleg Beatles performing at the VII Gibraltar International Song Festival

WHEN closing the VII Gibraltar International Song Festival in the early hours of April 24, Chairman of the festival and the man responsible for its resurrection and steady growth Joe Carseni partially quoted Martin Luther King, saying “I have a dream and that is that the Gibraltar International Song Festival will become one of the best in the world”.

Whilst that dream may be a little ambitious, it was certainly a very varied and successful night with 14 acts from many parts of Europe performing to a very receptive audience of local people and dignitaries.

It was well staged and the judges, chaired by Costa del Sol legend Tim Knight had a pretty difficult job to decide who should win. Sometimes it’s tempting to choose the best performance, but in a song contest, it should be a combination of presentation and the song itself, so if the performance didn’t hit the very highest notes, the words could become highly important.


Everything moved very slickly from artist to artist although for this writer, the only jarring note was the insistence of including well meaning but not terribly professional dancers with almost every performance.

It would have been fine to have, as they did, an opening sequence which included dance, but to see a plethora of sub teens in sparkly costumes and bright red lipstick oohing and gyrating in the background was very distracting as far as the song is concerned. This continued throughout the night with dancers of different ages and was frankly overkill.

Once all 14 artists had performed and following an intermission, the audience was treated to one hour of the Bootleg Beatles who do sound a lot like the original band and went down a storm with the audience playing songs from a number of the band’s incarnations. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo was bopping away in his seat and singing the words to every song and His Excellency the Governor also appeared to be enjoying himself immensely.

There was a lot of good humoured banter from the band, who every so often reminded those in power that they hadn’t been awarded MBEs as yet and one gained the impression that if they did get them, unlike some of the original Beatles, would not send them back to the Palace.

Following the band, the serious business of announcing the winners took place. There was a special interpretation prize for 15-year-old Gibraltarian Tiffany Ferrary, Briton Zoe Louise came third, runner up was Spain’s Sera Mayo with a bouncy funk number whilst the winner was another artist from the UK, Brandon Cook who sang a fairly up tempo ballad about his father and their relationship.

The audience was a little surprised (as possibly were the cleaners) when a bang was heard in the auditorium and tons of coloured paper fell from the ceiling.

All in all this was a thoroughly professional and enjoyable evening expertly hosted by Andy Coumbe and Erica McGrail. 


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