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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, November 29, 2023


As the excitement surrounding the Sinbad Soul Music Festival begins to die down, local businesses are trying to catch their breath and assess the economic impact the five-day music festival had on the territory.
Virgin Islands Taxi Association Vice President Stanley Liburd said business was booming for the association's 460 drivers.
Throughout the festival, drivers were on the road 24 hours a day, providing service to visitors traveling to and from concerts at the Lionel Roberts Stadium, beach jams and late night parties.
"It was as busy as we thought it would be and there was something for all taxi drivers to do in St. Thomas," Liburd said. "Everyone got a piece of the action."
The V.I. Taxi Association normally offers service between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m. but given the estimated 7,000 tourists who flocked to the territory for the festival, hours were extended to meet the demand.
"It gave the drivers a little more to do because this is our off-season right now," Liburd said. "Everybody enjoyed themselves and had a good time and I would like to see them come back."
So far, Sinbad has only hinted at returning the festival to the U.S. Virgin Islands next year.
Marty Olson, manager of the Greenhouse Bar and Restaurant on the waterfront, said record food sales were broken during the festival. Olson, who declined to give specific figures, said he has never seen anything like it in the eight years he has worked at the Greenhouse.
"We had a little trouble keeping up but we made it," he said.
Just a few of the celebrities who visited the Greenhouse included Morris Day, Dominique Wilkins, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Nick Anderson, Charles Oakley, Anthony Mason and the man himself — Sinbad.
Richard Doumeng, president of the St. Thomas/St.John Hotel and Tourism Association and general manager of Bolongo Bay Beach Resort, said that while not everyone had a "gangbuster week" — such as the smaller hotels and guest houses — the festival brought a major cash infusion into the territory.
"The bottom line is Sinbad said he was going to bring a world-class event to our town and he did what he said he was going to do," Doumeng said.
Although the festival ended Sunday, he added, the territory has yet to realize the full economic impact of an event that was a public relations extravaganza.
"He (Sinbad) hasn't even started advertising the pay-per-view event yet, which will give us more publicity at the end of August when it starts running," Doumeng said.

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