Changes Made For 2013 Harbour Nights Season

March 18, 2013

The Bermuda Chamber of Commerce said the 2013 Harbour Nights season will encompass a number of changes including incorporating Reid and Queen streets, busker style entertainment scattered along the route and a more culturally focused approach.

Chamber Executive Director Joanne MacPhee noted; “The Chamber is pleased to announce a number of exciting changes to Harbour Nights. The most significant is the new route. Historically, the event has always been restricted to Front Street, but this year it will also incorporate Reid and Queen Streets.

Front and Reid Street will both be pedestrianized between Burnaby Hill and Queen Street, and Queen will be closed between Front and Church Street. This will give all merchants within the new footprint the opportunity to participate and in doing so bring the entire City to life.”

Another significant change is the return to a more culturally focused approach to the event. Mrs. MacPhee explained further; “Harbour Nights is the place where Bermudians and visitors connect and we want everyone to enjoy a truly authentic Bermudian experience, so we are going to focus even more attention on our rich heritage and culture.

“We are delighted to be collaborating with the Department of Community & Cultural Affairs this year and with their support, each week we will be showcasing local ‘Tradition Bearers’, the men and women who keep our heritage alive.

“We will also be picking up on the Department’s theme for Heritage Month the ‘Sights Sounds and Colours of Bermuda’ and carrying this forward throughout the season.

“Similarly, our vendors have been asked to stay true to the spirit of the event and we will only be allowing them to sell goods which have been made in or for Bermuda. We even have a new food vendor who will focus entirely on Bermudian fare.”

In direct response to feedback from the various stakeholder focus groups, the entertainment format will also be changed. Instead of the big production numbers at the Flagpole there will be more intimate busker style entertainment scattered along the route.

Mrs. MacPhee acknowledged that not everyone is going to be happy with the new approach but she believes that the changes are in the best interest of the majority and needed if the event is to survive.

“At the end of last season we were not even sure we would continue with Harbour Nights; after 20 years some felt the event had run its course, but after talking to the key stakeholders, including our sponsors, it was agreed that the signature event must go on, but we also agreed that in order to do so it needed to change.

“So an executive committee, chaired by our President Ronnie Viera, was formed and we have been working behind the scenes for months to determine the best way forward. We truly believe that the new approach is what is needed to revitalize the event but in the end it will be up to the public to decide.”

The Chamber will be holding a press conference nearer to the launch date, to outline the various changes in more detail. Any one interested in participating in Harbour Nights is asked to call Mrs. MacPhee at the Chamber 295 4201.

Harbour Nights 21st season will begin Wednesday May 1st and will run through until August 28th.

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Comments (16)

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  1. me says:

    Lets get the school kids playing music, or dancing, like the Walk about in St. Georges. He have great talent here!

  2. Me too says:

    Agree with “Me”. Get more kids involved. We’ve stopped going as there’s barely anything for young children to do. More music, dance, Zumba, etc. Could busk for charities as well.
    Train for kids, arts and crafts tables for children, etc… If you get kids down, parents will come and will support it.

  3. Bullseye says:

    I think change is welcome, and I think that getting away from the main noisy stage is worth a try.

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Agreed. There has been, in recent years, a trend of extremely loud music at many events where it simply isn’t needed or wanted. Most recently at The Telford Mile, one could barely think it was so loud. Tone it down!

      Good move CoC.

  4. Tommy Chong says:

    The buskers are a good idea. Commenter me’s idea of having local kids entertain can work hand in hand with the busker style but there should be a mix between the more experienced entertainers & kids. It would be great to see magicians, comedians, acapella & doo wop singers & all other sorts of entertainment along the way.

    This busker type entertainment would also be excellent next to the docking cruises every time the ships come in. Its strange that we have live entertainment welcomes at the airport when everyones in a rush to fill out declaration forms but none for the cruise ship passengers. They would have something etched in their memory of first impressions of Bermuda if this was done. This may also work to attract the tourist interest to come off the ships earlier than they most do. Another thing is having food stands next to the ships so the tourist smell the cuisine & are tempted to try before even stepping foot on land.

  5. street wise says:

    I know Joanne having worked with her on occasion, and if anyone can make Harbour Nights work again, it is her.

    Now considering the Harbour Nights effort in Dockyard which misses our visitors completely because they are all eating dinner on board their cruise ships…to make Dockyard work they will have to start the celebrations one hour later so passengers can enjoy it after their dinner. I wonder if the Powers That Be out there will have the insight to start an hour later. Somehow I doubt it. Bermudians are SO resistant to change… even if it is a good idea!

  6. observer says:

    This is will be the death knell Harbor nights….

  7. Justine says:

    Fantastic! I love Harbour Nights and I often take my kids and visitors. The best one of last year for me was when the Bermuda Glee kids performed – wow were they talented!! I hope more traders support the events this year, we have a wealth of artistic talent on the island too.

  8. street wise says:

    @ observer… did you read the article?… particularly paragraph #10.

    • observer says:

      Yes i read it…… who are the stakeholders, certainly not the vendors who have been out there for the last 2o years because none of the vendors were included in the making of these decisions the changes that are being made are really being made to please the retailers not the artist who this event is supposed to be geared towards….. am here to tell you that most of the artist are not happy with this and without vendors you have no event.

      • we need ships says:

        I agree. As a vendor it would have been nice to be included in the talks about these changes. Some will be good (buskers, more local food choice, returning to the emphasis on BERMUDA MADE products) but the location change is definately for the retailers, not the vendors. Not sure how its going to work and I truly hope our annual returning customers can find us in whatever location we are placed. What will make Harbour Nights “work again” is getting smaller ships back into Hamilton Harbour.

  9. cicada says:

    Sounds like a great plan, and it is wonderful that the new streets are made pedestrian for Harbour Nights!!

  10. street wise says:

    IMHO, Reid Street between Burnaby and Queen should be made into a permanent pedestrian mall… with big planters full of flowers and smaller trees, and restaurant seating outside. This has been suggested forever, but never acted upon.

  11. tired of the petty people says:

    Great – so Front Street will be a free flow for traffic and encourage the shops to stay open longer. Well done and well thought out.
    I agree with ‘street wise’ about the pedestrian area of Reid Street … perhaps it could be at certain times of the day only. This works very well in many towns and cities in the UK. Totally pedestrianised areas can also have a detimental effect on the drive by window shoppers and puts some people off going to town if they cannot get near the shops.

    BTW – this Harbour Nights plan might rejuvinate the streets behind Front Street, so we might even be able to save MILLIONS by not going ahead with the crazy harbour plans.