FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2022
Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas
Hope Town Music and Rum Festival 2023
February 7th – 12th, 2023 will mark a decade of Hope Town hosting a
well-attended singer-songwriter music festival. First a hurricane hit, and a
pandemic choked off what tourism revenue the storm didn’t flatten. Eager to
display the resilience of Hope Town, organizers are not only launching a new,
expanded music festival, they’ve added Rum.
Hope Town Music and Rum Festival will be held February 7– 12, 2023.
The festival will feature a roster of musicians to be revealed soon and rum
tastings at the concerts. Rum sponsors will also be announced in the near
Over 1,000 attendees are expected to collect in Hope Town venues listening,
tasting rum and feeling down–home in their souls. Classic resorts like the
Firefly Sunset Resort, Hope Town Inn and Marina, the Abaco Inn, On the Beach
and Sea Spray Resort will host events.
Visitors to the festival will enjoy intimate beachfront concerts by talented
musicians, as well as tastings from local and international rum distillers.
Building on a decade of concerts, the Hope Town Music and Rum Festival is meant
to celebrate the resolute heart of Hope Town and its people, who have emerged
from hardship ready to renew the hospitality and warm welcomes that the island
is famous for. Most of the island’s accommodations and transportation options
are already sold-out during festival week.
In 2019, the Abacos, long a low-key island resort and fishing community, were
devastated by Hurricane Dorian. Extraordinary efforts by many organizations and
local community saw the islands stagger back to their feet only to be hit with
the coronavirus pandemic that stopped precious tourism revenue.
Finally, after three years, the Abacos are emerging again, with strong
investment from the resort development sector and the flow of revenue from
visitors once again picking up. The Hope Town Music and Rum Festival will
dedicate a portion of profits to continued efforts to rebuild Hope Town.
The Abacos are a collection of cays in The North West Bahamas. With the depths
of the Atlantic Ocean off one coast and the shallow Sea of Abaco off the other,
the Abacos offer a unique fishing, sailing, boating, snorkeling and diving
opportunities. Surfing and beachcombing can also fill time between shows for
festival attendees. Local artists and boatbuilders offer cultural
attractions, and Caribbean cuisine is offered throughout the cays.
For more information contact:
If you’re unfamiliar with The Abacos, they are a group of islands and barrier cays in the northern Bahamas. This 120-mile-long chain of paradise is home to beautiful beaches, warm breezes, sunshine and, you guessed it, scuba diving adventures.
Now, if you’ve dived in the Bahamas before, The Abacos are a completely different experience. The waters are relatively shallow and most areas are 60 feet or less in depth. The fringing reefs you’ll find in these waters are extremely ornate. There is actually an extinct coral base with Star and Elkhorn corals growing on top creating the beautiful formations you will see. You’ll also find cathedral-like caverns in the form of an underwater maze as you’re swimming around. These tunnels formed from tidal flow hitting against the base reef. You’ll also be experiencing the third largest barrier reef in the world, which is saying a lot for a smaller island area.
With more than 100 miles of reef to explore, the visibility is ideal in the turquoise waters, and is usually over 100 feet. Of course, weather can affect visibility, but with lots of sunshine, The Abacos are considered a great diving destination all year round. Just a heads up, June through October is hurricane season and October to June is considered best for shark diving. Be ready to experience lush coral gardens, steep drop-offs, plenty of fishes and even friendly sharks and rays.
If you aren’t a diving aficionado, or are in need of a lesson, they are available. Here are some places you can work with to get your feet wet.
– Froggies Out Island Adventures
– Above and Below Abaco
Lesson prices vary by each company and can range from $150-$350. If you are already an avid diver, you can pay for dive excursions as opposed to lessons. If you are already a certified scuba diver and are able to dive on your own, remember to bring your certification card for proof. Otherwise, you will not be able to venture off on your own, or will have to complete lessons again.
The Abacos are considered a great place to learn how to scuba dive. Before you venture out and “dive in,” you will first be introduced to all the pieces of scuba gear. Generally, with each of the businesses listed above, you will spend the first few hours learning on land and in a pool. This gets you comfortable with breathing underwater and you will learn skills like clearing your ears and how to use your buoyancy compensator (BC) inflate/deflate valve and how to ascend/descend properly. Some of the gear you can expect to learn about includes a face mask, BC, regulator, wet suit, tanks, snorkels, weight belt/weights, and fins.
Once you’ve completed your informational session, your instructors will take you out to the beautiful reef for some diving action. Have no fear, you won’t be left completely alone when you are out on the water. Your instructors and scuba companies will be with you each step of the way to make sure you are comfortable and safe.
For those who want to expand even further than just initial scuba lessons and a single experience on vacation, you can also work on getting your own scuba certification. If you will be in The Abacos longer than four days, that is plenty of time for you to get scuba certified. If you would prefer to get certified with a local dive center near you, it can take a few weeks since classes are generally one to two times per week. PADI (Professional Association of Divers) classes are what are widely offered on the island. Again, if you are certified when coming to visit The Abacos and plan to dive, please bring your certification for proof.
More advanced divers can further their experience and gain other certifications, or take courses like advanced open water, air diving, underwater photo and several others. There is even an option at many locations to become a dive master if you are looking to make a career out of scuba diving.
The northernmost island of Walker’s Cay has one of the most unique shark dives in all of The Bahamas. You can see groups of up to 150 sharks coming together when dive boat engines turn on in what looks like a coral arena. The sharks eat bait while divers can swim around with them. It may sound a little scary, but your dive instructors and guides will keep you safe.
These are considered the top Abaco diving locations:
The Towers: Huge coral pinnacles 60 feet tall, pierced with tunnels and caverns
Grouper Alley: 40ft. Numerous tunnels beneath a monstrous coral heads
Wayne’s World: 70ft. A tour of the outside of the barrier reef
The Cathedral: Huge cavern where shafts of sunlight dance on the floor
Tarpon Reef: High profile corals for a school of Tarpon and a huge Green Moray
Coral Caverns: A series of winding caverns filled with clouds of shiny Silversides
San Jacinto: 40ft.The wreck of a large steamship sunk in 1865
The Catacombs: A shallow sun-splattered cavern with abundant tropical fish
If you are ready to get your dive on, reach out to one of the local companies above or feel free to ask around at the Firefly Sunset Resort for some help, as someone will always be happy to help you have fun!
Are you planning to come visit the beautiful islands of The Bahamas soon? If you’re not, we highly recommend you do. While all the islands are captivating in their own ways, there is a special place in our hearts for The Abacos, specifically Elbow Cay. The turquoise waters, long stretches of sandy beaches, abundance of sunshine and wonderful locals are only a few things that should make this high on your destination list.
Even though there are obviously dozens upon dozens of activities and things to see and do here, we are going to focus on what is seemingly most popular. These are not in order of ranking, they are simply the highest ranked or sought after activities and places for visitors in Elbow Cay.
Sport-fishing Charters – Plenty of water means plenty of fish! If you’re a fishing fan, you won’t want to miss hopping aboard a sport-fishing charter. There is opportunity for reef fishing, deep sea fishing and fly fishing. We recommend two local companies you could use and get some yummy and large catches with. The first is A Salt Weapon Sportfishing Charters. The second is Local Boy Deep See Fishing. It will cost you a pretty penny at $500 for the half day and $800 for the full day with either company, but it’ll certainly be worth every cent. Boats leave from the main dock in Hope Town Harbour at 8:00 a.m. Make sure you bring sunscreen, a sun hat, cameras and drinks of your choice.
Wyannie Malone Historical Museum – This historical gem is in downtown Hope Town. If you are a history buff, or even just want to learn more about local heritage, then you should pop into the museum. Inside, you will learn about pirates, rum-runners, Lucayan Indians and wreckers. Gaze upon displays of ship building and ship wrecks and even hurricanes. The museum operates from November until August between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Adult ticket prices are $5 and children 5-14 are $2.
Scuba Diving – If you caught last months post, you’ll know we highly recommend scuba diving. You can take beginners courses, advanced courses and even become a dive master if you want to get a scuba career going. You’ll have the chance to learn how to scuba first during your instructional lesson on land and in a pool, and then your instructors will take you out along 100 miles of beautiful reef. You will get to see tons of fish and friendly sharks, lush coral gardens, and swim through maze like caverns. There are a variety of local companies you can work with for your diving experience. Prices do vary by company, but can range anywhere from $150-$800 depending on what level of courses or trips you are looking to do. Here are a few we recommend:
– Dive Time Abaco
– Froggies Out Island Adventures
– Above and Below Abaco
Golf Cart Rentals – What better way to get around the beautiful island than by golf cart? There are tons of cart rental companies available, some of which will even deliver your cart to wherever you are staying. How convenient? A golf cart is a convenient way to see plenty of sights, get a nice breeze and cut down your travel time if you’re visiting any other locations than where you are staying. Here are a few places you can rent your golf cart:
Boat Rentals – If golf carts aren’t your thing, and you want to be on the water, there are plenty of boats for rent. Boating is a great way to see Elbow Cay all around, and even make your way over to other islands if that interests you. Calm blue waters make for the perfect water road for your boating excursion. The boat rental companies we recommend are:
Water sports – Next up is some true fun in the sun, and the water. If you aren’t interested in diving deep into the water for scuba, you have the option to check out some other fun activities. These include snorkeling, kayaking , kiteboarding and paddle-boarding. If you are looking to enjoy one of these activities or any other water sports that may be offered, please reach out to our front desk as they can certainly assist you with rentals nearby. We do offer complimentary kayak rentals at Firefly Sunset Resort that you can enjoy.
Bicycle Rentals – The island wouldn’t be complete without bicycle rentals! If you want to do all the leg work, and aren’t interested in a golf cart, bicycles are surely the way to go. You can take a bike to the beach, to dinner, or just for a nice ride in the sunshine. You can check out The Bike Shop, Harbour’s Edge, Sun Dried T’s and A&S for all your bike rental needs.
Elbow Reef Lighthouse – Of course we couldn’t leave out this landmark. The Elbow Reef Lighthouse is probably the most recognizable landmark in this area. The red and white stripes can be seen from afar, and you’ll certainly want to see this up close, too. This lighthouse is actually one of the last manual lighthouses in the world. The lamp burns pressurized kerosene oil with a wick and mantle. The fresnel lenses concentrate the mantles light into a beam directed straight at the horizon Whoever is on duty as the lighthouse keeper has to wind up the weights every two hours in order for the lighthouse to be seen from 17 miles away. You can visit the lighthouse Monday through Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. It is closed for visitation on Sundays. If you aren’t afraid of heights, go ahead and climb the 100 feet to the top, and make sure your camera is ready for some beautiful photo ops.
Tahiti Beach – If you’re unaware, Elbow Cay is known for it’s absolutely beautiful beaches. One in particular is Tahiti Beach. This isolated beach is at the far end of Elbow Cay. You can expect to see sparkling waters and white powdery sand. You can only access this beach on foot, or by riding a bicycle across sand and gravel paths from Hope Town, or you can take a private boat. Get ready to perfect your tan and hit the maximum level of relaxation when you decide to visit Tahiti Beach.
Obviously you can’t go wrong with anything you choose to do when you visit Elbow Cay. There will always be fun in the sun, sand and water.
Have no fear, the 2019 SIP Hope Town daily schedule is here! Each day is chock-full of fun that you won’t want to miss. Reservations are not required, but, they are recommended since each venue fills up quickly. If you are unable to get a reservation, our advice is to arrive as early as you can to find a spot where you can kick back and relax.
This schedule is strictly for all the extra events that are happening, not when each musician will be performing. The idea behind the non-scheduled line-up is to have all SIP Songwriters playing a little something each night. Strict schedule or not, the good times will be rollin’. Remember, thanks to generous venues and sponsors, SIP Hope Town is free to the public! The only event that is $20 at the door is the Hope Town Fire & Rescue Benefit.
February 12th: Opening night Tuesday night at Firefly— 7th annual SIP Hope Town “Jam & Greet.” This will be a relaxed night with old friends, new friends, Whiskey Jam cocktails and to hear a few songs from each SIP Songwriter.
February 13th: The second show will take place Wednesday night at Sea Spray Resort & Marina, White Sound, Elbow Cay, Abaco, Bahama.
February 14th: Thursday night’s SIP show is the Hope Town Fire & Rescue Benefit at The Harbour’s Edge in downtown Hope Town. This bar packs out for almost three hours of non-stop music. Please note, this is the only event that has a fee which is $20. This is a benefit and your generosity is appreciated!
—Join the SIP Hope Town Songwriters Friday morning from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00p.m. for a beach clean-up on Elbow Cay. If you’re interested in helping beautify the island further, you can meet at the Abaco Inn at 10:00a.m. Once there, everyone will break into “pick up crews” to walk and pick up trash between Abaco Inn and Sea Spray. Trash bags will be supplied.
—The Friday night show will be at Hope Town Inn & Marina. The stage is set up right on the sand so the audience can relax in beach chairs or on blankets!
— Saturday afternoon will be the third annual charity basketball game. It’ll be Team Django vs. Team Devero at the downtown Hope Town basketball court at 1:00 p.m. Raffle tickets will be sold for $20 each for either team, and all proceeds are going to SIP Hope Town charities.
—The annual Saturday night blow out is something you won’t want to miss. This non-stop, fun filled evening are at The Firefly Sunset Resort. Last year’s Saturday night was overflowing, so we recommend getting here early and not moving!
— The annual Sunday afternoon farewell show will be at the Abaco Inn at 1:00 p.m.This is a bittersweet event, but still so fun!
— What was an initially an impromptu Sunday night charity karaoke has become an annual part of the SIP line-up. How does it work? If you want someone to sing a song they get to choose, you pick the person and donate $20-$99 to the SIP Hope Town charity fund and they pick a song they want to sing. However, if you want someone to sing a song that you pick for the, you donate $100-$500 depending on how bad the song is. This is the perfectly hysterical way to end the week in paradise!
Hopefully you can make it to all of the events through the week. If not, you’ll have a blast at any single one you can get to! You can also get an additional schedule break down here.
Do you love music, sunshine and good times? What a silly question — because who doesn’t? The 2019 Songwriters in Paradise is almost upon us, and it’s safe to say the excitement is real.
If you’re going to be in the Abacos, Bahamas February 12th-17th, 2019, you don’t want to miss this legendary event. If you weren’t planning to be there, well, you may want to book a trip!
In case you aren’t familiar with Songwriters in Paradise (SIP), here’s a little background for you. It all started in 2013 when Nashville based singer-songwriter Patrick Davis turned what was to be a solo appearance at The Firefly Sunset Resort into multi-day songwriting festival. Patrick’s first SIP Hope Town had eight songwriters and three nights of music. Seven years later, what started out as a small event has grown tremendously to six days of music, over a dozen songwriters, and has even expanded to other locations.
Now, we don’t want to keep you waiting much longer. Here are the Songwriters you can expect to see at the 2019 event. Six days, 16 songwriters, and all the good times in between. Be on the lookout for an upcoming schedule of daily events for SIP HOPE TOWN and remember, if you’re not already booked for a trip out here, hop to it. There’s many new flights to Marsh Harbour making it easy to hop on plane.
Kristian Bush is not only one half of country music super duo SUGARLAND but also an highly successful songwriter, singer, solo artist, multi-instrumentalist, producer & even podcast guru. We at SIP HOPE TOWN could not be happier to have Kristian join us for the 3rd time this February & look forward to hearing Kristian’s hit songs “Stuck Like Glue”, “All I Wanna Do”, “Trailer Hitch” & many more.
Nashville’s James Otto is a Music City legend as both a singer & songwriter thanks to his decade plus track record of producing hits as both. As a songwriter James has written hits for Jamey Johnson (“In Color”), Zac Brown Band (“No Hurry”) & Chris Janson (“Holding Her”) while as an artist James has found radio success with songs like “Just Got Started Lovin’ You”, “Groovy Little Summer Song” & more.
BIG MACHINE Recording Artist Lauren Jenkins is a Fort Worth, Texas native & Charlotte, NC raised singer-songwriter & artist who is quickly becoming one of Nashville’s brightest up & coming acts. Lauren, whose debut album is scheduled for release in early 2019, has the smoky vocals of Stevie Nicks, the honest lyrics of Lucinda Williams & the artistic vision of Ryan Adams rolled up into a unique package set to arrive on the Music Row scene like a midnight freight train.
Wyatt Durrette is one of the most successful songwriters in Nashville history thanks to both his immense talent & his long time creative relationship with his friend Zac Brown. Wyatt has penned an incredible thirteen #1 songs including “Chicken Fried”, “Colder Weather”, “Toes”, “Whatever It Is” & many more.
Hootie & the Blowfish guitarist Mark Bryan is a musical icon to many of today’s musicians who grew up as kids of the 90’s, but what most folks don’t know is besides being a founding member of one of history’s biggest bands Mark is also an accomplished producer, songwriter & college professor. The Hootie boys are planning a reunion tour in 2019, but before that kicks off SIP NAPA is lucky enough to have Mark in our inaugural line up where you are sure to hear his monster hits “Only Wanna Be With You”, “Time”, “Hold My Hand” & more.
Ira Dean is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist & artist who has been lucky enough to find some big success in Music City, USA. Ira was one 3rd of early 2000’s hit country group “Trick Pony” & when “Trick Pony” disbanded in 2009 wasted no time in recording his own solo albums & also writing songs for folks like Gary Allan, Chris Young, Montgomery Gentry, Jake Owen & more. Ira’s hits include Montgomery Gentry’s “One in Every Crowd”, Gary Allan’s “Feeling Like That” & his Trick Pony hit “Pour Me”. This will be Ira’s very 1st SIP HOPE TOWN.
Austin, Texas native Django Walker is a singer, songwriter & artist who tours relentlessly on the strength of his own albums while also penning songs for fellow Texans Pat Green and Josh Abbott & even international superstar Jimmy Buffett. Django’s father is legendary country music outlaw Jerry Jeff Walker & with his rather impressive family lineage it is no surprise that Django’s musical path & artistry is both heartfelt & all his own.
Talented multi-instrumentalist, singer & songwriter Levi Lowry is a Georgia native who has a love for all things music in his DNA. Levi’s grandfather was a famous singer & fiddler & since an early age Levi has followed in the family tradition of roots music & expert musicianship. Levi, who tours relentlessly behind his own artistry, has also written songs for his good friend Zac Brown, including “Colder Weather”, “The Wind” & others.
Johnny Bulford is a former University of Florida Gator football player who after a career ending injury decided to try his hand at singing, writing & playing music & it seems that decision has worked out well. Johnny, who possesses one of the purest voices you will ever hear, has also had great songwriting success with hits recorded by Lee Brice (“Woman Like You”), Chris Young (“Lonely Eyes”) & others.
Heidi Raye has co-written songs and toured with some of country music’s elite like Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Jason Aldean, Terri Clark and Reba McEntire. Heidi, who is the very first artist on Hall of Fame Songwriter Harlan Howard’s label, Harlan Howard Records, released her first EP, “Worth A Shot”, in 2017 & since then she has been touring & writing almost non-stop.
Paul McDonald is a non-stop creative force who will be making his very 1st SIP HOPE TOWN appearance this coming February. Paul, who is one half of folk duo “The Sweetheart Deal”, is an American Idol alum & also a work horse who tours almost year round behind his powerful vocals and heartfelt songs.
Channing Wilson is somehow 100% throwback, 100% current & 100% what is needed in today’s homogenized popular country music landscape. Raised in the mountain country where Georgia, Tennessee & Alabama meet Channing’s lyrics haunt you like the best lines of Guy Clark, Hank Sr. & Waylon while his voice carries like the sound of a runaway train falling off the rails in the Rockies.
Grammy Nominated Singer-Songwriter & Piano Man James Slater is a Panama born North Carolina raised Nashville based Music City Legend. James who has toured as both a headliner & backing musician for artist since the age of 16 has written monster hits for Rascal Flatts, Tim McGraw, Jamey Johnson & many others. James hits include Martina McBride’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes”, Jamey Johnson’s “High Cost of Living” & more.
Chicago native Chris Gelbuda is fast becoming one of Music City, USA’s most sought after songwriters, musicians & producers. As a musician Chris is an occasional member of The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh & Friends, as a writer he has had his songs recorded by Meghan Trainor, Billy Currington, Frankie Ballard & Dustin Lynch while his producing credits include songs by the aforementioned Meghan Trainor, including the world wide smash hit “Love Me Like You’re Gonna Lose Me” featuring John Legend.
David Borne is Louisiana born Nashville based singer, songwriter & artist who is both one of Nashville’s hardest working musicians & most unique vocalist. David’s style is reminiscent of Amos Lee, Ray Lamontagne or David Gray & is an upcoming talent not to be missed. David released a well received EP titled “Break My Own Heart” in late 2017 & is currently working on recording & writing a brand new album.
REMINDER – Firefly Bar & Grill will be closed starting TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 25 until TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16. Stay tuned to our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages for updates. Thank you for your patience and understanding!
Getting married in the Bahamas or Firefly Sunset Resort? You must obtain a marriage license from the Bahamas.
Here’s a great tip from one guest of our recent wedding –
“Our family booked the resort for a wedding and we were so pleased with everything!! It was beautiful, elegant and delicious! The staff was accommodating and the service was warm and friendly. One major tip to share though: when getting married in the Bahamas you must have a Bahamian marriage license or you can not get married. Give yourself enough time to go over to Marsh Harbor to get it, as you can’t get one on Elbow.”
There are several requirements for obtaining a marriage license in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. Here’s everything you need to know to be legally married here:
Application for License
The couple must be in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas at the time of application for the marriage license.
Download marriage license application | Download application for certified marriage certificate
If you arrive via cruise ship, you’ll be required to obtain a letter from the Ship’s Purser/Guest Services confirming that you have met the residency period by being in Bahamian waters for 24 hours.
You need not apply for a license if you wish to renew your vows.
Please note: Marriage licenses and certificates are issued at the office of the Registrar General in Nassau. This office is open to the public Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Address: P.O. Box N-532 Nassau, The Bahamas Phone: (242) 323-0594, (242) 323-0595, (242) 323-0597 Fax: (242) 322-5553, (242) 393-7908
Couples may apply a day after their arrival and can be married once they receive their approved license the day after application.
Proof of Identification and Residency
Both parties must produce a valid passport, birth certificate, and photo ID. The parties must also produce evidence of the date of their arrival in The Bahamas. The Bahamas Immigration Card or entry stamp in your passport will suffice.
No blood test is necessary.
Two witnesses, who are at least 18 years old, must sign your marriage license. If it’s just the two of you, witnesses can be provided.
The fee for a marriage license is $120, inclusive of one certified copy of a marriage certificate. Extra marriage certificates are available at $20 each.
Many countries now require that official documents, such as international marriage certificates, be certified by the issuing country. In The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, this means that an Apostille (a special seal) is applied by the relevant authority to certify that a document is a true copy of an original. The Apostille can be made available to you within 30 days of the request; the cost for each one is $120. Your wedding planner or marriage officer will assist you in this regard.
If either party has been divorced, the original final decree or a certified copy must be produced. Where applicable, a translated, certified and notarized copy of the final decree must be produced.
Minors (under 18 years) may be married with both parents’ consent. Consent forms for minors are available at the Registrar General’s office.
If either party is single and has never been married before, a declaration certifying this fact must be sworn before a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths in the country of residence. This document must accompany the application for the marriage license. This declaration can also be obtained in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas from an attorney-at-law or notary public.
If either party is widowed, the original death certificate or certified copy must be produced. Where applicable, a translated, certified and notarized copy of the death certificate must be produced.
Marrying Outside of New Providence and Grand Bahama Island
Couples wishing to be married on islands outside of New Providence and Grand Bahama Island can obtain a marriage license at the Administrator’s Office on that island.
MORE HERE: https://www.bahamas.com/marriage-license