Every year Festival International attracts thousands of people eager to listen and dance to a variety of sounds. But on Friday, fans and musicians alike mourned the loss of pop superstar Prince.
“I just fell to the ground. I couldn’t believe it.” Said Donna Simpson of The Waifs, an Australian folk rock band playing at this year’s Festival International.
She says she has loved Prince’s music since she was 13. “I joined his fan club and wrote him letters. He got me through my teenage years, all the heartbreak and I never stopped listening to him.” She also saw him in concert just a few weeks ago in Australia. She says everyone who attended received a free album. “He rode off the stage on a bicycle then after went to a club to deejay for two hours. And they brought a piano onto the dance floor and he played When Doves Cry for free at like 4 or 5 in the morning.”
Simpson says Prince’s passion for his music was an international inspiration.
“I was at the hotel outside and it was raining and I started singing Purple Rain and this African woman who didn’t speak English started singing too and we high-fived. He was such a beautiful soul and a true artist.”
Trennie Higgins has attended Festival International nearly every year since it started. She says her children introduced her to Prince’s music and that his death is a tragic loss to the music world.
“He was one of a kind. I don’t think people realized what a genius he was. Literally everything he did was gold. And he helped so many people. He showcased so many artists. The list is long.”
Higgins also shares a birthday with the late Prince.