Supporting the Caribbean – backstage with UB40 in Antigua

UB40 arrive in Antigua

UB40 arrive in Antigua

When you hear the Virgin name it might conjure up images of the Sex Pistols, rock’n’roll and Virgin Records. Music is ingrained in our history, and even though we’re an airline and holiday company, we still know a good song when we hear one ­– which is why we’ve just made a music video with a legendary British reggae band.

We wanted to help the Caribbean after the recent hurricanes, and after listening to UB40’s 1998 hit Come Back Darling, we knew it would serve as a great call to arms and lure visitors back to the islands once more. So we teamed up with UB40 ft. Ali, Astro and Mickey, Universal Music, Elite island Resorts, and Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority to get the message out that the Caribbean is ready to welcome tourists with open arms.

Why even bother?

When a series of hurricanes hit the Caribbean and US last year, some places were badly damaged – but not all. Yet the public perception is that many parts of the Caribbean were destroyed beyond repair, resulting in people planning to holiday elsewhere this year. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth – over 70% of the Caribbean wasn’t affected at all and the region is open and ready for business as much as it ever was. Our mission with the video was to get the message out that the Caribbean needs tourism more than ever, as its economy is so reliant on it. This, in turn, will help the recovery effort for affected areas so they can rebuild and ready themselves to welcome visitors once again.

UB40 enjoying the beautiful island of Antigua

UB40 enjoying the beautiful island of Antigua

The video

There’s more to making a music video than you might think. First, we had to sort out logistics – and thanks to the amazing team at Elite Island Resorts, we were able to accommodate the entire cast and crew across three of their properties: Pineapple Beach Cub, St James Club and Verandah. The accommodation was so ideal it ended up as a gorgeous backdrop to much of our video, not to mention the scene of a wrap party only the Caribbean could throw!

Secondly, we needed to make sure we filmed in the best locations to showcase the natural beauty of the area. Thankfully in the Caribbean – and Antigua more specifically – this was never an issue. Wherever you look there are beautiful beaches, landscapes and far-reaching views to admire

Finally, we had to talk to lots of locals! This was the easiest part – residents of Antigua are well known for their welcoming nature, and you’ll often leave feeling like one of the family. Indeed, this was my first visit to any Caribbean island (shocking in itself when I work for Virgin, I know), and I was greeted by our friendly airport transfer driver with a “welcome home”.

UB40 ft. Ali, Astro and Mickey - Come Back Darling

UB40 ft. Ali, Astro and Mickey – Come Back Darling

We filmed the video in around 4 days; on the island, on the seas, at the airport and around Elite Island Resorts, culminating in a celebratory event attended by more than 100 locals and the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne. It took place at The Outhouse; a rib shack overlooking the beach at Pineapple Beach Club, with steel bands, carnival dancers, plenty of rum, and a stage where Ali, Astro and Mickey sang the catchy lines to ‘Come Back Darling’ to round off the music video.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here – I challenge you to not want to sing along and pack your suitcase immediately!

If you’re considering visiting a Caribbean island we have plenty of options – we fly from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester to Barbados, and from Gatwick to Antigua, Cuba, Tobago, St Lucia, Grenada and Jamaica. Why not add one to your next holiday wishlist?

Jason Turnnidge-Betts

About Jason Turnnidge-Betts

Jason is part of our PR team, looking after our social media channels and building relationships with journalists, social media influencers and news outlets all over the World. He’s been at Virgin Atlantic for 8 years and is a self-confessed #AVGeek.
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