Volcanic activity increased throughout 1996, and in response, towns and villages in the south of the island were evacuated. A year later, on Boxing Day 1997, the collapse of the southern crater wall of Soufrière Hills Volcano (‘Galway’s Wall’) caused a lateral blast that removed the evacuated villages of southwest Montserrat overnight. The song ‘South Gone’ commemorates this moment.
‘I used to hear people say that it’s on holiday / Big one’s come
We had a fine Christmas day / Incident free and warm
But foreday Boxing day / Few really know what went on
Suffice it to say the news was / South gone
Less than one week before / Observers had checked the scene
It was the greenest they say / The south has ever been
From a flourishing bed / To a landscape all forlorn
Nature’s fury was spread / The whole of south it gone
From OGarro’s to Reid’s Hill sugar mill / South gone (gone)
Morris, Sea View, and Shooter’s Hill / Gone (gone)
Lime Ghaut, Still Valley and Tobby Hill / All gone (gone)
What a pity to see Safari City gone.
Landmarks like Great Alps Waterfall and White Wall gone.
Villages like Gingoes, Trial and Fairfield / Gone
Historical sites like Galways and Brodericks / Gone
What a pity to see Safari City gone.’
– Song 'South Gone' by Zunky 'n Dem
The song mentions Safari City, which refers to the former town of St. Patrick’s on the southwest coast. A resident describes the shock of seeing St. Patrick’s destroyed:
‘South Gone’ also mentions several landmarks in the south of the island, including the Great Alps Waterfall, a popular tourist attraction. The waterfall had been destroyed by a pyroclastic flow on 30 March 1997.