Artistic coordinator for CARIFESTA 13 Dr John Hunte (left) programme co-ordinator Kim Butcher (centre) and festival director Andrea Wells (right) fielding questions at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed Tuesday. (Picture by Reco Moore.)
OVER 3 000 participants are expected in Barbados for CARIFESTA 13 being hosted from Thursday, August 17 to Sunday, August 27.
And the National Cultural Foundation has reported widespread interest in the premier Caribbean cultural festival and appealed to Barbadians to volunteer their services to assist in making it a success.
The foundation anticipates it will need the assistance of about 400 volunteers to pull off the event.
Despite the small turnout at the first festival town hall meeting at the Queen’s Park Steel shed Tuesday evening, the questions were many from the interested parties eager to participate. Concerns about their particular area of engagement were raised by literary artistes, vendors, and other stakeholders as festival director Andrea Wells fielded an extensive range of questions.
She stressed emphasis would be on the creative talents of the region and as such would exclude foreign goods, as one large toy vendor strongly argued his case to be permitted to sell toys manufactured in China at the event. Wells stated there was only accommodation for the wide gamut of offerings she anticipated from Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean.
CARIFESTA 13 will showcase the region’s visual, performing and culinary arts under the theme: Asserting Our Culture, Celebrating Ourselves. Fifteen venues around the island will be used as indoor and outdoor performing spaces for dance, theatre and music, with the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre being a central hub as the Grand Market and Buyers’ Mall, featuring creative products from around the region.
Buyers looking to purchase film, festival music, home and décor products, gourmet cuisine, literature, fashion and apparel will find the merchandise in the Grand Market’s indoor and outdoor booths and stalls from across the region.
Fourteen CARICOM countries are participating in the festival which Barbados is hosting for the first time since 1981.
Programme coordinator for CARIFESTA 13, Kim Butcher, said the festival presented many opportunities for job creation at the community level. She listed its potential to extend Barbados’ summer tourist season beyond the Crop Over season, among the benefits, while also touting spin-off benefits for local businesses which she said stood to reap rewards from opportunities for accommodation and other areas with potential for sales.
Other town hall meetings are planned for the Christ Church Foundation School on Saturday, May 22 and Princess Margaret Secondary School in St Philip on Monday, May 24. (GC)