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EDITORIAL: Festivals need fresh ideas


EDITORIAL: Festivals need fresh ideas

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THE RECENT LAMENT has not been lost on the ears of those listening that the support for the annual Oistins Fish Festival is waning.

The festival, now in its 40th year, has been recording a reduction in patrons attending its events, while fewer businesses have been coming forward to lend support.

It has become a staple of the Easter calendar from the time it was started in 1977 by the late Sir Harold St John, a former Prime Minister and parliamentary representative for Christ Church South, where the Oistins Fish Market, later renamed the Berinda Cox Fish Market, is located.

In its early days, the festival was aimed at highlighting the fishing town, while at the same time trying to develop the entrepreneurial skills and talents of small business people in the area. The idea behind the festival was also to encourage and recognise the contribution of fisherfolk in the area, many of whom would have originated from Oistins and surrounding communities.

The concept remains the same to this day. However, as young people would say, organisers may well have to “wheel and come again” with a new and fresh format that would entice businesses to spend their money and encourage more Barbadians to come out and give their support.

It can be argued that every year the same fare is on offer and the same activities organised, including the fish boning and greasy pole competitions. More needs to be done to bring on new activities that may entice more Barbadians to come out.

Oistins Festival Committee member Junior Walrond recently appealed to businesses in the area to pull their weight and contribute to the festival. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, at the official opening last Saturday, also called for more support for the event.

Sadly, the same can be said for the Holetown Festival, which is held in February. Waning support, fewer numbers and an offering of the “same old, same old” have overtaken the festival that takes place on the platinum coast of the island.

It is time organisers of both these events return to the drawing board and come with a plan that will say to the country that these two festivals are not only significant, but an integral part of this country’s culture and history. Businesses must be clear in understanding the role they play in lending their support and why it is important to give back to communities.

Unfortunately, some may well argue that Barbados has become a “selfish” society, with some only giving to get, and while businesses and sponsors will no doubt want to see the benefits of investing valuable dollars into some of these events, sometimes understanding the significance they play in preserving the country’s culture and heritage trumps all else.

So back to the drawing board it must be, if there are to be improvements in these two festivals that have helped to reflect some aspects of Barbados’ history.