T&T’s Borders Festival to celebrate music, food and the arts

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A report by Akiela Hope for Trinidad’s Guardian.

The Borders Festival is a brand new music, food and arts festival to take place next year, on May 26, 27 and 28, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, the Jean Pierre Complex and St John’s Ambulance Hall.

At a recent press conference to launch the three-day festival, organisers said it aims to “reclaim T&T’s identity.” More than 40 performers, from local to international artistes, will be taking part, organisers said.

“The concept of Borders came about because of the different segments—music, food and the arts—which all have their own identity, coupled with their own borders,” said Sheldon Monderoy, founder and chairman of the new festival. The idea is to both break down these borders, as well as celebrate each of the cultural expressions, he said.

The festival’s opening day is being called Legends, and will showcase living legends of calypso and soca. It is a day when kaiso enthusiasts, young and old, can come out and reminisce on songs of yesteryear.

“This first phase is all about paying tribute to our legends,” said Stacey Weekes-Benjamin, the festival’s event manager. Among the confirmed artistes for Legends on Friday are David Rudder, Valentino, Super Blue, Baron, Gypsy, Explainer and Trinidad Rio. Songs will include chutney and soca. Denyse Plummer will sing praise songs, while some of the children of T&T folk music icons will be performing as well.

“There will also be songs performed by other iconic artistes on behalf of those that are no longer with us,” Weekes-Benjamin said.

No fast foods will be served at the event. “We are sticking with our local dishes, such as pelau, corn soup, and so on,” said Monderoy.

There will also be a Wedding and Fashion Expo where designers and models will be able to strut and showcase their stuff.

Past Kings and Queens of Carnival will be there too, reminding patrons of our Carnival performing arts history.

Organisers hope the event will not only be successful enough to become an annual affair, but that it will help create employment as well as generate community spirit.

Organisers say the Borders Festival entrance system will be the first of its kind, as upon arrival at the venue, patrons will exchange their tickets for wristbands with an embedded Radio Frequency Identification chip. Patrons with the wristband can then enter the main entrance which will have standing scanners, which will scan their wristbands to allow for speedy entry.

The process of validation should take around 0.2 seconds to confirm, said organisers. The wristband chip will also allow for cashless payments, social media integration and on-site interaction.

Borders Festival will have a full social media online presence to include Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. “If all goes well, the event is expected to be broadcast throughout the Caribbean and rebroadcast at a later date,” Monderoy said.

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