CARIFESTA INTEREST HIGH

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A report from Barbados’ Advocate.

THE 2017 CARIFESTA Secretariat has received over 62 applications from community groups interested in hosting events during the Festival, scheduled to be held in Barbados between August 17 and 27.

Speaking at a town hall meeting, at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed on Tuesday evening, Senior Cultural Officer at the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), Andrea Wells, told the audience that the Foundation was surprised, but pleased with the overwhelming response from community groups opting to participate in the Festival, on which Government is spending about US$3 million.

“They have sent in applications for their events to be recognised as part of the Community Fringe. They will stage them themselves and they have production responsibility for them. But once approved on the calendar, we can then recommend and schedule some of the visiting CARICOM acts to join them on their stages.

“This means that during the season, you have that really dynamic hospitalisation and networking at the community level. Sometimes the most important and the strongest relationships are formed there because it is literally an artistes to artistes exchange,” Wells said.

Meanwhile, Wells said based on information from Haiti, the host country of the last festival, which was held in 2015, an estimated 3000 artists, artistes, artisans and supporters are expected to converge on Barbados during the Festival.

“Right now, based on registered interest from delegations, it is looking like we would have so far close to 2000. But we haven’t got numbers from every delegation, and along with them they are bringing friends and family who are not official delegates, but use the opportunity when their spouses or children are performing, to visit and vacation in the country,” she said.

Events to be held for CARIFESTA 13 includes Two Super Concerts; the opening and closing ceremonies; and three Signal Events, plus there will be space allocated for events staged by persons and organisations other than official delegations, providing room for private participation.

A new component has been added to the tradition of CARIFESTA, which will feature the exhibition and sale of cultural goods and services in a marketplace atmosphere, to which international buyers have been united. The Caribbean’s first Grand Market and Buyers Shopping Mall, featuring Caribbean products, will be a key element in the programme.

“While the host country has to invest in staging the Festival, the next big set of funds is spent by the participating states, because each state is responsible for covering the airfare of the artist, their accommodation cost and any professional fees,” the Senior Cultural Officer explained.

Kensington Oval has been chosen for the opening and closing ceremonies.

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