TT’s anticipated hosting of the 14th Caribbean Festival of Arts (Carifesta) has got under way with the staging of a series of road shows, crafted to give the public a glimpse of what to expect at the celebration.
At the South Park Shopping Centre, scores of patrons recently got an early taste of Carifesta which has, over the years, grown into a catalyst for strengthening regional integration among Caribbean artisans and cultural practitioners. Carifesta XIV will celebrate the spirit, culture and heritage of Caribbean people through music, dance, theatre, film, visual arts, literary arts, culinary arts, fashion, folklore, craft and symposia from August 16-25 at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, and in locations throughout TT. The culture of 19 countries will be featured.
The showcase was last hosted in TT in 2006. Having been selected to oversee the 14th edition, communication provider bmobile is supporting the promotion of the region’s diverse arts and culture.
Marsha Caballero, TSTT’s senior manager of corporate communications, was delighted to have the cultural fiesta return to TT, and reiterated the importance of positively advancing Caribbean culture on the international stage.
“The Caribbean is covered with a rich history of multi-disciplinary arts and culture. We are a melting pot of traditions and practices that have built the foundation of who we are as a region. Like many of our traditions here in TT, TSTT is home-grown and also driven to educate and inspire the development of our culture on both the regional and international circuit," Caballero said in a media release
"It is critical to preserve our traditions so that generations to come will be able to learn and understand the depth of our roots in calypso, soca, steelpan, fashion and theatre among others.”
This year’s Carifesta theme is Connect, Share, Invest. It is directed towards the extensive promotion of national and regional cultural practices and has been aligned to support the performers selected to represent their countries in varying disciplines. In TT, selections were done following a talent-search held in January.
Susan Shurlan, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts and chair of the Carifesta XIV committee, said, “Organisers have now engaged those performers in a capacity-building programme which provides an investment for them to perform at the different venues of Carifesta such as Sapa, NAPA and other community festivals around the country. This talent-nurturing will help them further expand their skill and also present them with offers to perform elsewhere. We are connecting cultures, sharing information and investing in our traditions.”
Shurlan was also at South Park recently to help provide sneak-peek performances of some local talents who will be Carifesta. The first segment of the road show was hosted by radio personality and bmobile brand advocate Randy "Mr Smooth" Mansoor, and featured performances from CTC Dance Company, Country Boys Tassa Group, Taramatee Maharaj (harmonica) and singer Nishard Mayrhoo. Three patrons also won VIP tickets to the Super Concert (August 24) by participating in the Carifesta Karaoke competition.
Shurlan said, “Everyone knows we are the festival, party and culture island so the anticipation is high for Carifesta this year. It’s the festival of festivals. So far, we’ve had an oversubscription of people interested in the fiesta. We are grateful to our sponsors like bmobile and others for ensuring that Carifesta can be a success once more.”
The public can also look forward to Signal and Niche events four community festivals, the grand market hub, children and youth village (Bishop Anstey High), trade fair, food and rum festival, craft booths, country booths, workshops and symposia, and the super concert featuring the likes of Shaggy, Kassav, Calypso Rose and Ricardo Drue, to name a few. Aspects of TT’s Film Festival, Best Village and Bocas Lit Fest will also feature at Carifesta.